Paalam has no regrets over 1st Olympic knockdown


OLYMPIC SILVER medalist Carlo Paalam had never been knocked down in his entire boxing career except in last Saturday’s defeat to Galal Yafai of Great Britain during the men’s flyweight battle for gold competition at the Tokyo Boxing Summer Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena. 

And the Cagayan De Oro City native had no regrets about it – his first round knockdown in 55th amateur fight. Although he rose up from there to finish the three-round, Paalam still fell to a 1-4 defeat.

“I’m thankful and lucky to experience that [being knocked down]. It was really big for me to learn from there, and to experience it as a boxer,” the 23-year-old Paalam told the media on Sunday via virtual news conference from Tokyo together with bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial.

He has so far 43 wins and 12 defeats in his amateur records since his debut in 2011.

“I am so happy that God let it happen here in the Olympics. It’s really great to learn it from here,” he added. “I will improve what I need to improve. He let me experience the true level of the Olympics.”

Prior to his entry in the finals, Paalam outboxed Irish Brendan Irvine in the round of 32 via 4-1 decision last July 26, then totally outclassed Mohamed Flissi (5-0) in Round of 16 last July 31 to reach the quarterfinals. He completed a 4-0 domination of Shakhobidin Zoirov to advance in the medal round last August 3.    

Paalam whipped hometown bet Japanese Ryomei Tanaka, 5-0, in the semifinals last August 5 to set up a title duel with the 28-year-old Yafai.

Despite coming up short, Paalam will continuously box for his country no matter what.  

Paalam said he will seek another shot at the gold medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics three years from now. He will continue his training under his coaches in the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), praying also for a healthy body to surpass his latest achievement in the future. 

“I am not thinking about it, not in my mind yet,” Paalam said when asked about turning professional just like fellow boxer Marcial who signed up last year with Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. 

Marcial settled for the men’s middleweight Olympic bronze medal, while women’s featherweight Nesthy Petecio also grabbed a silver medal that gave the Philippines a four-medal haul in Tokyo — including Hidilyn Diaz’s first ever Olympic gold medal in weightlifting.

But for now, Paalam is very excited to come home to reunite with his family in Cagayan De Oro.

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist is also eyeing to win a gold medal in 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on September 10 to 25 next year.

“What I can promise is to do my very best for the Asian Games and the Paris Olympics [three years from now],” said Paalam, who encouraged the other young aspiring boxers to work hard to achieve their dreams.

“Nothing is impossible to those who work hard.”

Paalam asked sports officials during the online news conference to give cash bonuses also to his coaches, including Elmer Pamisa for their hard work in guiding them to succeed. 

“I hope they will also consider giving — even an ample amount – to my coaches for their supreme sacrifices to train us. We will not achieve this without them,” said Paalam, who treats Pamisa like his father.

The rest of the Philippine team along with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino will be arriving home on Monday late afternoon, but will spend a 10-day quarantine at the Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay City before they are allowed to go to their respective homes. 

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