Carlo Paalam punches way to semi-finals, assured of an Olympic medal

 Carlo Paalam punches way to semi-finals, assured of an Olympic medal
Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam wins against Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the men’s flyweight boxing quarterfinals in Tokyo, Japan, Tuesday. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam advanced to the semi-finals of the Tokyo Games flyweight boxing tournament on Tuesday, assuring the Philippines will get another Olympic medal.

The 23-year-old Bukidnon native secured his spot in the final four after defeating defending Olympic flyweight champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan by split decision on points, 4-0, in their quarterfinal clash at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

Mr. Paalam came out aggressive and took the fight to his opponent right at the opening bell, connecting with solid blows to the head and body en route to claiming the opening round.

In the second, the action continued to be frenetic with both fighters tagging one another with clear shots.

Unfortunately, midway into the round both boxers absorbed cuts after a head collision.

The ringside doctor checked on Mr. Zoirov before calling a halt to the fight.

Moments later, Mr. Paalam was declared the winner by split decision after the judges turned to the score cards.

The win assured the Philippines will get a fourth medal in the Olympic Games after the gold won by weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz and those of boxers Nesthy A. Petecio (gold or silver) and Eumir Felix D. Marcial (at least bronze).

In the semifinals set for Aug. 5, Mr. Paalam will face Ryomei Tanaka of Japan. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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