From scavenging to Olympic victory: Filipino boxer Carlo Paalam's humble beginnings

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2021 09:13 AM | Updated as of Aug 04 2021 09:55 AM

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MANILA - Carlo Paalam, who is assured of a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics' men's flyweight, was discovered by a boxing coach when he was scavenging, his father said Wednesday.

Paalam, 23, used to scavenge and make firewood with his father to make ends meet.

"Huli na ako nakaalam na siya'y nakapasok ng boxing. 'Di ko gusto na nagboxing siya dahil maliit siyang bata, galing siya sa kalakal at mahirap ang aming pamilya. Yung mga kailangan sa kaniya baka 'di namin mabigay sa kaniya," Peo Rio Paalam told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(I was the last to know that he entered boxing. I didn't want him to because he was a small child, he used to scavenge and our family was poor. We might not be able to give him his needs.)

"Ang sabihin ko lang kay Carlo, isa siyang mabuting anak at matulungin."

(I just want to say that Carlo is a good and helpful son.)

The Filipino boxer brought glory to his country while enjoying his fights, his girlfriend Stephanie Sepulveda said.

"Hindi lang ako, hindi lang ang pamilya mo, ang Cagayan de Oro, kundi 'yung buong Pilipinas sobrang proud namin sa'yo na nilaban mo, inenjoy mo ang laro," she said.

(We're not the only ones proud of you, not just Cagayan de Oro but the whole Philippines is proud of you for fighting and having a good time.)

"Lagi lang po siya nakangiti, lagi niya sinasabi sa'kin, 'Tiwala lang, walang imposible kay God.'"

(He's always smiling, he always tells me that there's nothing impossible with God.)