Eumir Marcial punches semis ticket with KO win, secures third podium finish for PH in Tokyo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) – Middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial relied on his punching strength on Sunday to punch a ticket in the semifinals and secure the third podium finish for the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics.

For the second straight fight, Marcial scored another first-round knockout win, this time against Armenia's Arman Darchinyan in their quarterfinal bout at the Kokugikan Arena.

Right at the opening bell, the Zamboanga pugilist flaunted his dominant form as he landed savage hits against his Armenian foe.

Midway in the first round, Marcial punished Darchinyan with a barrage of punches as the referee called for a standing eight count. The Armenian boxer continued, but with little gas left in his tank.

The knockout came 50 seconds remaining in the round as Marcial connected a two-punch combination with his solid right hook going straight to Darchinyan's head.

A visibly hapless Darchinyan was even assisted by the referee to stand up as Marcial jumped in jubilation knowing that he was at least assured of a bronze medal finish in Tokyo.

Marcial will advance to the semifinals against 2017 world champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine on August 5 at 2:03 p.m. Philippine time.

In his first fight in the Round-of-16 last July 29, Marcial also sent to the canvas Algeria's Younes Nemouchi in the first round. The Filipino boxer secured a bye in the Round-of-32.

The two other podium finishes for the Philippines in its historic Tokyo Olympics campaign are weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who won the country's first ever Olympic gold medal after 97 years, and boxer Nesthy Petecio, who is assured of at least a silver medal finish after winning in her semifinal bout on Saturday.