The last two Filipinos standing face tough opponents as the semifinal matches in boxing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics get going today.
Carlos Paalam, still reeling from the upset top ranked Shakhobidin Zoirov in the quarterfinals of men’s flyweight at the Kokugikan Arena in the Tokyo Olympics last August 3, may find himself at the disadvantage as he faces local Ryomei Tanaka at 1PM.
This as Eumir Marcial, who spent only two rounds in the ring to get into the semifinals, need to dig deep in a semifinals meet with world number one Oleksandr Khyzniak in men’s middleweight.
The winner meets the victor in the other semifinals match between Brazilian Hebert Sousa and Gleb Bakshi of Russia.
Marcial previously lost to Khyzniak when he dislocated his shoulder in the 2019 Amateur International Boxing Association.
Marcial has also lost to Bakshi who at 6 feet and one inch, is five inches taller than the 25-year old Zamboanga-native.
Paalam’s fight with the erstwhile defending Olympics flyweight champion ended in the second rounf when the University of Baguio student leading in almost all cards and ended up with 20-18 counts on four of the judges and tied in one.
UB personnel watching at the UB audio visual room jumped in celebration after Paalam was declared the winner in the supposed three rounds bout which was stopped when the fighters banged their heads against each other which resulted in a cut on the top ranked boxer prompting the ringside doctor to stop the match.
“We are not just happy but it sends goosebumps,” said UB athletic director Alan Elegado, who said Paalam as well as Irish Magno and Nesthy Petecio have taken a leave of absence.
“Very happy indeed,” cried former national coach Glicerio Catolico, who also coached the Vietnam Boxing team in the last Southeast Asian Games.
Both Filipino are assured of a bronze medal as the 22-year old faces Tanaka who defeated Columbian Yuberjan Herney Martinez Rivas in the earlier match, 4-1.
Nesthy Petecio fell to Japanese Sena Irie Tuesday in a unanimous decision that raised eyebrows among boxing officials.