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Paalam gets back at rival, stays in gold medal hunt

Carlo Paalam became the first Filipino boxer to reach the finals in boxing after exacting revenge on defending champion Fuad Redzuan of Malaysia in the men’s light flyweight semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games held at the PICC Forum.

CARLO Paalam

CARLO Paalam

The 21-year-old Paalam won by unanimous decision after earning the nod of all five judges to secure his place in the gold medal bout set Monday against Indonesia’s Kornelis Langu.

Paalam was able to erase the bitter memory of the 2017 meet in Kuala Lumpur when he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Fuad in what many thought was a one-sided judging that favored the Malaysian.

“Nanggigil ako kasi gusto ko bumawi talaga,” said Paalam, who opened his campaign with a similar unanimous decision win over Cambodia’s Khamphouvanh Khamsathone.

Two Filipino pugs, however, settled for the bronze after falling short against their semifinal foes in the afternoon session.

Ian Clark Bautista fell to Thailand’s Chatchai-decha Butdee, a two-time Olympian, in the men’s bantamweight semifinals.

Aira Villegas absorbed a split decision loss to Thailand’s Nilawan Techaseup in the women’s bantamweight semis.

Both results forced Bautista and Villegas to settle for bronze.

Eumir Felix Marcial eyes a spot in the finals of the men’s middleweight while women light flyweight Josie Gabuco and women’s lightweight Riza Pasuit were eyeing spots in the semis in the evening matches held as of posting time.