Paalam hangs tough after nearly blowing big lead | Inquirer Sports
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Paalam hangs tough after nearly blowing big lead

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 04:04 AM July 27, 2021

Ireland’s Brendan Irvine (red) and Philippines’ Carlo Paalam fight during their men’s fly (48-52kg) preliminaries boxing match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Buda Mendes / POOL / AFP)

TOKYO—The message got mixed up somewhere during the break between the first and second rounds.

One of the coaches told Carlo Paalam that the score of his match against Ireland’s Brendan Irvine in the Tokyo Olympics men’s boxing flyweight preliminaries was 5-0.

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The problem was, they didn’t say who was ahead. And although it was obviously the Cagayan de Oro-born boxer, who had used effective and pinpoint counterpunching to go through his foe like a wolverine on a rodent, nobody made it clear to Paalam.

“Carlo was told the score was 5-nil and he thought it was 5-nil the other way,” coach Don Abnett said. “He threw caution to the wind and when he started to trade punches, that allowed his opponent to get back into the fight.”

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While his misplaced aggression helped build an early lead, it came at a cost. He bartered precious staying power for it and was visibly near-spent in the last round and a half.

Somehow, he found a way to summon everything he had left inside him.

“You saw how I was really tired, but I just kept punching because I really wanted to win for my family, for [Team Philippines],” Paalam said, still gasping long after the match had ended.

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“I’m thankful that I won my first bout,” he added. “Even if it was close, you saw I really gave it whatever I had left in me.”

Part of Paalam’s motivation was the fact that he had trained too hard for this moment to let it slip away.

“I went through a really long training only to lose?” he said. “I just poured it all.”

“We were reading each other. We were measuring each other. But in the last round, I gave everything I had left.” INQ

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TAGS: Boxing, Carlo Paalam, PH Tokyo 2020
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