HANGZHOU, China—Carlo Paalam had to fend off another rival with superb length and reach before winning his bout and moving on to the quarterfinals of men’s boxing in the 19th Asian Games.
Trying to chop down an opponent a head taller than him, Paalam’s 4-1 victory over Kyrgyztan’s Uulu Munarbek Seiitbek in the 57kg division put the Filipino Olympic silver medalist closer to another voyage in next year’s Olympics in Paris.
But Paalam, who came from a lighter category before making the jump to a bulkier weight, knows that going deeper into the tournament could only mean a harsh environment ahead.
“I expect my succeeding fights to be more difficult. Our division is filled with smart boxers who are taller than me,’’ said Paalam in Filipino, who likewise cut down to pieces a lanky foe in Jordan’s Mohammed Jajeh Abu in his opening round of 32 bout.
Uzbekistan’s Abdumalik Khalokov, a former world champion, dominated Vietnam’s Van Duong Nguyen, 5-0, arranging the quarters clash with Paalam on Tuesday.
Paalam gained advantage in the first round after hitting Seiitbek with a straight and tagging the current world championships bronze medalist with a left.
Using his longer arms, Seiitbek next engaged Paalam in a thrilling exchange in the second round and came out on top with his aggressiveness.
But Paalam was more clever in the ring, moving from left to right and dropping a straight or a jab while evading Seiitbek’s reach.
“That was our strategy and worked until the end,’’ said national coach Ronald Chavez.
The 25-year-old pride of Talakag, Bukidnon is a victory closer to a bronze medal and two wins away from nailing an Olympic berth.
Only the finalists in Paalam’s division will earn the trip to Paris.