Olympics: Paalam, Marcial gun for gold medal match


Posted at Aug 05 2021 06:57 AM | Updated as of Aug 05 2021 01:27 PM

Filipino boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam. Ueslei Marcelino and Luis Robayo, Reuters
Filipino boxers Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam. Ueslei Marcelino and Luis Robayo, Reuters

Already assured of bronze medals, Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam look to march to the gold medal match of their respective divisions as they resume their Olympic campaigns on Thursday at the Kokugikan Arena.

Another win will assure the flyweight Paalam and middleweight Marcial of silver medals, and two wins will give them the ultimate prize.

However, tough assignments await them in the fourth to the last day of boxing in Tokyo.

Marcial is up against the top-seed in his division, Ukraine's Oleksandr Khyzhniak. The pair has history, with Khyzhniak dealing Marcial a loss at the Strandja International in Bulgaria in 2019.

"Talo si Eumir sa Strandja. Inayaw ko dahil na-injure si Eumir," explained national team coach Ronald Chavez, who assured that the result of the Bulgaria showdown will not be indicative of the rematch.

Coach Don Abnett also stressed that Marcial is much stronger now. Indeed, the Zamboanga City native has won his first two matches in Tokyo in abbreviated fashion, including a brutal stoppage of Arman Darchinyan in the quarterfinals. 

Meanwhile, Paalam will be up against a hometown bet in Ryomei Tanaka.

The 23-year-old has had a superb campaign already, as he scored one of the biggest upsets of the Tokyo Games with his conquest of Rio Games gold medalist Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals.

"We are overjoyed with Carlo's win over the Rio gold medalist," said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines president Ricky Vargas.

"It was an upset that the coaching staff told me was imminent, but we were still concerned until Carlo came out smoking in the first round. He truly looked like a champion," Vargas added. 

Paalam will be the first to be up in the ring at 2:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. in Manila). Marcial clashes with the Ukrainian at 3:03 p.m.

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