TOKYO - Flyweight Carlo Paalam put himself in contention for the Philippines' first-ever Olympic boxing gold on Thursday, while Irish top seed Kellie Anne Harrington advanced into the lightweight gold medal match with Brazil's Beatriz Ferreira.
Paalam ensured no more boxing medals for hosts Japan with a display of speed and agility in his semi-final against Ryomei Tanaka, who was no match for his quick-footed opponent.
A teary-eyed Paalam fell to his knees on the canvas when his victory was confirmed and let out an ecstatic scream.
He refused to be drawn on what a gold medal would mean.
"I won't answer that for now, I still have good work left to do," he said.
He will meet Galal Yafai of Britain, who beat Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan in an entertaining flyweight semi-final.
A huge roar erupted from the British team in the spectator-less arena after Yafai's win was announced, a victory he said came down to his preparations.
"To be in an Olympic final is something I never thought I could do, and now I'm in it. It just goes to show, if you put in hard work, you reap the rewards."
Ireland's Harrington won a battle of wills with Thai Sudaporn Seesondee to progress to the final after a split decision.
Harrington put on an astute tactical performance, switching stance between rounds to draw in and frustrate the tough-punching Thai before moving in quickly on the counter.
"I fought her back in 2018, it was a chess match then, it was a chess match today," Harrington said.
"I wasn't stepping inside to get a bang, because she hits very hard with her back hand."
World and Pan-American champion Ferreira is looking to win Brazil's second-ever Olympic boxing gold and always looked on top in a scrappy affair with 40-year-old Mira Potkonen of Finland.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((email@example.com; +66896070413))