MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will return home from the ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan, with a gold medal thanks to Carlo Paalam.
Paalam captured the men’s bantamweight crown after gutting out a 4-1 split decision win over top seed Makhmud Sabyrkhan of Kazakhstan in the finals on Saturday, November 12.
Sabyrkhan came in as the favorite in the championship match as he snagged the bantamweight silver in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2021.
But Paalam seized control early by earning identical 10-9 scores from the five judges in the opening round before he held off a compelling challenge from Sabyrkhan in the last two frames to claim the championship.
The judge from the United Arab Emirates scored it 30-27 for Paalam, while the judges from India, Slovakia, and Ireland gave the Filipino the nod with the same 29-28 marks.
Only the judge from Italy decided in favor of Sabyrkhan, 29-28.
Paalam moved up to bantamweight a year after bagging the men’s flyweight silver in the Tokyo Olympics in Japan last year.
But the change in weight class hardly slowed down the pride of Cagayan de Oro as he racked up three consecutive unanimous decision victories on the way to the finale.
Paalam bested Muhanov Dovlet of Turkmenistan in the round of 16, toppled Yoon Joo-sung of Korea in the quarterfinals, and defeated Seidekmatov Sanzhai of Kyrgyzstan in the semifinals to set up a clash with Sabyrkhan.
Overall, the Philippines pocketed three medals in the continental tiff after clinching a pair of bronzes courtesy of Nesthy Petecio (women’s featherweight) and Hergie Bacyadan (women’s middleweight). – Rappler.com