Carlo Paalam was unable to advance to the semifinals after losing to reigning world champion Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan in their 57 kg quarterfinal bout of the 19th Asian Games boxing tournament on Tuesday night at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.
The 25-year-old Paalam bravely engaged Khalokov for three full rounds, but the Uzbek proved to be the superior fighter in their first encounter. Khalokov secured a dominant 5-0 victory.
Paalam’s defeat has left Eumir Marcial as the lone Filipino boxer with a chance to reach the podium and compete for the gold, along with an automatic berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Marcial will compete in the semifinals of the 80 kg class on Wednesday against Syrian Ahmad Ghousoon.
“Ubusan kami ng talino sa ring talaga. Sobrang ganda at happy ako sa laro ko,” said the Tokyo Olympiad silver medal winner.
Paalam moved up in weight from 54 to 57 kg, which he considers his natural weight. This was his first time competing in this category.
He mentioned, “Blessing din sa akin kasi hindi rin ako basta-basta sa kanila, takot din sila.”
“Ginawa ko yung best ko. Wala akong pinagsisihan. Hindi ako nadismaya sa sarili (ko) kasi ginawa ko yung best ko, pinag-laban ko yung flag ng Pilipinas.”
Paalam also fell short of replicating his medal-winning performance from the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, where he won a bronze medal in the flyweight class.
Next up for Paalam is the World Championship, where he aims to secure a ticket to the Paris Olympics.