Carlo Paalam checked a lot of firsts off his boxing list in Tokyo: first Summer Games, first Olympic medal, and first knockdown.
Paalam took his men’s flyweight finals loss to Galal Yafai of Great Britain in stride as he returns home with valuable lessons, determined to win a gold medal in Paris 2024.
The defeat saw Paalam suffer the first knockdown of his career in the opening round – a fall that proved the difference in the split decision verdict that favored Yafai.
“Salamat kasi na-experience ko na na-knockdown ako kasi malaking bagay na matututo ako na ma-experience ko ‘yung ganoon bilang boxer,” said Paalam, who netted silver.
(I’m thankful that I experienced being knocked down because it is important for me to learn from those kind of things as a boxer.)
Paalam went punch-for-punch against Yafai in the first round until the Briton sent him to the canvas with a left straight to the head with 1:50 minutes left in the salvo.
While Paalam finished the fight and even won the third round by identical 10-9 scores, Yafai did just enough to earn the favor of four judges.
Still, Paalam showed sportsmanship in the loss as he embraced Yafai and gave him a kiss for a well-fought bout.
“Never ako na-knockdown sa buong pagbo-boxing ko po. ‘Yun ‘yung first ko. Salamat rin dahil dito niya pina-experience sa akin sa Olympics,” he said.
(I had never been knocked down in my boxing career. That was my first. I thank him because he made me experience that here in the Olympics.)
“Malaking bagay na na-experience ko kung ano ‘yung Olympics.”
(It is big for me to experience what fighting in the Olympics is like.)
The youngest out of the four Filipino boxers in Tokyo, the 23-year-old will be only 26 when the Paris Games come off the wraps in 2024.
Paalam is also slated to get busy for the Southeast Asian Games, where he will defend his flyweight gold, and the Asian Games, where he will look to eclipse his bronze-medal finish.
“Hindi ko man ma-promise pero gagawin ko ‘yung best ko sa Paris at saka sa Asian Games,” he said.
(I’m not promise anything but I will do my best in Paris and in the Asian Games.) – Rappler.com