Paris Olympics

Carlo Paalam aces first test in Olympic boxing qualifiers to open PH campaign

Delfin Dioquino

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Carlo Paalam aces first test in Olympic boxing qualifiers to open PH campaign

PUNCH. Carlo Paalam in action for the Philippines during the 2022 Asian Elite Boxing Championships.

Asian Boxing Confederation

Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam scores a unanimous decision win over his Greek foe to advance to the next round of the second World Qualification Tournament for the Paris Olympics

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam got things going for the national team as he aced his first test in the second World Qualification Tournament for the Paris Olympics in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, May 24.

Paalam claimed a unanimous decision victory over Greece’s Alexei Lagkazasvili in the round of 64 of the men’s 57kg to move four wins closer to joining fellow boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Aira Villegas in Paris.

All five judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Paalam.

Only the finalists in the men’s 57kg are guaranteed Olympic berths, while the two losers in the semifinals will lock horns in a box off for the last Paris spot up for grabs in the division.

Paalam looks to get the job done in Bangkok after exiting the first World Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, last March with a shoulder injury.

Needing two more wins in Busto Arsizio for a return trip to the Olympics, the Tokyo Games silver medalist surrendered in his last 16 bout against Turkmenistan’s Shukur Ovezov to avoid aggravating his injury.

As fate would have it, Paalam will face Ovezov again in the round of 32 on Tuesday, May 28.

Together with Paalam in Bangkok are fellow Olympic hopefuls Rogen Ladon (men’s 51kg), Criztian Pitt Laurente (men’s 63.5kg), and Hergie Bacyadan (women’s 75kg).

Ladon sees action on Saturday against Spain’s Rafael Serrano Lozano, Laurente battles Kazakhstan’s Bazarbay Uulu Mukhammedsabyr on Sunday, and Bacyadan faces Spain’s Dunia Martinez on Monday.

“I think we had a good draw overall,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Marcus Jarwin Manalo.

“These four have very good chance of qualifying here in Bangkok.”

Ladon, who represented the country in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, eyes one of the four Olympic seats up for grabs in his class, while Laurente aims for one of the five spots on the line in his weight category.

Like Ladon and Laurente, Bacyadan also needs to reach the semifinals to punch her ticket to Paris.

“[T]hey should not be complacent because all of their opponents prepared,” said national team coach Ronald Chavez in Filipino. –

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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.