(LONDON, ENGLAND) – The 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team appeared to face an end to their medal run on the men’s side with apparent losses by flyweight Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) and welterweight Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) on Friday. Yet following a protest by the United States, Spence’s decision was overturned and he will advance to the quarterfinal round. Warren, who made history before throwing a punch in London by becoming the first three-time U.S. Olympic boxer, lost a one-point decision to France’s Nordine Oubaali in his London opener.
The 25-year-old Warren lost his opening first bout at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and he stepped into the ring looking for his first-ever Olympic win in London, but it wasn’t meant to be for the decorated amateur boxer. Warren took the early lead in the bout, boxing his way to a 9-6 lead after the first round. Yet Oubaali began to come back in the second, pulling the bout to within one after the second round. Warren, who lost both contacts during the bout, tried to hold on to his tenuous lead in the third, but he wasn’t able to do so and Oubaali won a 19-18 final decision. The loss ends an outstanding amateur career for Warren, who owns every piece of Olympic-style boxing hardware other than an Olympic medal. He came back for a third run at Olympic glory in the hopes of accomplishing his dream of placing an Olympic gold medal around his mother’s neck but it wasn’t meant to be for the Cincinnati native.
“I came out in the first round really strong, throwing combinations. In the second and third rounds, I was kind of sitting on my shots, waiting for one shot so I could catch him coming in and try to drop the big left hand and hurt him and work off that but that didn’t work,” Warren said. “After the first round, I was kind of flicking the jab and delivering one shot instead of three or four shots and I guess that’s what cost me the fight, he was more aggressive. I was just trying to land my shots and deliver them with power.”
Spence wasted no time getting started in his bout with India’s Krishan Vikas, staying busy and aggressive through all nine minutes of boxing. Yet Vikas took a 4-2 advantage after the first round. Spence continued to press the action in the second round, peppering Vikas with combinations despite the Indian’s constant movement. Although Spence was the much more active boxer in the second round, Vikas held on to a one-point lead after the second. The American boxer picked up his output even further in the third round while Vikas held throughout the last three minutes. Spence’s efforts weren’t enough for the five judges and Vikas was initially named the winner on an 13-11 decision.
“I felt I needed to be aggressive because he was the favorite. He was the top seeded boxer, so I know that the judges see that,” said Spence. “He’s more known than me internationally so I felt that I needed to be aggressive and pick up the pace and throw more shots and I thought I landed more shots than he did. “It was kind of frustrating, but he was fighting to the computer system so I’m kind of used to that because I was the aggressor. I kind of switched the game plan up and I adjusted well.”
Yet following a United States protest of the bout result, the Competition Jury hearing the appeal ruled in Spence’s favor, noting two different rule violations that should have added four points to the American’s point total. For the full details, see the AIBA release below. Spence will return to the ring for quarterfinal action on Tuesday in a bout with Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia.
Women’s boxing will open action on Sunday with lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) taking the ring in afternoon action. Flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will compete on Monday following a first round bye.
114 lbs: Nordine Oubaali, FRA, dec. Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, 19-18
152 lbs: Errol Spence, Desoto, Texas/USA, dec. Krishan Vikas, IND, 15-13 (following protest)
Rau’shee Warren Quotes
“I thought I had the decision, but overall you don’t know what they are counting and what they are scoring. It’s a bit disappointing, coming for my third time and losing in the first round. As you can see, I feel that this isn’t my lane anymore, going to the Olympics and trying to bring a gold medal on the United States.”
“He got the decision, I thank everybody back home for supporting me. This isn’t the end of Rau’shee Warren. My journey is going to continue, I’m going to stay hungry no matter what I’m doing.”
“Stuff happens in the ring as far as you don’t know what the judges are scoring. It might look to the person on the outside of the ring, it might look like a person is winning the fight. But to the judges who have been doing it for years, they like to score a lot of things – jabs, hooks, body shots. You never know what they are scoring. There wasn’t any pressure on me, I just went out there and did my thing. I came out there really explosive in the first round and took the first round 9-6 and then tried to sit down on my shots.”
“It’s always a good experience to do something that isn’t normally done like me being the first American boxer to go to the Olympics three times. It isn’t a setback for me. I still have a lot of head for me. I’m going to put this behind me, learn from it and take it to another level.”
“My headgear kept going down over my eyes and my contacts fell out in the first round and when they fall out, I have to wait for my opponent to get a little closer so I can throw my shots. It always happens, even in training. I get hit and my contacts come out and it will be really blurry.”
“In Beijing, I felt like I won that fight. I felt like I did enough to win. In this fight, I put a lot of that on my shoulders in not letting my combinations go and trying to deliver big shots. I was trying to set up off the jab but I was kind of rushing my shots. I feel like I didn’t let anybody down because I was chasing a dream that I’ve had since I went to my first Olympics in 2004. By coming here for the third time, it shows people that I didn’t give up on my dream. My mom and I will have to talk about getting something else, maybe a world title in the pros.”
“I didn’t give my whole life, I just gave my dream to the Olympics but I have a lot of life ahead of me. This is just another step to success. Working off this mistake and figure out what I’m going to do next. I’m getting ready for my next journey.”
Errol Spence Quotes (prior to the bout being overturned)
“I thought I threw more punches and landed more shots and was the more aggressive boxer. I thought I won, and the coaches and the crowd thought I won but the judges didn’t think so.”
“Yes, I thought they announced me the winner.”
“This was a once in a lifetime experience being at the Olympics and I will cherish this experience no matter what happens. The guy from India is a good fighter, I take nothing from him and wish him the best of luck.”
“Of course, it’s disappointing because we hate to lose and expect to come home with medals and we didn’t. We’re kind of sad right now, it’s kind of a sad day. I’m more sad than anything right now, I felt like I let down a lot of people. My family and people that are at home.”
“I gave my everything in the ring so I’m not going to hang my head low too long but there’s nothing I can do about that decision.”
“You just have to use angles, throw punches and adjust to what he’s doing. I thought I had a high guard too and I thought I was landing punches between his shots too. He’s a good fighter, I take nothing from him.”
“My style is just to be really aggressive and throw a lot of punches, I’ve always done that.”
“I thought I scored more than two punches in the first round but I’ve seen it before, there’s nothing you can do.”
Errol Spence Quotes (Following the decision)
“I am obviously thrilled that my the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win. I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.”
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee