Two U.S. Boxers Advance to the Medal Round

MIANYANG CITY, CHINA (November 18, 2005) – Youth and talent were on full display at the 2005 World Championships in Mianyang City, China on Friday afternoon. Two tremendous teenagers, 18-year-old Rau’shee Warren and 17-year-old Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) put forth impressive performances in their quarterfinal bouts to move on to the semifinal round and guarantee the United States two medals..

2004 Olympian Rau’shee Warren set the tone in his bout with Georgy Balakshin of Russia. Warren came in with revenge on his mind, looking to avenge a controversial loss to Balakshin at the 2005 World Cup in Moscow in July. The 18-year-old controlled the bout from the start to build a 9-5 lead after one round. The pace slowed slightly in the second round as Warren began boxing and picking his shots but the teenage phenom held a small 14-11 advantage midway through the bout. Yet that was as close as the Russian would come. Warren enjoyed an explosive third round, letting his lightning quick hands fly to build a 22-14 lead with one round remaining in the bout. Warren finished the contest in convincing fashion, adding to his lead to avenge his earlier loss and win a 31-21 final decision. Warren’s win guaranteed him a medal and advanced Warren to the semifinal round where he will face Lee Ok Sung of Korea.

"I feel good, I didn’t get him like I wanted to and like I did in Russia. I think he came in there with a different game plan like trying to stay away from me or counter me," Warren said. In the first fight, when I first saw him, he came out and traded with me and I was killing him bad. I thought I won so I’ve been waiting for this for a long time."

For the second straight night, bantamweight Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) climbed in the ring as Warren stopped out and once again Russell added a second straight win for his U.S. team. Russell faced off with Jordan’s Al Gharaghir I. M. Abrahim in his quarterfinal contest and the 17-year-old took control of the contest early on. Russell held a 5-2 lead after one round and went to work with his stiff jab in th second round, tapping away at his overmatched opponent and utilizing his spectacular hand speed to grab a 15-5 advantage. He continued his onslaught in the third round, building a 17-point lead and coming close to causing the mandatory 20-point stoppage in the third round. Yet the fourth round only delayed the inevitable as Russell poured it on in the fourth, landing powerful shots despite a clock error that added several seconds to the round. Russell went on to win a 34-13 final decision and earn a spot in the semifinal round where he will take on Rustamhodza Rahimov of Germany.

"I figured he would be strong but that I would be able outbox him. I outboxed him, he couldn’t get past my jab," Russell said. "Once I got in the ring with him, I realized he really wasn’t that strong, but I knew he would try to be aggressive."

Welterweight Boyd Melson (Fort Carson, Colo.) hoped to continue the U.S. winning streak in his quarterfinal bout with Cuba’s Erislandi Lara Santoya. It was clear early on that despite Melson’s best efforts, the bout wasn’t going to go his way, and he went into the second round down by an 11-2 margin. The theme continued in the second round as the Cuban seemed to receive points out of nowhere and although Melson kept plugging away, he went into the third round down 20-4. Melson attempted to take the Cuban out of his game plan in the third round but the bout was stopped at the 1:17 mark in the third round due to the 20-point discrepancy rule.

Super heavyweight Mike Wilson (Central Point, Ore.) was the final U.S. boxer to compete in the quarterfinal round as he stepped in the ring for the final bout of the session to take on Roberto Camarelle of Italy. The bout was close in the early going, but Camarelle began to quickly pick up points late in the first round. Wilson went into the second round trailing 9-1 and looked to make a comeback and chip away at Camarelle’s lead. Yet Wilson’s deficit continued to grow through the second round and with thirty seconds left in the second round, Camarelle took a 22-2 lead, causing a second stoppage on the 20-point discrepancy rule.

Warren and Russell will compete in semifinal action on Saturday at 3 p.m. China time.

Article posted on 18.11.2005

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