MANILA, Philippines — Carlo Paalam needed a convincing performance to avoid a hometown decision against Ryomei Tanaka in their men’s flyweight semifinal at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
That’s exactly what he did as he put on a boxing clinic to outclass Tanaka and leave the outcome beyond doubt.
“I just played my game and turned to my speed. That was my strategy,” Paalam said after punching his way through the gold medal match.
With the victory, Paalam remained the only Filipino boxer still in the hunt for gold after middleweight Eumir Marcial lost in a semifinal slugfest to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak later in the day.
The 23-year-old Paalam hopes to complete the job on Saturday against Great Britain’s Galal Yafai and become the first Filipino gold medalist in boxing.
Nesthy Petecio had the golden opportunity to make history on Tuesday but a closely contested women’s featherweight final went in favor of hometown bet Sena Irie.
Paalam made sure it won’t happen again as he didn’t leave anything to chance following a masterclass.
“You need to have faith in yourself. This is the reason why we train, for this moment,” Paalam said.
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