And another one! Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam isn’t bidding goodbye to his Olympic dreams just yet. On August 3, Paalam stunned the boxing world by winning over the reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the men’s flyweight quarterfinal Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan, as per CNN Philippines.
The 23-year-old won the match via split decision, and he led in the judges’ scorecard after a headbutt caused cuts on both fighters in the match. This forced referees to put a stop to the match in the second round. Paalam suffered a cut on the forehead and Zoirov was wounded above his left eye. With this win, he’s assured of at least a bronze medal finish, and a chance to go for gold.
“I did not mind the punches I took, I just really wanted to win. My opponent is really good and he has experience too. They said the chances were 50/50, but I just trusted myself and I listened to my coaches,” Paalam said in Filipino.
This isn’t Paalam’s first time to bring glory for the country. Paalam won gold in the 2019 SEA Games, and bronze in the 2018 Asian Games. With his explosive Olympic run, Paalam joins Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial as boxers who’ve secured podium finishes for the country in the 2020 Olympics. The three pugs alongside weightlifting champion Hidilyn Diaz assure the country of at least 4 Olympics medals, making this year the most successful run for the country in Olympic history.
Will Paalam say hello to a gold medal? He’s set to battle against Japanese bet Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinals on August 5. If he wins that match, he’ll have the chance to box for gold and of course, a place in Philippine sports history.