Paalam bows to Brit, still bags Olympic silver

Carlo Paalam remained graceful in defeat as he congratulated Galal Yafai despite settling for silver in his maiden Olympic stint. Reuters

By Ozzy Alaba

MANILA (UPDATED) — After five matches, Carlo Paalam will finally bid his Olympic sayonara.

This time, with a silver lining wrapped.

The Filipino boxer's shot for rare golden glory fell short on Saturday afternoon, tripping on Great Britain's Galal Yafai on a 1-4 split decision to clinch silver in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's flyweight boxing finals at the Kokugikan Arena.

Paalam struggled to assert his form on the Birmingham native as he fell prey to his aggression right off the bat and never found his footing from there, eventually succumbing to a bitter 28-29, 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29 loss on the official scorecards at the end.

His defeat also served a redemption mark for Yafai in his second quadrennial meet stint after ending his golden campaign five years earlier at ninth place.

Despite falling short, the Cagayan de Oro pride snagged the boxing squad's second silver in their three-medal haul, which already had one silver from Nesthy Petecio in the women's feather and Eumir Marcial in the men's middle.

RELATED STORIES: Petecio yields to Japanese in feather finals, settles for Olympic silver, Marcial bows to Ukrainian in tight boxfest, ends Olympic stint with bronze

His silver plum also officially solidified the country's best Olympiad finish further by surpassing Indonesia to become Southeast Asia's best performing nation for the first time since the 1988 Seoul Games, halting their run at 47th place as of posting.

Previously, the 23-year-old methodically bested Japan's Ryomei Tanaka with a unanimous semifinal verdict to barge into the gold medal match.

RELATED STORY: Methodical Paalam drubs Japanese, locks Olympic gold shot

The 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist's golden pursuit went into disaster after getting knocked out by a lethal Galal 1-2 combination in the opening salvo, enough to get all five judges' plugs albeit returning from his pace immediately.

Despite his might, he just can't get over that faulty start.

Flashing his poise, the 23-year-old strongly retorted in the next two cantos after finding his desired range, but the five-foot-seven fighter kept a modest distance and evaded the Filipino's attacks until time expired, carving a bittersweet conclusion to his maiden Olympic appearance.

In spite of going home as a runner-up, Carlo will still receive at least P17 million in cash incentives and free airline flights from the government and private sectors.

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