Eumir Marcial put his professional career on hold to make his mark on the highest stage of amateur boxing.
The representative of the Philippines promoted by Manny Pacquiao reached the semi-finals of the men’s middleweight division after a knockout in the first round of the Armenian Arman Darchinyan. A right hook brought Darchinyan to the ground at 2:11 on the first lap.
Marcial – who turned pro on FS1 last November – has to be extended beyond the first round in his two Olympic bouts. The action-packed Filipino made an impression after forcing a first-round break in Thursday’s round of 16 against Algeria’s Younes Nemouchi.
Nemouchi only lasted 2:41 in this fight – or 30 seconds longer than Darchinyan, it turned out.
Darchinyan – the nephew of former two-division champion Vic Darchinyan – advanced to that point after a three-round decision on Andrei Csemez on Thursday. He never got a chance to get started on Sunday as Marcial came out hot and didn’t want to stop until he hit the knockout he was looking for.
There would be barely two minutes in the first round. A right hook left Darchinyan vulnerable and wide open for a subsequent right hook behind the ear to topple the Armenian onto the canvas, causing the stop-win.
Marcial came out as number one in Tokyo. He will now face the number one seeded as the Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak made his contribution after a decisive victory against Euri Cedeno from the Dominican Republic.
Hebert Sousa (Brazil) delivered one of the most memorable performances of the tournament after a hard-fought win against Abilkhan Amakul (Kazakhstan) – and the cheers after the fight. The Brazilian will then face Gleb Bakshi (ROC), who ended Darrelle Valsaint Jr. (Haiti )’s Olympic medal dream after winning all five scorecards.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox