TOKYO — Plans are afoot for a boxing gym that will be named after Olympic Games silver medalist Carlo Paalam to rise in Cagayan de Oro City in the next few months.
The facility will be built inside a 10-hectare property owned by the city government in Lumbia, some 10 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital, and is a project of CdO Mayor Oscar Moreno, on whose weekly Boxing in the Park an 11-year-old Paalam first cut his teeth and later underwent training with national coach and former Southeast Asian Games campaigner Elmer Pamisa.
Ed Picson, secretary-general of the Alliances of Boxing Association of the Philippines, said Sunday that the boxing venue, to be constructed beside a nearly-completed three-story multi-purpose building that would house provincial athletes, will be named ‘Carlo de Oro gym,’ as per Moreno.
While no official partnership has yet been struck between the CdO city government and ABAP, or the MVP Sports Foundation, Picson bared that Moreno and boxing chief Ricky Vargas has had initial talks that could lead to an area of mutual cooperation on the project.
“We hope to train our national boxers there once the gym is built since many of our young boxers are from the Visayas and Mindanao,” said Picson.
Al Panlilio, president of MVPSF, said he will provide an update soon on whatever arrangement is being planned regarding the CdO project.
“MVPSF has been in CdO matagal na kasi the son of Mayor Oca is with me — Jang Moreno. He’s been with me with Meralco and MVPSF,” said Panlilio in a message.
Pamisa, a multi-medal SEAG winner, spoke in passing about the projected boxing gym in the morning after Paalam’s gold medal bout with Great Britain’s Galal Yafail, saying he was told about it by Mayor Moreno’s son, lawyer Oscar ‘Jang’ Moreno Jr., the MVPSF Community Sports and Youth Development head.
Taken by Pamisa off the streets where he used to trade for subsistence whatever recyclable materials he could scavenge years ago, Paalam, whose conquest in Tokyo included beating a 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist in the quarterfinals and a hometown boy in the semifinals, had considered the boxing coach as a second father and fought to have Pamisa included in the boxing team to the Olympics.
“Parang papa ko na si Coach Pam,” said Paalam during a zoom press conference arranged by Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino where both boxers and coach choked on tears when they talked about the almost familial bond between them.
“Pinilit ko talagang makakuha ng medal dito para sa kanya,” Paalam added.