Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam (File photo)

MANILA – In his toughest fight so far, Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam went through a wringer on Thursday, turning back Armenia’s Artur Bazeyan in their 57kg encounter to advance in the quarterfinals of the 2nd World Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

The final score reflected a 4-1 decision, but the fight was more of a struggle for Paalam than a breeze, with three judges calling the bout even at 28-all after four rounds.

“Ibibigay ko ang buong best ko para sa Pilipinas kong mahal (I will give all my best for my beloved Philippines),” said Paalam, who was deducted a point in the last round that proved crucial.

“I thought Carlo followed good tactics to win that bout,” said Don Abnett, the Olympic coach of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines.

“He boxed good today, landing good backhand straight punches and lead hand hooks. His opponent used clever tactics to make it appear to the referee that Carlo was holding and a point was deducted in the last round,” he added.

ABAP secretary-general Marcus Manalo explained how Paalam arrived at a favorable 4-1 verdict even though three judges turned in identical scores.

“Carlo won the first round 3-2, and the second round 5-0,” Manalo said. “Even if he loses the third round 0-5, he would still win the bout 3-2. However, he got a point deduction in the last round for holding and he lost that last round 2-3.”

“So, after three rounds, one judge gave it to Carlo, the other one to the Armenian, and it was tied 28-all (because of the deduction) with three judges,” he added.

Manalo said when tied at the end of three rounds, the judges will need to vote on who they think won the bout overall.

“And as expected, those three went for Carlo. So the final score was 4-1 for him. We did not agree with the point deduction though, we thought it was the Armenian who was putting his head down and holding. Nonetheless, Carlo did more than enough to win and to get the nod from the four judges,” he said.

Manalo said tie-break is the official term covering the situation.

“Event regulation says: If the total scores awarded by each judge, including any deduction, are equal at the end of the bout, the judge(s) with equal scores is/are requested to nominate which boxer is the winner of the bout in their opinion,” he said.

The tie-break is required in the following cases: One judge has even scores, and the total scores of the other four judges are evenly split; or two judges have even scores and the other three judges do not score unanimously; or three or more judges have even scores.

The third condition applied in Paalam’s bout.

A return ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris will be within reach for Paalam if he gets past Jose Luis De Los Santos of the Dominican Republic in the quarters on Friday. (PR)