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No goodbyes yet for Paalam's Olympic gold quest

By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: SPIN PH


'Sayonara, Ryomei-kun! No hometown decision will stop me!' 

Filipino flyweight Carlo Paalam is now one win away from clinching the country's second gold medal as he methodically dispatched hometown bet Ryomei Tanaka via 5-0 unanimous decision in their semifinal clash at the Kokugikan Arena, Thursday afternoon. 

The Cagayan de Oro native banked on overflowing confidence following his quarterfinal upset over Uzbek boxer Shakobidin Zoirov, unleashed his ultimate mastery inside the ring, denying Tanaka open looks with crisp counters right from the opening bell.



Despite hurdling three former Olympic medalists enroute to the semifinals, Tanaka tried to corner Paalam into the corner but was easily dodged, thus receiving crisp counter shots.

Into the final round and visibly frustrated, the Japanese boxer dived through Paalam's distance with reckless attacks that were easily countered by the Filipino. 

British boxer Gala Yafai now stands in his way in the gold medal bout this Saturday after scraping past Saken Bebossinov of Kazakhstan via split verdict following his bout with Tanaka.