Tragedy struck the family of national boxing team mainstay Eumir Felix Marcial just days into his Olympic preparations in Los Angeles, California.
Eliver Marcial, the eldest of the Marcial siblings, died after collapsing early morning of Saturday. He was 39.
Eliver, who got stranded in Eumir’s residence in Cavite since the country implemented the Luzon-wide lockdown in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was set to take a flight Saturday morning and return to their hometown in Zamboanga to be with his wife and six kids.
“Masaya pa siya noong Friday ng gabi tapos excited na 'yung parents ko lalo na 'yung asawa niya pati mga anak niya. Masakit talaga sa akin kasi close kami magkakapatid,” said a sobbing Marcial.
MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons immediately offered to arrange a flight back to the Philippines for Marcial.
But the Filipino Olympian decided to remain in the US and dedicate all his efforts to his brother as he has now started his training under the tutelage of famed trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.
“Ang parents ko, mga kapatid, lahat kami sa pamilya, bata pa lang ako talagang walang pinag-usapan kami kungdi makuha 'yung Olympic gold. Kausap pa ni kuya si Princess (Eumir’s fiancée) kagabi sabi niya sana makuha ko na ang Olympic gold tapos maging world champion ako,” disclosed Marcial, the youngest of five siblings.
“Dito na lang muna ako kasi wala na din naman magagawa sa nangyari. Mas lalo ko naging inspirasyon kuya ko. Ito din naman ang gusto niya, maging ready ako sa Olympics,” added Marcial.
Eumir’s girlfriend Princess Galarpe together with the boxer’s cousin Anthony rushed Eliver to the Ospital ng Imus minutes after he vomited and experienced difficulty in breathing early Saturday.
“Nagsalu-salu na kami lahat kagabi kasi nga pauwi na siya. Siya pa nag-ayos lahat gamit niya pati mga laruan para sana sa mga anak niya. Tapos ganu'n na nga nangyari, itinakbo namin agad siya sa ospital pero sabi ng doctor dead on arrival na siya,” said Galarpe.
The cause of death of Eumir’s eldest brother was still undetermined as of Saturday morning. His remains will lie at Marcial’s residence in Cavite before being flown to Zamboanga.
The incident ruined what was supposed to be an awe-inspiring day for the Olympian Marcial as his brother’s death happened one day after he was assured by the Philippine Sports Commission of its full support.
Marcial, who will turn 25 this Oct. 29, had a fruitful video conference with PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez Friday morning, Manila time.
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines has also recently completed the needed requirements for Marcial to receive his incentive from the PSC for winning the gold in the Asian Olympic qualifier held last March in Amman, Jordan.
Marcial signed a promotional deal with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions last July but is still eligible to campaign in the Olympics as the quadrennial meet has opened its doors to professional boxers since the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The Tokyo Olympic Games will happen July 23 to August 8, 2021.