Olympics: Paalam settles for the silver, PH officially has four medals

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August 7, 2021 – Carlo Paalam suffered a knockdown in the men’s flyweight division finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and lost a split decision to settle for a silver medal, officially increasing the Philippine’s haul to four, its best production since competing during the 1924 Paris Games.

Galal Yafai of the Great Britain engineered a masterful 4-1 decision to claim  the gold.

Yafai came in oozing with confidence to the title bout held on August 7, 2021 at the Kokugikan Arena. He executed the same game plan he employed in hammering out a close 3-2 semifinal win over Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov

He aggressively stalked Paalam towards the ropes while firing heavy leather in the first until a combination dropped the Pinoy midway through the round.

It turned out the knockdown was just flash as Paalam wasn’t really hurt. He quickly rise up to his feet and was ready to mix it up again despite the eight-count.

He finished the round exchanging mitts with Yafai but, as expected, all judges awarded Yafai the round.

Paalam came out more aggressive in the second and managed to stand toe-to-toe with his rival to make the fight more even but Yafai continued his relentless attacks to earn the nod of four of the judges, forcing Paalam to come up with a knockout if he is to win the fight.

Yafai then coasted along in the third to avoid the knockout possibility, allowing Paalam to steal the round but win the bout.

With lady golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan completing their participation without a podium appearance, the Philippines officially finished with 1 gold, 2 silvers, and 1 bronze.

Saso made a late rally by firing a 6-under par 65 fourth round to finish the competition with a 10-under 274 but her 3-over 74 opening round was too much to recover from. She finished tied for ninth place.

On the other hand, Pagdanganan opened with a 2-under 69 but failed to sustain it with a par,par, 3-over next thre rounds. She finished tied for 43rd place among  60 participants.

The Philippines four medal haul was its best performance That increased the medal rush of the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to four, the Philippines’ best medal haul in almost a century of participation in the summer games.

The three bronze medals brought home by Jose Villanueva (boxing) Teófilo Yldefonso (swimming), and Simeon Toribo (athletics) during the 1932 Los Angeles Games has been the country’s best standard since the Philippines participated in the Olympiad.

Carlos Yulo, who finished 4th among 8 finalists in Men’s vault, almost added another one had not incurred a penalty in the first vault. That crucial penalty, caused by missing his footing and a misstep cost him a podium finish.

Without the penalty, he would have taken the bronze over Armenia’s Artur Davtyan, who incidentally had a penalty himself.

Other notable finishers were Margielyn Didal, who finished 7th among 24 participants in women’s street skateboarding; Ernest John Obiena, who finished 11th in a field of 30 participants in Men’s pole vault; and weightlifter Elreen Ando, who finished 7th among 14 participants in women’s 64 kg division.

By Armando M. Bolislis

Olympics: Paalam assured of silver, Marcial settles for bronze

August 5, 2021 – The Philippines now has another shot at a gold while officially adding one bronze in its 2020 Tokyo Olympics medal haul as Carlo Paalam advances to the finals men’s flyweight division while Eumir Marcial dropped his semifinal match at the Kokugikan Arena on August 5, 2021.

Paalam earned a shot at a gold medal by ending the giant killing ways of Ryomei Tanaka by unanimous decision. The Filipino had actually cliched the fight after taking the first and second rounds in all judges scorecards but still went all out in the third to earn a shutout from four of the five judges.

Paalam landed the clearer punches throughout the fight and was brilliant in his in and out technique, firing punches that found their target then relied on his footwork to get out of Tanaka’s reach.

He will have his hands full against  Galal Yafai of the Great Britain, who own the other semifinal bout by split decision,  in the finals schedule on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Marcial was outworked by Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak in their middleweight semifinals match of contrasting styles.

Khyzhniak came in as the quicker fighter with his patented volume puncher style. This put the less mobile but harder hitting Marcial to inject some adjustments to his gameplan if he is to win.

True to form, the fight was  as close as it could get with Khyzhniak advancing by a 3-2 split decision.

Khyzhniak came out firing to turn the match into a slugfest and Marcial sneaked in heavy leather counters to set the tone for his side.

The three of the five judges had Marcial winning the first. After the second Marcial had two judges winning the fight, one gave it to Khyzhniak, while the other two had it even for the cardiac finish.

Needing just one of the two judges nod, Marcial can’t seem to sustain his attack in the third even while Khyzhniak was his own usual self. Marcial tentative third round had all judges favoring the Ukrainian.

The final scorecard showed 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Khyzhniak and a couple of 29-28s for Marcial.

Khyzhniak has now defeated Marcial twice in a row, the other coming in 2019 where Marcial was forced to withdraw at the beginning of the third round due to an injury. He tries to extend a 62-bout winning streak that he started in 2016 in the finals.

By Armando M. Bolislis

Olympics: Paalam adds at least one more bronze to Ph’s best tally ever

August 3,  2021 – Carlo Paalam ousted 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist and 2019 world champions gold medalist Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan via a 4-0-1 decision win in the men’s flyweight division at the Kokugikan Arena on August 3, 2021.

That increased the medal rush of the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to four, the Philippines’ best medal haul in its almost century old participation in the summer games.

The Philippines first competed in 1924 Paris Games, making its appearance in the Olympics already 97 years. It in to be noted, however, that the country kipped the 1980 Moscow Games.

The three bronze medals brought home by Jose Villanueva (boxing) Teófilo Yldefonso (swimming), and Simeon Toribo (athletics) during the 1932 Los Angeles Games has been the country’s best standard since the Philippines participated in the Olympiad.

The Philippines has already a gold courtesy of Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting and Nesthy Petecio in boxing. Paalam and fellow-boxer Eumir Marcial were assured of at least a bronze by barging to the semi-finals of their respective divisions.

Paalam edged out Zoirov in the scorecards after the bout was ended by the referee at the 1:44 mark of the second round when both fighters sustained cuts from an accidental head collision.

Four of the five judges had Paalam ahead in their cards,20-18, meaning he would have won the bout anyway if the bout was played out like it had until it is halted. The other had it even, 19-19.

The 23-year-old Paalam will face Ryomei Tanaka of Japan while Marcial squares off against Ukraine’s Khyzhniak Oleksandr in their respective semifinal bouts on Thursday, August 5.

By Armando M. Bolislis

Petecio settles for the silver

August 3, 2021 – Nesthy Petecio had to settle for the silver in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after losing to Japanese  Sena Irie via unanimous decision in boxing’s women’s featherweight division held on August 3, 2021 at Japan.

Petecio clearly struggled against the fighting style of Irie and failed to adjust.

The match was pretty even and it could have gone either way. Unfortunately for the Philippines, the five judges scoring the fight all called it for Irie.

All judges scored the first and third for Irie while four had Petecio winning the second.

The 7th ranked Petecio was the better aggressor and landed the harder hits in the third but there were still a lot of holding and grabbing which probably swayed the judges to give the Japanese the win.

Petecio had a the giant-killing run along her way to the finals. She took out top seed Lin Yu-ting of Chinese-Taipei and the taller opponents Irma Testa of Italy  and Marcelat Sakobi Matshu of Congo.

Petecio became the third boxer to win an Olympic silver for the Philippines after Anthony Villanueva did the trick in 1964 in Tokyo and Mansueto Velasco at the 1996 Atlanta Olympiad. Hidilyn Diaz added another one during the 2016 Rio Games.

By Armando M. Bolislis

Marcial assured of bronze, gives PH its best finish ever

Aug 1, 2021 – Eumir Marcial landed a vicious right hook to knock out Arman Darchinyan in the quarterfinals of the men’s middleweight of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, August 1 to be assured of a bronze medal and secured the best finish of the Philippines in its Olympics participation history.

The bout only lasted for two minutes and eleven seconds as Marcial sent his Armenian foe crashing to the canvas with 49 ticks left in the opening round.

With Hidilyn Diaz winning the Philippines’ first gold in weightlifting and Nesthy Petecio guaranteed of a silver in the featherweight division, Marcial’s medal gives the country a three-medal that will eclipse its output during the the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

The three bronze medals brought home by Jose Villanueva (boxing) Teófilo Yldefonso (swimming), and Simeon Toribo (athletics) has been the best standard since the Philippines participated in the Olympiad.

At the onset of the round, Marcial immediately pushed his attack and dazed his fellow professional boxer with a combination that forced the referee to give Darchinyan a standing eight count.

That surely became a signal of the end and it didn’t take long for the lethal right hook to land on Darchinyan’s jaw that ended the fight.

The referee didn’t even bother to count  and waved off the while helping the Armenian back on his feet.

Incidentally, if the opponent of Marcial sounds familiar, it is because you might be a boxing fan who remebers Nonito Donaire knocking out his namesake. Yes, this Darchinyan, nephew of Vic, who also wound up on the canvass during two fights with Donaire.

Darchinyan also complained a lot post-fight that the shot that took him down  was behind the head. A review of the short-lived fight shows there weren’t any blows delivered by Marcial to the back of the head. The two hits that caused a standing 8-count and the knockout were absolutely legitimate hits.

By Armando M. Bolislis

Baguio-based Petecio is one win away from giving PH a second gold

July 31, 2021 – Nesthy Petecio turned a tactical match into a brawl to outpoint Italian Irma Testa and barge in the finals of the women’s featherweight gold-medal match in the Tokyo Olympics.

Petecio and her much taller opponent both came up tentative in the first round before the Filipina cut the distance and went in for the kill in the second and third rounds to get the 4-1 win in this semifinals bout.

Four judges scored it 29-28 for the Davao native while the other had it 29-28 for Testa.

The 29-year-old Petecio shoots for the gold on Tuesday against Sena Irie of Japan.

A victory would hand the Philippines another gold medal after Hidilyn Diaz claimed a gold in weightlifting gold earlier this week.

There was clearly lack of action with both fighters sizing up each other in the first as the referee warned them to mix it up. Testa, the busier fighter of the two with her jabs, claimed a 10-9 shutout in the judges score cards after the first.

Sensing urgency and confident she can take the Italian’s punches, a more active Petecio ditched the tactical game and closed in with reckless abandon in the last two rounds.

The trick worked as she became the aggressor and landed powerful shots that clearly bothered her rival.

Testa, a two-time Olympian and European champion, was Petecio’s fourth victim. She got her Olympic campaign off to a strong start by outpointing a taller Marcelat Sakobi Matshu of Congo via 5-0 shutout before scaling the scalp of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yu-ting, 3-2, to advance in the quarterfinals. Another 5–0 win against Yeni Arias of Colombia secured her  a spot in the semis, as well as an appearance at the podium.

Meanwhile, Carlo Paalam also put on a masterful performance to barge into the men’s flyweight quarterfinals. Paalam came up with a unanimous decision over three-time Olympian Mohamed Flissi of Algeria.

By Armando M. Bolislis