Filipino flyweight boxer Carlo Paalam is just a win away from the gold medal after dominating Japanese pug Ryomei Tanaka in their semifinals bout in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Kokugikan Arena Thursday, Aug. 5
Paalam scored a unanimous decision as all five judges tallied 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
Paalam showed who’s boss with his counterstriking masterclass, throwing a quick 1-2 combination every time the Japanese boxer lands a jab.
The 23-year-old boxer from Cagayan de Oro stayed calm and composed all throughout the match, matching his good reads with sharp counterstriking.
In round two, Paalam remained the controlling counterpuncher and even upgraded his game after throwing strong body shots on Tanaka.
Paalam landed a solid right with 40 seconds left as Tanaka attempted for a last-second flurry before the bell.
Now boosted with confidence, Paalam opened the third round aggressively with multiple right jabs before unleashing a dominating 1-2 counter.
Gaining momentum, the Bukidnon native boxer zoomed in with a solid right hook which sent the Japanese boxer stumbling for a while with less than two minutes left.
Under a minute, Paalam consistently unpacked counterpunches with a couple of 1-2 combinations as Tanaka desperately hauled for the much-needed points in the last-second clash.
With the win, Paalam, assured of a silver medal, became the second Filipino boxer to reach the gold medal match in the Tokyo Games, following the footsteps of Nesthy Petecio, who settled for second place finish in the women’s featherweight final against another Japanese in Sena Irie.
Paalam will face Galal Yafai of Great Britain on Saturday, Aug. 7., in the final. (Carlo Anolin) ###