John wins a remarkable gold at the South East Asian Games
Army man strikes gold in Malaysia
JOHN MARVIN is a regular feature on the British amateur boxing circuit, representing the Army Boxing Team in their active season and competing in the England Boxing Elite championships. It was therefore a surprise to see him topping the podium at the South-east Asian Games in Malaysia. Marvin won gold at 81kgs on August 24 at the International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Marvin explained how he came to represent the Philippines. “The Army Boxing Team were on a boxing show and they bumped into the Philippine team and they mentioned to the Filipino team that I was half Filipino because my mum’s from the Philippines. From there we exchanged numbers and we all got in contact and eventually I got out to the Philippines to start boxing for them,” he said.
He was out there for three months, joining them for an intensive training camp to earn selection for the Southeast Asian Games. “I had to prove myself getting used to their routines, cultures, food, altitude, heat, everything,” he said. “It was really tough. One of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
The tournament itself was a whole new level beyond Marvin’s previous competitive experience. He rose to the occasion. He won his first bout against Cambodia’s Felix Merlin. “There was a big build up because he was Cuban Cambodian. There was a lot of people saying what not because he was Cuban. The bout with him was quite intense. I was always felt like I was down on points, I always felt like I was losing so I just didn’t take my foot off the gas no matter how exhausted I was. I knocked him down three or four times but only two got recorded,” John said. “Then we faced the Thailand gold medallist from 2013 [Anavat Thongkrathok]. He was very, very tough. He would have gone on and won the competition I think if I hadn’t beat him. I hit him with some shots and I knocked him down a couple of times, gave him a couple of standing counts but he relentlessly kept coming forward.
“You could hit him with a brick and he would have just kept coming forward.”
But Marvin produced a spectacular finish to the tournament, halting Malaysia’s Adli Hafidz Pauzi inside the first round. “That was an experience. The Malaysian had the host country behind him, all the support,” John said. “As soon I came out I threw a four, five punch combination, caught him straight away, as soon as I was close enough to hit him I threw the shots. The ref gave him a standing count in 10, 15 seconds.
“I went to the body, went to the head again, the ref pulled me away and stopped the fight within 21 seconds I think it was.”
His next challenge will be even sterner. Next year he hopes to represent the Philippines in the Asian Games. “If you believe you can do it, then your mind will let it happen,” he reflected. “I just wanted to do well for myself and my family, for the Army Boxing Team and my regiment. I’m not just proud for the Philippines, I’m proud for the British Army Boxing team and the Princess of Wales Royal regiment.”
‘IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT YOUR MIND WILL LET IT HAPPEN’
STEPPING UP: Marvin [right] reached the semis of the England Elite championships up at 86kgs