Paalam boxes to Olympic silver for Philippines


Tokyo, Japan, August 7, 2021: The Philippines’ hopes of a second gold medal at Tokyo 2020 were dashed in the boxing ring at Kokugikan Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Carlo Paalam was hoping to follow weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz as Olympic champion but lost a split decision to Galal Yafai of Great Britain in the men’s flyweight (48-52kg) final.

Four of the five judges gave the British fighter the victory by 29-28 while one judge awarded it to Paalam 29-28 for the 4-1 split decision.

Yafai was the clear winner of the first round with a left-hook knockdown of the Filipino fighter and all five judges scored it 10-9 to the Birmingham-based Brit.

But the 23-year-old Pinoy pugilist battled back in the second round and earned one 10-9 decision against four at 10-9 the other way to leave the British boxer ahead going into the last round.

Paalam, the Asian Games bronze medallist in 2018, tried to step it up in the final round but Yafai kept out of trouble and sealed the win, despite Paalam winning by 10-9 on all five cards.

When the bell sounded to end the contest, Yafai raised his right arm in a victory salute and a member of the noisy British fan club high in the stands shouted “You’ve done it – you’re Olympic champion!” long before the split decision was announced.

Still, Paalam’s silver was the second of such colour for the Philippines at Tokyo 2020 and the third in boxing following Nesthy Petecio’s silver in the women’s featherweight (54-57kg) on August 3 and bronze for Eumir Marcial in men’s middleweight (69-75kg) on August 5.