MANILA -- Already assured of a bronze in the podium, Cagayan de Oro pride Carlo Paalam seeks revenge against former tormentor Muhamad Redzuan of Malaysia in Friday’s semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games boxing competition at the PICC Forum.
The 21-year-old Paalam broke down in tears the last time he fought with Redzuan in 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEAG where the latter escaped with a “hometown” 5-0 decision despite being badly punished by the Filipino fighter.
“It was a dubious call, our boy surely won that fight and now it’s the perfect time for us to get a revenge,” Paalam’s coach and “father figure” Elmer Pamisa told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
Asked of Paalam’s chances to get past his rugged Malaysian opponent, Pamisa had confidently raised a “100 percent” two thumbs up gesture.
Here to buoy Paalam’s spirit are Mayor Vergito Factura of Talakag, Bukidnon and 29 of his barangay chieftains. They’re around 50 from Bukidnon’s Highlanders of Golden Paradise when Paalam blanked Laos’s Khamp Khamsathune in the light-flyweight category on Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.
“Nadiskubre nako `ning bataa sa barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro then akong gi-introduce kang Mayor Oca (Moreno) aron matabangan. Iyang mga ginikanan nagtanom-tanom (are into farming) sab sa Talakag maong palangga siya sa mga tao dadtong dapita,” Pamisa shared.
Bronze performer in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Paalam expects to deal anew with Redzuan’s chockfull of “dirty tactics”.
The Malaysian is known to turn boxing into a wrestling match, whose primary weapon involves takedowns, headlocks and occasional lacing of his foe’s face in clinches.
“But we’re ready to handle Redzuan’s rough boxing strategy. Carlo will prove it before the Filipino fans,” Pamisa assured.
Also advancing to the semifinals are Josie Gabuco, a three-time SEA Games gold medalist and the 2012 World Champion, as well the country’s female hopefuls Aira Villegas and Irish Magno.
Gabuco manhandled Thailand’s Chutamat Raksat, 4-1, in the first bout of the women’s light flyweight division.
Villegas pounded Laos’s Vilayphone Vongpachan, 5-0 in the women’s bantamweight and Magno did the same opposite Singapore’s Leona Hui Xin Yee in the women’s flyweight category.
Ruel Densing of Cagayan de Oro City Boxing Program said they will monitor Paalam’s fight for silver on live streaming at 3 p.m.
“Ang away ni Carlo ang preliminary sa semifinals and we’re all excited to watch it via TV live here in Cagayan de Oro. Basin ra pud makaapas ang Mayor (Moreno) para suporta kang Paalam diha sa Manila,” texted Densing.