Hangzhou, China—Fighting in a heavier weight class, Carlo Paalam still lived up to his Tokyo Olympics pedigree as he mauled Jordan’s Mohammad Jajeh Abu in their opening bout at the 19th Asian Games here on Tuesday.
Evading the longer reach of a much-taller foe, Paalam got the nod of the judges after three rounds in a unanimous 5-0 victory in the men’s 57kg round of 32 at the Hangzhou Gymnasium here.
“Sobrang tangkad nya sa akin, kaya nag-stick lang ako sa game plan namin ng mga coaches ko,’’ said Paalam, whose chief objective here is to clinch a spot in next year’s Paris Olympics.
Opposite Abu, he was compelled to fight smarter in the ring and threw punches only when necessary.
Paalam got a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 51kg. But that weight class was removed from the Paris program next year.
The boxing finalists at the ongoing Asian Games offers slots to the glitzy French capital.
The national boxing team here is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“Pagsikapan ko talaga ang makapunta sa Paris. Gawin ang best every laban. Baguhan ako sa timbang na ito, so mabigat at malakas ang galaw dito,’’ said Paalam, a flyweight bronze medalist during the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia.
“Adjust ako dito dahil mahahaba ang mga kalabaan at sobrang galing din. Matalino din sila maglaro,’’ added the 25-year-old pride of Talakag, Bukidnon.