Carlo Paalam Secures Olympic Medal after defeating Uzbekistan’s Champ!

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Carlo Paalam stunned Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov by knocking him off his perch on Tuesday to become the Philippines’ latest medalist at the Tokyo Olympics.

Paalam won a split decision in the men’s flyweight semifinal after the fight was stopped at the 1:40 mark of the second round due to a collision of heads.

“I did not mind the punches I took, I just really wanted to win. My opponent is really good and he has experience too. They said the chances were 50/50, but I just trusted myself and I listened to my coaches,”

Paalam said.

Paalam’s remarkable victory ensured him at least a bronze medal, bringing the Philippines’ total medal count to four, the most in a single Olympic campaign. In the scorecards, four judges favored Paalam, but the other judge declared it a tie.

Zoirov, who dominated the division to earn gold for Uzbekistan in Rio 2016, came into the battle against Paalam with a pair of 5-0 decisions under his belt.

Paalam, on the other hand, remained unfazed from the start, bringing the battle to Zoirov, who also has a gold in the 2019 World Championships on his colorful resume.

On Thursday at 1:30 p.m., Paalam will compete for a position in the gold medal match against Ryomei Tanaka, a hometown favorite.

Tanaka, whose brother Kosei is a three-division world champion, advanced to the finals by defeating Colombian Yuberjen Martinez Rivas 4-1.

Paalam, who hails from Bukidnon, joined Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial in clinching a medal for the Philippines’ boxing team, which is in the midst of its greatest Olympic performance ever following a string of heartbreaks and disappointments at the Summer Games.

Petecio fights for the women’s featherweight title at 12:05 p.m. against Sena Irie, a familiar hometown favorite, while Marcial fights for a spot in the middleweight final against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak on Thursday.