Carlo Paalam skillfully avoided danger and executed precise hits that ultimately led to his victory over Jordan’s Mohammad Jajeh Abu in their opening bout at the 19th Asian Games.
In order to outmaneuver his much-taller opponent, Paalam received a unanimous 5-0 decision from the judges after three rounds in the men’s 57kg round of 32 at the Hangzhou Gymnasium.
“Sobrang tangkad nya sa akin, kaya nag-stick lang ako sa game plan namin ng mga coaches ko,” said Paalam, whose chief objective is to secure a spot in next year’s Paris Olympics.
Facing Abu, he was forced to fight more strategically in the ring and only threw punches when necessary.
Paalam won a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 51kg category, but that weight class has been removed from the Paris program for next year.
The boxing finalists at the ongoing Asian Games have the opportunity to earn slots for the prestigious event in the glamorous French capital.
The national boxing team here is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“Pagsikapan ko talaga ang makapunta sa Paris. Gawin ang best every laban. Baguhan ako sa timbang na ito, kaya mabigat at malakas ang galaw dito,” said Paalam, a flyweight bronze medalist during the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia.
“Kailangan kong mag-adjust dito dahil mahahaba ang mga kalaban at sobrang galing din. Matalino din sila maglaro,” added the 25-year-old pride of Talakag, Bukidnon.