John wins a re­mark­able gold at the South East Asian Games

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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.”



STEP­PING UP: Marvin [right] reached the semis of the Eng­land Elite cham­pi­onships up at 86kgs

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