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Paalam advances to finals, Marcial falls

CELEBRATION. University of Baguio personnel cheered as Carlo Paalam after he beat Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinals of men’s flyweight at the Kokugikan Arena in the Tokyo Olympics Thursday. Eumir Marcial lost in the semifinals of the men’s middleweight. Pigeon Lobien / RNG Luzon

So the last man standing is the youngest of the Philippine boxers, Carlo Paalam.

Paalam slugged his way to the finals outclassing local Ryomei Tanaka at the Kokugikan Arena in the Tokyo Olympics men’s flyweight semifinals Thursday.

Paalam was just too good for the Japanese as he delivered a performance worthy for the books

Paalam scored on all five judges to score a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.

But Eumir Marcial lost his wind in the third round and lost via split decision 29-28, 30-27, 28-29, 29-28 and 28-29 to Olaksandr Khyzhniak.

Marcial took the first two rounds scoring in three of the judges’ cards, but was outclassed in the last round when all the judges gave it to the Ukranian former world champion.

He settled for the bronze medal.

Paalam will be fighting for the gold medal, as he tries to complete what Nesthy Petecio failed to do last Tuesday when she lost to Sena Irie to settle for the silver medal.

Paalam hopes to become the second gold winner for the country after Hidilyn Diaz, who last July 26 won the country’s first gold medal in 97 years.

“Carlo really played good and we are proud,” said University of Baguio athletic director Alan Elegado.

Paalam was a senior high school student of UB, which is also the school of the three other boxers.

“Napagod talaga si Eumir. Binuhos na sa first round (Eumir was really tired. He gave it all in the first round),” summed Reinaldo Bautista, Jr. of the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines, who is a member of the Bautista clan that owns UB.

“He could have taken the first two rounds but then it was the last round that decided in favor of the Russian,” added Bautista, a former Baguio mayor and a professor at UB’s School of International Tourism and Hotel Management where Marcial was enrolled as a student in 2015 before joining the Philippine Air Force.

Petecio is also a UB SITHM student.

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