HANGZHOU – Eumir Marcial is now the only man standing for the Philippine boxing team in the 19th Asian Games. Carlo Paalam failed to join his fellow Olympian in the semifinals after losing to reigning world champion Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan in their 57 kg quarterfinal bout Tuesday night at the Hangzhou gymnasium.
The 25-year-old Paalam gamely engaged the cocky Khalokov for three full rounds, but the Uzbek proved the better fighter between the two in their first meeting together.
Khalokov fashioned out a dominant 5-0 win. Paalam’s loss left Marcial as the only Filipino boxer to reach the podium and has a shot of battling for the gold and an automatic berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics when he sees action on Wednesday in the semifinals of the 80 kg class against Syrian Ahmad Ghousoon.
Although humble in defeat, Paalam remained defiant.
“Ubusan kami ng talino sa ring talaga. Sobrang ganda at happy ako sa laro ko,” said the Tokyo Olympiad silver medal winner.
Paalam moved up in weight from 54 to 57 kg – his natural weight according to him – where he is fighting for the first time.
“Blessing din sa akin kasi hindi rin ako basta-basta sa kanila, takot din sila,” he said of his opponents in what had been a stacked featherweight division.
“Ginawa ko yung best ko. Wala akong pinagsisihan. Hindi ako nadismaya sa sarili (ko) kasi ginawa ko yung best ko, pinag-laban ko yung flag ng Pilipinas.”
Paalam also fell short of duplicating his medal feat during the 2018 Asiad in Palembang, Indonesia where he bagged a bronze in the flyweight class.
The World Championship is next for Paalam where he seeks to gain a ticket to the Paris Olympiad.