Paris Olympics

Fit-again Carlo Paalam nails payback vs Turkmen to reach last 16 of Olympic boxing qualifiers

Delfin Dioquino

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Fit-again Carlo Paalam nails payback vs Turkmen to reach last 16 of Olympic boxing qualifiers

EVADE. Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in action against Mohamed Flissi of Algeria in the Tokyo Olympics in Japan.

Ueslei Marcelino/REUTERS

Carlo Paalam beats the same foe that eliminated him in the previous Olympic qualifier as he advances to the last 16 of the second World Qualification Tournament for the Paris Games

MANILA, Philippines – A fit-again Carlo Paalam redeemed himself against the same foe that sent him home in the previous Olympic qualifier.

Paalam inched closer to a Paris Games berth as he beat Turkmenistan’s Shukur Ovezov in the round of 32 of the men’s 57kg class in the second World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, May 28.

Winning via unanimous decision, Paalam earned identical scores of 30-27 from the five judges to move within three victories of joining fellow boxers Eumir MarcialNesthy Petecio, and Aira Villegas in the Olympic cast.

“I’m happy that I’m now able to move properly,” said Paalam in Filipino. “I’ll work harder in my next fights.”

It was a sweet payback for Paalam after he lost to Ovezov in the first World Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, in March as he surrendered in the second round of their last 16 bout due to a shoulder injury.

Paalam sustained the injury in his previous fight and opted to throw in the towel against Ovezov to avoid the “risk of further damage.”

That decision has worked wonders for the Tokyo Games silver medalist, who has rediscovered his form as he won his first two bouts in Bangkok via unanimous decision, the first coming against Greece’s Alexei Lagkazasvili.

Paalam battles Armenia’s Artur Bazeyan next in the last 16 on Thursday, May 30.

“This is the kind of performance I’ve been looking for from Carlo – moves that are suited for the Olympics,” said coach Elmer Pamisa in Filipino. “His speed has returned and he has adjusted to his new weight class.”

With only three Olympic berths up for grabs in his division, Paalam must reach the final for a guaranteed seat in Paris.

Only Paalam and Hergie Bacyadan (women’s 75kg) are in the running in Bangkok after Rogen Ladon (men’s 51kg) and Criztian Pitt Laurente (63.5kg) lost their opening fights.

Needing to reach the semifinals to punch her Olympic ticket, Bacyadan returns to action on Saturday, June 1, as she faces Hungary’s Veronika Nakota in the last 16. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.