Carlo Paalam needs to make choice in Olympics bid | Inquirer Sports

Carlo Paalam needs to make choice in Olympics bid

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:15 AM October 05, 2023

Carlo Paalam vs Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan in the Asian Games boxing quarterfinals

Carlo Paalam vs Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan in the Asian Games boxing quarterfinals. –POOL PHOTO

HANGZHOU, China—Carlo Paalam has gotten a taste of the literal tall odds he would need to face more on the road to Paris.

Bombing out of the 57-kilogram class in the quarterfinals of the 19th Asian Games boxing competition, Paalam is thinking of sliding back to his old 51-kg division where he snared a silver medal in the last Olympics—and where he has a better shot at making it back there next year.


He must make up his mind fast, as the clock is ticking with the World Qualification Tournaments for Paris set early next year.


“The weight I’ll be competing in at the world qualification depends on my recovery,’’ said Paalam in Filipino after world champion Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan ushered him out of the medal round with ease here on Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old pride of Talakag, Bukidnon, was simply shorter than the aces in his division.

“You just saw my opponents here. They are all taller than me. But I have no regrets, I did my best in every fight,’’ said Paalam.

In less than four months, the first 2024 World Qualification Tournament will happen in Busto Arsizio, Italy, on Feb. 29 to March 12 where four Olympic slots will open up.

The medalists in the next world qualifier on May 23 to June 1 is set in Bangkok, Thailand, which will be the last chance for the Olympics.

Using his speed, Paalam notched wins against Jordan’s Jajeh Abu in the round-of-32, before prevailing over Uulu Seiitbek of Kyrgyzstan in the next round.


But speed alone couldn’t kill a foe like Khalokov.

Paalam was the bantamweight champion in the 2022 Asian championships in Amman, Jordan, and won two golds in the Southeast Asian Games—this year in Cambodia in the same division and in 2019 Manila as a flyweight.

He seemed satisfied with the adjustment he made so far at featherweight, a division completely alien to Paalam.

The bantamweight category, a division Paalam is comfortable in, isn’t in the Olympic program in the French capital next year, leaving him with only two choices—the 51 kg where he had a great run in the Tokyo Olympics, or in the 57 kg.

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And Paalam is under the gun in making a choice.

TAGS: Asian Games, Boxing, Carlo Paalam

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