Carlo Paalam gets Olympic boxing silver in PH’s best campaign yet
MANILA, Philippines — Carlo Paalam used to pick up garbage with his father in Cagayan de Oro to make ends meet.
A decade later, Paalam, now one of the best amateur flyweight boxers in the world, collected his most prized possession yet: an Olympic silver medal.
Paalam came so close to winning the gold but a silver will suffice after fighting his heart out in a stinging split decision setback to Great Britain’s Galal Yafai in the men’s flyweight final at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.
“This medal, this is the symbol for my life,” said Paalam, his voice cracking. I was once a scavenger, and this medal is made from discarded gadgets. It was from trash, so I was able to connect it with my life. That’s where the inspiration to get this came from.”
Paalam showed great resolve after getting knocked down in the first round but he just couldn’t complete the rally, losing by split decision, 4-1.
In desperation mode, Paalam kept going toe-to-toe with Yafai in the last two rounds. He connected several solid blows but failed to hurt Yafai.
After getting the nod in the first two rounds, Yafai wisely coasted in the third and kept Paalam at bay.
The Philippines also wrapped up its campaign with four medalists—led by Hidilyn Diaz’s weightlifting gold—for the first time ever.
At just 23 years old, the future is bright for Paalam, who defied the odds on his way to the gold medal match.
Paalam, who was born in Bukidnon before moving to Cagayan de Oro where he was introduced to boxing when he was nine, knocked out Olympic and world champ Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinal before booting out hometown bet Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinal.