MANILA, Philippines – Preparing for the Olympics was not an easy task, so much so that Carlo Paalam had to face every possible style during training camp for the national team in Thailand.
Paalam is a slugger by trade, but he knew he had to acclimate to different stances and fighting styles if he was to elevate his game in time for the Tokyo Games.
“We had a lot of training partners here in Thailand, different styles, orthodox and left-handed,” Paalam said in Filipino. “I learned a lot from them”.
Paalam, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and Asian Games bronze winner, admitted that he was never a person to religiously watch tapes of potential opponents because he is aware that fighters will often change styles when the time comes to the fight.
However, he is aware that experiencing things first hand is a faster way to learn and that is what he achieved when he and his teammates Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno trained in the hitting hotbed.
“I am a slugger but I can change my style and I admit that I do not see the fights of my opponents because I know that everything can change during the fight,” said Paalam. “I can use the distance especially if I face a strong opponent, but I still prefer to keep the fight in the middle of the ring.”
An Olympic rookie, Paalam said he is like a child who anticipates a big event and is ready as always for his first chance on the world stage.
The 23-year-old Paalam qualified for Tokyo due to his world rankings in the flyweight division and was surprised that he earned a spot, especially after the AIBA Olympic Boxing Qualifying Tournament was canceled due to the pandemic of COVID-19.
“I’m excited for the fights, we are ready,” Paalam said. “We will have to do our best and we have to believe in ourselves. We couldn’t have done this if it weren’t for the Lord’s blessings. “
“Qualifying was really a big part for us because it was what gave us the opportunity to be in this position. We were surprised that we qualified for that and we are thankful to God for this opportunity at the Olympics. “
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