Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam wins silver medal in Tokyo 

Carlo Paalam shows off his Olympic silver medal on the Philippine airlines flight back home to Manila. | Photo courtesy of PAL

FILIPINO boxer Carlo Paalam has finished his Olympic campaign with a silver medal in men’s flyweight.

The 23-year-old Paalam bowed to Galal Yafai of Great Britain via a 4-1 split decision in their final bout on Saturday, August 7, at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.

Despite landing some early shots on Yafai, Paalam went down in the opening round after a left hook to the chin and received the standing eight count. The Pinoy boxer managed to recover, but Yafai still got the nod of all five judges.

In the last two rounds, Paalam went toe-to-toe with Yafai but the latter kept him at bay, earning the favor of four judges in the end, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.

“Simbolo kasi ‘yon ng buhay ko po (This is the symbol of my life),” said Paalam, referring to the Olympic silver, which was made from recycled electronics.

“Kasi ‘yon nga po, nangangalakal lang po ako [dati] tapos may connect siya sa buhay ko — sirang gadgets po [gawa] tapos binuo (Because it’s like that, I was once a scavenger, and this has a connection to my life — [the medal] was made from discarded gadgets),” he added.

Paalam, who used to pick up trash to help his family, is set to receive at least a total of P17 million for his silver finish — P5 million each from the government through Republic Act 10699, from Manny V. Pangilinan through the MVP Sports Foundation, and Ramon S. Ang, and P2 million from House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero.

He will also receive free flights from airline companies such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia.

Paalam, the youngest in the Philippines’ Olympic boxing team, joined weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, as well as fellow boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial in bringing home medals for the country.

As it stands, the Philippines has bagged a total of four medals in the Tokyo Games — one gold from Diaz, two silvers from Petecio and Paalam, and one bronze from Marcial.

This surpassed its three-medal haul during the 1932 Los Angeles Games courtesy of swimmer Teófilo Yldefonso, boxer Jose Villanueva, and high jumper Simeon Toribio.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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