Freeman Cebu Sports

Philippines Marcial, Paalam eye spots in gold-medal round

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Filipino boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Carlo Paalam shoot for berths in the gold-medal round and a shot at history when they face separate foes in the semifinals of their respective weight classes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics boxing competition today at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Marcial assured Team Philippines of at least a bronze medal after scoring a marvelous first-round knockout  of Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan. Ditto with his countryman Paalam after pulling off a monumental upset over Olympic and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan via technical split decision.

  Paalam, who used to pick garbage in a dumping site in his hometown Cagayan de Oro City, will first climb into the ring to slug it out with Japan’s home bet Ryokei Tanaka in the men’s flyweight semis scheduled at 1:30 p.m.

Aside from keeping his gold medal hopes alive, Paalam will also try to avenge the heart-breaking defeat of his countryman Nesthy Petecio, who lost by a controversial unanimous decision to her Japanese archrival Sena Irie in the women’s featherweight finals last Tuesday that denied Phl of that elusive boxing gold in the prestigious sporting extravaganza that happens only once every four years.

Like Paalam, the Zamboanga City native Marcial will try bolster his chances of snaring that breakthrough boxing gilt for Phl when he takes on 2017 world champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine in the men’s middleweight finals at 2:03 p.m.

Both Paalam and Marcial are in a determined quest to mint the country’s first ever boxing gold in the Olympics.

Since it started participating in the quadrennial games way back in 1924 in Paris, Phl could only managed three silvers in boxing, the most latest was delivered by Petecio just two days ago. Anthony Villanueva first achieved the feat in the 1964 Tokyo Games, which was duplicated by  Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco 32 years later during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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