RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL) – Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) traveled to Brazil with one large goal in mind and he accomplished it on Friday, winning gold at the 2007 Pan American Games. Welterweight Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) was forced to settle for silver following a one-point loss to hometown boxer Pedro Lima of Brazil..
Yanez started his championship bout with Kevin Betancourt of Venezuela in the same manner as his first three, with a slow, technical first round. He trailed by a 2-1 margin following the first, but increased his output in the second round, finding the mark when he engaged with Betancourt. Yanez took a 4-2 advantage at the midway point and took control of the bout over the final two rounds. He opened the third round with a strong left hand and continued to add to his lead, taking an 8-4 edge into the final round. Betancourt began the fourth round by applying pressure and pulled to within three, but that’s as close as he would get. Yanez closed the bout and the tournament in impressive fashion, stepping to Betancourt and adding to his point total. He went on to win a 14-7 final decision and Pan American Games gold.
This was my first time boxing himo I didn’t know what he was going to do, but my coach recorded his bout and he told me he was going to lead with his right hand and come with his hook, which he did,” Yanez said. “I expected that so I was trying to counter his hook and I was able to catch him with my left, it was there all day. I have a lot of international experience, I’ve been all over the world and now I’m looking forward to next month and the Olympic Trials. I feel good, when I got my win, I thought, I did it – success. All this hard work that I’ve been working for, everything all paid off here. This is what I was aiming for, now my goal is over and I won the gold medal. “
Andrade stepped into the ring for his bout with Lima to a deafening and hostile Brazilian crowd, supporting their hometown boxer. The first round set the tone for the bout with Lima holding throughout. Andrade looked to break away from Lima’s clenches and land scoring blows, he trailed by a 2-0 margin after the first. The trend continued into the second round, and while Andrade seemed to find the mark, the score didn’t indicate his efforts. He faced a 4-1 lead after the first and pulled it to a 5-3 deficit as the bout moved into the final round. Andrade pressed the action early in the fourth round, using his reach to score and pulling the bout to a 5-5 tie before taking the lead in the final minute. Yet the Brazilian pulled the bout to a 6-6 tie and with the arena in a pandemonium took the 7-6 lead in the final few seconds to win the bout. Andrade will take home a silver medal.
“Going into the bout, it was the same game plan, use the jab, straight left to the body. He was leaning back a lot so I was trying to use the jab and throw the straight left to the body, but every time, I tried to do something, he was holding me. I wasn’t getting my points, I felt like I was hitting him with clean shots that I didn’t get credit for. I came back, and I was up one, the referee said, break, he hit me and they counted that.”
The gold and silver bring the medal total for the United States team to three awarded, with light heavyweight Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) receiving his bronze on Friday. Light welterweight Karl Dargan (Philadelphia, Pa.) will compete for gold on Saturday when he battles Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez Ortiz.
106 lbs/48 kg: Luis Yanez, Duncanville, Texas/USA dec. Kevin Betancourt, VEN, 14-7
152 lbs/69 kg: Pedro Lima, BRA, dec. Demetrius Andrade, Providence, R.I./USA, 7-6