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Tough road ahead for Paalam


PhilBoxing.com



Carlo Paalam (R) in action against Turkmenistan’s Sukur Ovezov in Thailand.
Featherweight contender Carlo Paalam has three more wins to go before clinching a ticket to Paris but it won’t be an easy pathway as the fights are scheduled one day after another starting today against Armenia’s Artur Bazeyan at the second World Olympic Boxing Qualifying Tournament in Bangkok. If Paalam gets by Bazeyan, he’ll advance to engage the winner of the match between Dominican Republic’s Jose de los Santos and Chinese-Taipei’s Lee Cheng-wei tomorrow. And if he’s still standing, his next bout will be on Saturday.

If Paalam makes it to the semis and loses, he’ll get a last chance to book a pass in a box-off for the third available Olympic slot on Sunday. In Paalam’s weight class, there are only three tickets up for grabs with 63 fighters at the start gate. So far, Paalam has won two bouts convincingly, outpointing Greece’s Alexei Lagkazasvili and Turkmenistan’s Sukur Ovezov both via 5-0 decisions. Paalam bagged a silver in the flyweight 52kg division at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and now, he’s aiming for a second Olympic stint in the 57kg class.

Aside from Paalam, the Philippine team’s other hope for a Paris ticket is middleweight (75kg) Hergie Bacyadan. She eliminated Spain’s Dunia Martinez Mas in her first bout last Monday and will need two more wins to clinch. There are four slots available in Bacyadan’s division so making it to the semis will nail it. Bacyadan’s next fight is against Hungary’s Veronika Nakota on Saturday. If Bacyadan wins, she’ll go for her third win and the Paris ticket on Sunday.

ABAP chairman Ricky Vargas will arrive in Bangkok this afternoon. “Primary goal is to qualify for an Olympic spot,” said Vargas. “My continued best wishes and lots of prayers offered for Carlo’s and Hergie’s success. Let’s go to Paris. Sumbag, Pinoy.” ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo said Paalam and Bacyadan are facing tough opponents but they have the advantages and the key is to work with their strengths. “Hergie needs to get to her range and set up powerful attacks,” Manalo added. “Carlo needs to create attack angles and use his speed to land combinations.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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