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Paalam earns a shot at Olympic gold

Tokyo – A silver and a bronze in boxing. Not bad for an hour’s work.

Carlo Paalam
Carlo Paalam guaranteed the Philippines with another silver medal after mauling his Japanese opponent Ryomie Tanaka in a unanimous decision win, while Eumir Marcial settled for bronze 30 minutes later after dropping a split decision loss to Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak in a day of mixed fortunes at the Summer Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena here on Thursday.

Using his speed and smarts to the hilt, Paalam turned the head of his Japanese rival into a virtual target practice as he continuously landed 1-2 combinations and darted away from trouble to fashion out an imposing 5-0 victory, his fourth impressive win of these pandemic Olympics.

“‘Yung strategy na ginawa ko, idinaan ko sa bilis. Ginawa ko kung ano talaga ‘yung laro ko. Kailangang pag-isipan mo ‘yung mga galaw mo tsaka tiwala sa sarili. Kaya nga po kami nagte-training, nage-ensayo para po dito,” said Paalam.

The silver that is assured Paalam is the third medal of the boxing team in these games, counting the silver of featherweight Nesthy Petecio and the bronze of Marcial, who 30 minutes later dropped a close split decision 2-3 loss to Ukrainian legend Khyzhniak.

This has been the Philippines’ best showing in its 97-year participation in the Olympiad, highlighted by the gold medal of weightlifting superstar Hidilyn Diaz.

Paalam tries to upgrade the color of his medal on Saturday as he shoots for the gold against Great Britain’s Galal Yafai, who 15 minutes earlier edged the Filipino’s 2020 Asia and Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament tormentor Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan in a close 3-2 split decision win.

Khyzhniak, a Ukrainian Athlete of the Year, who has not lost a fight since 2016 in an insane 60-0 streak, was just too powerful for Marcial, who was visibly spent up in the third round after slightly winning the first two, 3-2, 3-2.

It was when Marcial faded when Khyzhniak was at his best, nailing the Filipino with power shots to take the round and the nod of all judges in the third to win via a split verdict.

“Malakas siya na fighter, deserve niyang Manalo. Fair po ang judging dito, ” said Marcial of Khyzhniak, who won gold medals at the world (2017) and European (2017 and 2019) championships and looked ready to win the gold in these pandemic Olympics.

In golf, Bianca Pagdanganan slipped 20 notches down to a tie for 27th after an even par 71 for a two-day 140, 11 strokes off American leader and world’s no. 1 Nelly Korda, who was 9-under for the day at 63.

Women’s US Open champion Yuka Saso recovered on Day 2 with a 3-under 68 after an opening 74, but is still far away from contention at 34th place, 13 shots off the pace.

Topics: Carlo Paalam , Boxing , Tokyo Olympics , Eumir Marcial , Oleksandr Khyzhniak
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