By Nitz Arancon
MAYOR Oscar Moreno led the city in welcoming 20-year-old Cagayan de Oro boxer Carlo Paalam who won the bronze medal in the recently concluded Asian Games in Jakarta Panebong, Indonesia.
Moreno encouraged Paalam to continue his boxing career and not to mind his defeat to eventual champion Sachin of India.
“Taas pa ang imong (Paalam) ma-abot,” Moreno told Paalam during a press conference to welcome him last Friday.
In the same press conference, Moreno advised Paalam to, instead, set his eyes on the oncoming qualifying boxing game in Japan next year because this game serves as a preparation for the Olympic Games in 2020.
Paalam expressed dismay for failing to win the silver media at the Asian Games but Moreno said he still gave the city pride for winning the bronze medal.
In an interview with Philboxing.com, Paalam said his mind was off the game.
“I was stressed,” said Paalam in Pilipino. “I left the money in my bag but when I went back to my hotel room after beating Mnatsakanyan, it was gone. I felt really bad because I wanted to give it to my family.” Paalam said despite the stress, he fought Sachin on even terms until the last round. “I thought I was ahead,” he continued. “But my mind was not on the fight. Sachin is a good boxer but if we face off again, I know I’ll beat him.”
He presented the bronze medal to reporters who attended the press conference.
Paalam, who used to scrounge garbage at the old city dump site in Upper Carmen, thanked Moreno for supporting his boxing career that started when Moreno was the governor of Misamis Oriental.
Paalam is the first Cagayan de Oro boxer to win the gold medals at the 1st Thailand Open International Boxing, World Series Boxing in Russia, ASBC International Boxing Tournament in Kazakhstan, and bronze medal at the World Boxing Championship in Uzbekistan. (with reports from philboxing.com)