Carlo Paalam will face Galal Yafai of Great Britain in the gold medal round of the men’s flyweight boxing finals at the Summer Olympic Games on Saturday at 1 PM at the Kokugikan Arena (PH time).
On Thursday, Paalam entered the gold round after dominating Japan’s Ryomie Tanaka by a unanimous decision win that ensured for the gold medalist of the 2017 President’s Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan a silver medal in the pandemic games.
Paalam will try to get the gold medal and beat Yafai, Britain’s Best Boxer awardee the 2018 Golden Belt champion in Iasi, Romania.
“Hinihiling ko lang po sa kapwa ko Pilipino na ipagdasal ako. Gagawin ko ang best ko, kasi hindi ko naman hawak yung desisyon, tsaka yung kalaban ko kasi magaling din. Tiwala lang sa sarili. Sana ibigay na sa atin ng Panginoon,” said Paalam.
Paalam’s assured silver medal is the boxing team’s third at the Olympics, following silver for featherweight Nesthy Petecio and bronze for middleweight Eumir Marcial.
After defeating Brendan Irvine of Ireland 4-1 in his first fight, Paalam astonished many with his Olympic prowess, which grew even more spectacular in his next two matches.
Paalam defeated Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi via unanimous decision before defeating Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov 5-0 to go to the semifinals against the Japanese fighter.
Paalam, who is 23 years old, needed to defeat Tanaka in order to escape a sympathetic jury, which is typically given in hometown bets.
And Paalam cruised to a 5-0 victory to progress to the gold-medal round against the British fighter.
“I played the best match ever so I don’t regret anything,” said Tanaka through an interpreter.
“I don’t feel I lost because the opponent was very good; I just lost to myself,” he added.