The medal rush continued for the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday (August 3) after Carlo Paalam secured at least a bronze medal in the men's flyweight division.
The Filipino boxer pulled off a monumental upset on Olympic gold medalist and world champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan via a 4-0-1 split decision win at the Kokugikan Arena.
Standing his ground despite the odds stacked against him, Paalam edged out Zoirov in the scorecards after the bout was put to a halt at the 1:44 mark of the second round, where both fighters sustained cuts from an accidental head collision.
Four of the five judges scored the bout 20-18 in favor of Paalam, with the other one scoring it a 19-19 stalemate.
Paalam has now delivered the Philippines its fourth guaranteed medal in the Tokyo Games, as the 19-strong contingent becomes the most bemedalled team the country has ever assembled in 97 years.
Still, the fight is far from over for the 23-year-old Paalam, who advances to the semifinal round where a win over Ryomei Tanaka of Japan on Thursday, August 5, would elevate him to the gold medal match.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.