Decisive wins put Carlo Paalam, Bacyadan closer to Paris Olympics

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FILE–The Philippines’ Carlo Paalam and Britain’s Galal Yafai fight during their men’s fly (48-52kg) boxing final bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / POOL / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines–Carlo Paalam moved a step closer to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

His ring savvy back in full throttle, Paalam dismantled Turkmenistan’s Shukur Ovezov, 5-0, in the round of 32 men’s 57kg division at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok, Thailand. The Tokyo Olympics silver medalist now stands within three wins of an Olympic spot.

“It will only become more difficult. Everybody wants to be in Paris, so I expect my succeeding fights to become much harder,” said Paalam in Filipino.

READ: Carlo Paalam looks to sustain strong start in Bangkok

Paalam will climb atop the ring opposite Armenia’s Artur Bazeyan in the last 16 on Thursday at the Indoor Stadium Huamark without any respite moving forward as the final boxing Olympic qualifier reaches its climax.

Slipping past Bazeyan, who barely survived Jordan’s Yousef Iashash, 3-2, will send Paalam to a grueling schedule of three straight days fighting for that Paris ticket.

Ovezov forced Paalam into retirement in the first World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy, two months ago after the Filipino suffered a shoulder injury in a previous bout.

“He is no longer bothered by that shoulder and has comfortably regained his form,” said coach Ronald Chavez.

READ: Carlo Paalam opens optimistic PH bid with victory

Hergie Bacyadan likewise kept her Olympic hopes alive with a 5-0 smashing of Spain’s Dunia Martinez in the opening bout of their women’s 75kg clash.

“I felt the pressure upon entering the ring, I was tense. But when I heard the opening bell, I immediately shifted to a fighting mindset,” said Bacyadan.

Bacyadan advanced to the round of 16, where she will face Veronika Nakota of Hungary on Saturday. “Hergie moved better and set up her attacks better compared to her last tournament,” said Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines secretary general Marcus Manalo.

“Hopefully that carries over against better competition in the next rounds,’’ added Manalo. Two more winning fights and Bacyadan will progress to the semifinal where four tickets to the glamorous French capital have been dangled. INQ



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