Coaches confident Paalam can win Olympic gold

Coaches confident Paalam can win Olympic gold

TOKYO – For Carlo Paalam, a long, tough journey away from home comes down to one fight for all the marbles in the Tokyo Games.

And boxing coaches firmly believe Paalam is primed to go for the gold with all the work he put in training.

TRACKER: Carlo Paalam at the Tokyo Olympics

“He’s prepared to go for it,” said Don Abnett, the Australian coach who’s been with the Filipino boxers in their Olympic buildup, counting those long months in Thailand.

“(I expected him to be in this position) because of his performance, his attitude towards the training, his performance in the training. He’s put in a lot,” Abnett added.

He pointed to Paalam’s conquest of reigning world champion and Rio Games gold medalist Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbek in the quarterfinals as a big indication of his readiness for the big fight.

There’s also Paalam’s showing against his sparring body in Thailand Thitisan Panmod — the Thai bet who’s supposed to be a medal contender here but failed to make it because of an injury suffered in a freak accident in a tune-up with the Filipino.

In the finale here, Paalam is up against a familiar foe in Great Britain’s Galal Yafai.

“Basado ni Carlo yan dahil naka-sparring niya yan,” said coach Rey Galido, referring to a tune-up for an aborted World Series of Boxing card in London two years ago.

With Yafai advancing, Paalam avoided a clash with Kazakh Saken Bibossinov who beat him during the Olympic qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan.

But the Pinoy pug could be ready against anybody as he’s shown in putting away Irish Brendan Irvine, Algerian Mohamed Flissi, Zoirov and Japanese Ryomei Tanaka.

“Ready yan,” said Ronald Chavez, the other man who will be with Abnett in Paalam’s corner in the gold-medal bout.

“Naihanda sila para lumaban hanggang sa huling laban. At tiwala ako diyan dahil matalino lumaro,” said Galido.

To fight from the opposing corner is an Olympic veteran from a famous fighting family in Birmingham. Yafai has improved from his Round of 16 finish in the Rio Games, and he’s also raring to go all the way to win the gold.

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