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Philippines’ Carlo Paalam outclasses Ryomei Tanaka, faces Great Britain’s Galal Yafai in flyweight final

Photo from Paalam's Facebook
04
Aug

Another day, another gold medal match for a Filipino boxer.

Carlo Paalam outclassed the home country bet Ryomei Tanaka on Thursday, winning a unanimous decision to book his ticket to the men’s flyweight final at the Tokyo Olympics.

Paalam, 23, used darting footwork and razor sharp right hand counterpunching to pick apart the aggressive, determined southpaw to sweep the first two rounds on all five judges’ scorecards. Tanaka, the older brother of three-division pro champion Kosei Tanaka, became even wilder as desperation set in, opening himself up to a counter right hand from Paalam that nearly led to a knockout in round three.

The decision was never in doubt, and Paalam dropped to his knees in celebration at the announcement. The win comes on the heels of Paalam’s monumental upset of the defending gold medalist, Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan, in the quarterfinals.

Paalam will now face another brother of a former pro champion, Great Britain’s Galal Yafai, in Saturday’s medal match. Yafai, the younger brother of former WBA junior bantamweight titleholder Kal Yafai, outworked Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan to earn his spot in the final on a 3-2 split decision.

The match will be the Philippines’ second shot at a boxing gold medal of the Tokyo Games. Nesthy Petecio, the female featherweight from Davao del Sur, earlier lost a unanimous decision to Japan’s Sena Irie.

The Philippines will bring home three boxing medals, by far their most ever at an Olympics.

Men’s middleweight Eumir Marcial, a 1-0 pro signed by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, had to settle for bronze after losing a 3-2 to Oleksandr Khyzhniak of the Ukraine in the semifinals on Thursday.

The performances of both Paalam and Marcial drew praise and support from Pacquiao, who wrote from his training camp in Los Angeles, “The two of you make us very proud!”

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