Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam has secured another podium finish for the Philippines after he defeated reigning Olympics champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan through an aborted split decision in their men’s flyweight quarterfinal bout at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan. 

The fight was stopped at 1:16 after both fighters clashed heads, which resulted in Zoirov receiving a deep cut. 

The decision was then left to the scorecards, where four of the five judges had the Filipino ahead 20-18 while a fifth had it at a 19-19 stalemate. 

Zoirov, who won gold for Uzbekistan in the same division in Rio 2016, entered the bout against Paalam with a pair of 5-0 decisions in his first two fights. 

However, Paalam was unfazed and proceeded to dominate the Uzbek with a barrage of punches early in the match. 

With this win, Paalam is guaranteed a bronze medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He will face Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka on Thursday (August 5) at 1:30 p.m. for the Olympic gold. 

The Bukidnon native now joins two other Filipino boxers, Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial, in securing medals for the country. 

In total, the Philippines now has four medals in the Olympics, which includes weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s gold. 

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Image credit: Dan Mullan via Getty Images