December 10, 2022

Twenty-three-year-old Carlo Paalam, the youngest member of the national boxing squad, is expected to be one of the mentors of future Filipino Olympians after his historic silver medal win in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Paalam, who won his first boxing match at age seven back in Cagayan de Oro, is hoping to win a gold medal in the 2024 Paris Olympics while fellow Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial, who won a bronze medal in the middleweight division, is expected to have already joined the professional league under the Manny Pacquiao Promotions.
Paalam’s story as a young scavenger at a landfill in CDO before he was encouraged by his neighbor to join the popular “Boxing at the Park” has inspired young Filipino athletes to continue believing in their dreams to become Olympians despite the difficulties they are experiencing now.
Paalam, who is a senior high school at the University of Baguio, became a member of the national boxing squad in 2013 when he was 15 years old. He opted to continue his studies at UB while the national squad members held training at the Baguio Teacher’s Camp.
He was not frustrated when he did not win a medal in 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia in 2017. Instead, he persevered in his training that won him two bronze medals at the IABA Youth Asia and World Championships in 2018 at age 18.
He also clinched gold medals in the ASTANA/President’s Cup in Kazakhstan in 2017, 10th AIBA International Boxing Tournament, and 1st Thailand International Boxing Tournament in 2018.
Two years after his frustrating SEAG campaign, he took home his first SEAG gold medal in the 2019 SEAG hosted by Manila.
Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Paalam, together with fellow silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, joined the national boxing squad training bubble in Laguna even without an assurance they will qualify for the Summer Games.
Paalam and Petecio eventually secured spots for the Olympics through the International Olympic Committee-Boxing Task Force “by virtue of their highest standings in their respective weight categories.”
From scavenging for scrap metals to help feed his family, Paalam is expected to receive at least P17 million in cash rewards, house and lot, and free flights following his silver medal win in the Olympics. – Harley F. Palangchao