Carlo Paalam moved even closer to reaching his ultimate dream.
From scavenging in the streets of Cagayan de Oro just to make ends meet, Paalam is now on the cusp of Olympic gold glory.
Paalam earned a shot at a gold medal after topping hometown bet Ryomei Tanaka by unanimous decision in the men’s flyweight semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics Thursday at Kokugikan Arena.
He also assured himself of a silver medal with the victory.
Paalam scored a unanimous decision as all five judges tallied 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
The Bukidnon-born Paalam, who was introduced to boxing at nine years old in Cagayan de Oro, aims to become the Philippines’ first ever boxing gold medalist on Saturday against either Great Britain’s Galal Yafai.
The Philippine boxing team already has a silver courtesy of Nesthy Petecio at women’s featherweight and a bronze in the men’s middleweight from Eumir Marcial.
After outclassing his first two opponents, Eumir Marcial met his match in Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak as he settled for the men’s middleweight bronze at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Marcial, who made it to the semifinal with a pair of first-round stoppages including a knockout over Arman Darchinyan in the quarterfinal, found Khyzhniak a tough nut to crack losing by split decision.
Khyzhniak, undefeated since October 2016, has now beaten Marcial twice in a span of two years, extending his winning streak to 62.
The Zamboanga native lost to the 2017 world champion in a 2019 tournament in Strandja, Bulgaria where he was forced to withdraw at the beginning of the third round due to an injury.
Marcial’s bronze is the boxing team’s second medal in Tokyo after Nesthy Petecio’s silver finish.
Out Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio dedicated her silver medal in Olympic Women’s Featherweight Boxing to the LGBTQ+ community after losing to Japan’s Sena Irie on Tuesday.
Petecio became the first woman from the Philippines to win a medal in a boxing competition at the Olympics.
The boxer wept as she raised her silver medal on the Olympic podium.
The last medal of the Filipinos in the men’s division was courtesy of Manuel “Onyok” Velasco, who won silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games. (M. Giongco, inq.net; C. Anolin, mb.com)