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Tiebreaker Times

2020 Tokyo Olympics

Paalam’s valiant stand not enough vs British foe, takes home Olympic silver

Carlo Paalam’s valiant stand was not enough to overcome Great Britain’s Galal Yafai, bowing via split decision in the 2020 Olympic men’s flyweight final, Saturday at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan.

Paalam will take home silver in the event — the country’s fourth silver in boxing. He joins Anthony Villanueva (1964), Onyok Velasco (1996), and Nesthy Petecio (2020) as Filipino pugilists who took silver in the quadrennial meet.

And a first-round knockdown by the 28-year-old Brit proved to be the difference.

Paalam, who had youth on his side, was starting off aggressively, stalking the much-taller Yafai early on. A solid 1-2 combination by Yafai though knocked down Paalam with 1:50 left.

Though Paalam was able to break the eight count, the native of Cagayan de Oro was in full survival mode to end the opening stanza.

Paalam tried to make up for it in the second and third rounds but Yefai’s counterpunching negated all of Paalam’s attempts.

“Nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon sa pagbbigay ng lakas sa akin at naabot ko ang pangarap ko, first time kong nakalaro ng Olympics sa ganitong edad ko,” Paalam said. “Halos lahat ng mga magagaling nandito, mga second time Olympian, mga ilang taon nang naging Olympian … ako papasok pa lang.”

Yafai will take home Great Britain’s first gold in the weight division in 65 years.

Still, Paalam, who slew Ireland’s Brendan Irvine, Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi, Rio champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan, and hometown bet Ryomie Tanaka to get to this point, had a successful campaign. And with him just being 23-year-old, this campaign is just the beginning of his Olympic journey.

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Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines President Ricky Vargas praised all four Filipino boxers in Tokyo, including women’s flyweight Irish Magno, for their accomplishment.

“My gratitude to team ABAP—four boxers going home with two silvers and one bronze, we’re very proud of all of you,” Vargas said in a statement. “Sumbag Pinoy! Salamat sa lahat ng supporta PSC [Philippine Sports Commission], POC [Philippine Olympic Committee] at MVP Sports Foundation.

“Without your support, we could have not achieved this level of performance. Sana nandyan pa kayo in the future.”

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