Olympics: How Paalam's win vs Uzbek champion proves he's among elite

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2021 09:33 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2021 10:33 AM

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Carlo Paalam's victory over erstwhile Olympic flyweight champion Shakhobidin Zoirov can be easily considered one of the biggest upsets in Tokyo Olympics boxing.

Fight analyst Nissi Icasiano said Paalam's quarterfinals face-off with Zoirov can be considered a "gold medal match" considering Zoirov's credentials.

"Zoirov is the most decorated opponent he's ever faced in his career. He's not just an Olympian, but the defending flyweight champion. He's the world amateur boxing champion," said Icasiano.

"It was almost as good as gold, because Zoirov was the favorite. Carlo Paalam was the underdog and he flipped the script."

It was indeed a shocking loss for Zoirov.

Paalam, who used to be a scavenger from Cagayan de Oro, scored points with his vicious counters, frustrating Zoirov from effectively landing his combinations.

The fight was halted after an accidental clash of heads that opened a cut in Zoirov's left brow. Paalam, who also sustained a small cut, took the win and secured at least a bronze medal.

"(Paalam) has an underrated skillset that people tend to overlook," said Icasiano.

"He's a well-rounded boxer and he showed that in that fight. It proved Carlo Paalam belongs to the elite level."

Paalam's bronze medal assures the Philippines of its largest medal haul in a single Olympic Games.

Hidilyn Diaz won the country's first gold in weightlifting last week, while Nesthy Petecio claimed a silver in women's featherweight boxing. Middleweight Eumir Marcial is also assured of a bronze after a couple of stoppage victories in the middleweight division.

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