Tokyo 2020 - Galal Yafai secures gold medal after defeating Carlo Paalam in stunning performance
Galal Yafai is an Olympic champion after defeating Carlo Paalam in a thrilling flyweight contest. Yafai is Team GB's first Olympic champion in the ring at Tokyo 2020 and put Paalam down on the canvas in the first round. You want it? We have it. Stream every Olympic event live on discovery+.
Yafai had the perfect start in the first round when he floored Paalam with a strong, straight left hand after opening up his opponent’s guard with a quick jab. Paalam was quickly back on his feet, but was visibly shaky as the seconds ticked by.
The British fighter could smell blood and laid on the pressure to secure a clean sweep in the first round. All five judges saw it 10-9 across the board for Yafai.
The blistering pace continued into the second with Paalam determined to turn back the tide with some furious combinations. Yafai was happy to trade and was clipped by a painful left hook and again moments later.
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Yafai, however, stood firm and was repeatedly firing off a nice uppercut, opting to pick his shots. Paalam was relentless and appeared to be dominating the exchanges through sheer numbers of shots thrown in an exhilarating second round.
“Three minutes away from being Olympic champion,” was the word from Yafai’s corner, as the scorecards went up to show the Birmingham fighter had won the round on four of the five judges’ scorecard.
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Yafai just had to keep his head in the final round and the 28-year-old did just that by keeping Paalam at distance for most of the first two minutes.
Paalam struggled to close the distance as Yafai circled away at every opportunity. The final bell arrived and there was little doubt who the winner would be when the judges returned their verdict.
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There was no over the top celebrations from Yafai as he congratulated his rival on his silver medal and shook the hands of the opposing corner.
A brief moment on his knees in the canvas was all Yafai would allow himself with the Brit set to return home to Birmingham with a gold medal to show off to his two brothers – who are also boxers.
After leaving the ring victorious, Yafai yelled up to GB captain Frazer Clarke in the stands: “Happy birthday Fraze” and the super-heavyweight bronze medallist responded with an emotional tribute to his team-mate.
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