Carlo Paalam achieves silver medal finish in Tokyo Olympics

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) – Boxer Carlo Paalam capped off the Philippines' best finish in the Olympics with a silver medal, the country's fourth medal in Tokyo.

Paalam clinched the country's second silver medal in Tokyo after settling for a split decision loss against Great Britain's Galal Yafai in the men's flyweight finals Saturday at the Kokugikan Arena.

Four judges scored 29-28 in favor of Yafai, while the remaining judge gave the same score to Paalam.

The British fighter started aggressively in the first round by pounding his Filipino foe with solid combos and power punches.

A powerful right underhand punch from Yafai sent Paalam down the canvas midway in the first round, but the Filipino fighter stood up and engaged his opponent into a slugfest.

In the second round, Paalam and Yafai continued to exchange some masterful punches to each other but it was evident that the British boxer got more open looks in connecting authoritative blows.

Paalam tried to reverse the outcome of the fight in the third round as he landed vicious hits to the body and head of Yafai. The Filipino pug got the nod of all five judges in Round 3, but his comeback was not enough to win the country's first Olympic gold medal in boxing.

With Paalam's feat, the Philippines will leave Tokyo with its best performance in the 23 Olympic editions it competed in with one gold, two silvers, and one bronze. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz ended the country's 97-year wait for the Olympic gold, while fellow boxer Eumir Marcial was the lone bronze medalist.

The silver medal finish of Paalam is the country's eighth medal in boxing, the sport with the most number of Olympic medals won by Filipinos since joining the quadrennial sports competition in 1924. The country now has a total of 14 Olympic medals.

The 23-year-old Cagayan de Oro native duplicated the feat earned by compatriot Nesthy Petecio, who took home the silver in the Tokyo Olympics women's featherweight division and the first Filipina pugilist to win an Olympic medal.

Paalam also matched the silver medal achievements of Anthony Villanueva in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Paalam is assured of receiving at least ₱17 million as reward for his achievement: ₱5 million from the government through Republic Act 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, ₱5 million each from business tycoons and sports patrons Ramon Ang and Manny Pangilinan, and ₱2 million from Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero.