Paalam brushes off accidental headbutt vs Uzbek foe: 'Matigas lang talaga ulo ko'

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Carlo Paalam figured in an unintended clash of heads with Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan during their fight in the quarterfinals of the men’s flyweight division in the 2020 Olympics.

Paalam says don't worry, however, as he's simply "hardheaded", and this caused the injury that prompted a stoppage to the match.

TRACKER: Team Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics

"Umi-istraight ako ng tiyan eh kasi tinatarget ko yung body niya. Kasi magaling siya sa ulo magmove," Paalam told Paolo del Rosario of One Sports after the match.

"So [yung katawan] yung part na suntukin ko, ayun nagkasalungat kami. Kasi umi-straight din siya... Matigas lang talaga ulo ko nasugatan siya sa ulo," he added.

The accidental headbutt ended up with both pugs bloodied, but it was Zoirov's cut above the eye that prompted the referee to stop the bout with 1:16 left in the second round.

Luckily for Paalam, he had done just enough in the exchanges before stoppage to hang on for the win, getting the nod of four judges.

Paalam gave the Philippines its fourth medal in Tokyo, making the 2021 edition of the Games the largest medal haul for the country in its history.

He gets a shot to turn the sure bronze into either a silver or gold when he faces Japan's Ryomei Tanaka in the semifinal set Thursday.

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