Carlo Paalam has now sealed his dance with history.
The 23-year-old, who used to pick trash for a living in Cagayan de Oro, will now have a shot at winning the country’s first Olympic boxing gold medal after he outclassed his Japanese foe Ryomei Tanaka in their semifinals match.
Paalam won via unanimous decision against Tanaka in the boxing men’s flyweight division of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Kokugikan Arena.
Paalam’s assured silver medal now adds up to the country’s total Olympic haul following weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s gold, boxer Nesthy Petecio’s silver, and an assured bronze for fellow slugger Eumir Marcial of Zamboanga. Filipina golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso are still playing, but the four assured Olympic medals are already the most that the Philippines will take home in a historically unprecedented Olympic campaign.
Paalam was assured of a bronze medal after he beat Uzbekistani boxer Shakhobidin Zoirov last August 3. Paalam won via split decision after the referee stopped the fight during the second round when both fighters sustained a gash on the head due to an accidental heatbutt.
Before his fight today, Paalam shared a photo of him on social media having a video call with his family.
Family call thank you lord time ka usap sila para wala Yung pagod ko I love you to all god bless you ❤? pic.twitter.com/5Titpg8nhR— Carlo Paalam (@CarloPaalam2) August 3, 2021
Paalam will next face UK’s Galal Yafai on Saturday, 1 pm, for the finals match.
(Carlo Paalam celebrates after winning against Japan's Ryomei Tanaka after their men's flyweight semi-final boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 5, 2021. Luis ROBAYO / AFP)