Carlo Paalam advanced to the men’s flyweight gold medal bout after defeating hometown favorite Tanaka Ryomei in the semifinals on Thursday afternoon at the Kokugikan Arena.
Paalam used his poise to defeat home favorite Ryomei Tanaka for a crack at the elusive Olympic boxing gold in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Paalam remained calm and collected in the first round as Tanaka aggressively moved in on him, but the Filipino took advantage of an early opportunity to strike body shots, earning unanimous approval from all five judges.
The 23-year-old Filipino displayed defensive skill and went on the attack at the correct time, landing good head shots to seal the deal.
Paalam kept up his incredible form as Tanaka faded in the third round, clinching the victory with a clinical conclusion.
Paalam earned a unanimous decision win over the Japanese Tanaka, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, to advance to the men’s flyweight final round.
Paalam’s semifinal victory guaranteed her at least a silver medal, as well as a second silver for the Philippines, following fighter Nesthy Petecio’s win in the women’s featherweight division. He will compete this Saturday.
Paalam has had a dramatic climb after being the only member of the Philippine boxing squad to not earn a medal at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
In 2018, he returned to the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, and won a bronze medal. Paalam earned his much-coveted SEA Games gold a year later, and via the IOC Boxing Task Force rankings, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
The young Filipino has already had a fantastic Olympics, including an upset victory in the quarterfinals over 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist and men’s flyweight world No. 1 Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan, which guaranteed him a medal.
During their bout in the quarterfinals of the men’s flyweight division at the 2020 Olympics, Paalam and Zoirov of Uzbekistan had an unintentional head clash.
Both pugs were bled as a result of the inadvertent headbutt, but it was Zoirov’s cut above the eye that caused the referee to stop the fight with 1:16 left in the second round.
Paalam was fortunate in that he had done just enough in the exchanges prior to stoppage to hold on for the victory, earning the approval of four judges.
Paalam handed the Philippines its fourth medal in Tokyo, making the 2021 edition of the Games the country’s most successful ever.