Carlo Paalam put on a masterful performance in his semifinals match against Japan's Ryomei Tanaka, which assured him of a fight for the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics men's flyweight boxing.
Fight commentator Atty. Ed Tolentino described Paalam's victory as "surgical."
"Napakaganda ng performance. Nagsilbing scalpel ang mga gloves niya sa mukha ni Tanaka," he said.
Using effective counter punching, Paalam scored several right straights and left hooks while disrupting the rhythm of the Japanese boxer.
The 23-year-old fighter from Cagayan de Oro was also quick on his feet, while evading Tanaka's attack. The Japanese became increasingly frustrated as the fight went on such that he resorted to foul tactics including excessive clinching.
In the third round, the Filipino flyweight landed a huge right hand that nearly floored Tanaka.
Paalam went on to take a 5-0 win and advanced to the finals against Great Britain’s Galal Yafai.
"Master na master at ang ganda ng timing. Very important 'yung distancing; pangalawa 'yung timing ng counter punches," said Tolentino.
"Binabasa ni Paalam ang suntok ni Tanaka, nakita niya na pagbitaw ng kanyang gloves bumababa ang braso ni Tanaka before he throws his left, so pumapasok ang counter right straight ni Paalam. Inuunahan niya ng paulit-ulit."
Tolentino said Paalam displayed disciplined boxing.
"Nakita natin sa round 2 and 3 frustrated na si Tanaka so he's resorting to foul tactics. Pero nakita mo hindi naprovoke si Paalam, he followed the game plan," he said.
"Back step, throw the counter right hand, avoid the ropes and keep it in the middle of the ring. Perfecto ang execution nitong Carlo Paalam. The doctor was in."
But Tolentino admitted, he could not help but get nervous before the final result was announce. He cited that Tanaka was fighting in his own turf and a hometown decision might rob Paalam of a crucial victory.
"Kahit na nakita natin na totally dominated ni Carlo Paalam itong si Tanaka nung iaaannounce yung decision nienyerbyos pa rin tayo e. Nakita kasi natin ang nangyari kay (Nesthy) Petecio how she was robbed by Sena Irie," he said.
"Pero kitang kita naman lahat ng anggulo talagang panalo si Paalam."
Paalam who came a long way from working as a scavenger in the streets of Cagayan de Oro will get to fight for the Philippines' second gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday's final.
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