By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Carlo Paalam and Junmilardo Ogayre outclassed their rivals to jumpstart their respective title bids in the 74th Strandja International Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Paalam, silver medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, displayed his vast experience by dominating Enver Muzaffer of Turkey, 5-0, to advance to the quarterfinals of the men’s 54kg bantamweight class.
The victory arranged him a duel with Uzbekistan’s Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, who liked routed Irish Dylan Eagleson for a similar 5-0 score.
Ogayre was equally impressive, scoring a referees-stopped contest at the nine-second mark of the second round over Frenchman Riad Labidi in the men’s 57kg featherweight division.
The win set him up a second-round collision with another Uzbek fighter in Abdumalik Khalokov, who thumped Ecuadorian Jean Caicedo, 5-0.
James Palicte, meanwhile, was not fortunate, yielding to German Assan Hansen, 4-1, in in the men’s 63.5kg light welterweight class.
Two more Filipino fighters have yet to see action in Marvin Tabamo and Tokyo Olympian Irish Magno.
Tabamo, who earned an opening-round bye in the men’s 51kg flyweight division, is scheduled to clash with Serbian Omer Ametovic, while Magno is set to tangle with Spain’s Maria Gonzalez Caceres for a quarters berth in the women’s 52kg flyweight division.