(CHICAGO, ILL.) – Flyweight Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) officially made history on Wednesday, becoming the first U.S. boxer since 1976 to go to two Olympic Games with a 25-11 victory over the Philippines Violito Payla. Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) had to wait over a week, but he enjoyed a successful debut, winning a second round stoppage over Australia’s Stephen Sutherland. The victory guaranteed Yanez a berth in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, bringing the U.S. total to three..
Yanez was familiar with his Australian opponent having sparred with him during training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He used that experience to his advantage in the short bout on Wednesday. Yanez opened the bout slowly, picking his shots and building a 6-2 lead at the end of the round. Yet he took over in the second, catching Sutherland with hard shots to build a double-digit advantage one minute into the round. A strong hook pushed Sutherland back and caused the first of three standing eight counts. He continued to land powerful punches and upon the third standing eight count, the referee stopped the bout with 18 seconds remaining in the round. Yanez was leading by a 17-3 margin at the time of the stoppage.
“I was catching him with my left and my right hook. In the second round, I just walked him down and threw punches. I threw a hook and he was hurt, so after that, I took a step back and took a deep breath and said watch this,” Yanez said.” I got him again, and the referee stopped it and I’m just getting ready for the next bout tomorrow.”
He will face the Philippines’ Harry Tanamor in quarterfinal action on Thursday.
Warren opened the bout quickly, landing several hooks in the first round to take a commanding 9-1 lead after one round. His pace slowed slightly in the second, but he continued his strong defense and enjoyed a 13-3 lead at the halfway mark of the bout. Warren continued to control the contest in the third round of action, dictating the pace and extending his lead to a 19-7 margin. Payla came charging in the fourth round, looking to trap Warren on the ropes and score, but he couldn’t dent Warren’s lead and he went on to a 25-11 final decision to claim his second straight Olympic berth.
Warren battle face familiar foe, Georgy Balakshin of Russia in quarterfinal competition on Thursday.
Luis Yanez quotes
“It actually went pretty well just like I expected it. I came out in the first round, just checking him and seeing what he was going to do.”
“I know him, he sparred with me and I know him pretty well. I went in there, did what I had to do and get the W. His style was the same.”
“I was telling myself that I have to watch those points, I was just countering those punches and making sure I didn’t give up any points. I was keeping my hands up and going.”
“I know that he keeps his hands down, every time he gets finished punching, he always keeps his hands down. I knew if I land a good body shot, always come back up and it won’t fail.”
“I have quite a few tough bouts left, the guy from China, the boy from Hungary and the guy from France came up to me and said he’s ready for me but I have something for him.”
“My mind is my greatest strength and that’s always going to be there. I have speed and power and that’s something that he couldn’t handle.”
“I’ve been antsy waiting to box, I’ve just been in my room, trying to lay down. I was ready to box, every time I hit that heavy bag, I thought this is him so it was like I was in the ring. Hard work pays off. “
“We aren’t only Romo fans, we’re Cowboys fans.”
“I feel happy, I’m there. My first goal was to qualify, my second goal is to get that gold and that’s what I’m out for. I wouldn’t be disappointed (if I didn’t win gold), I would just know what I have to work with. If I lose, I would have to look at the tape, see what I did wrong and know I’ve qualified and I’ll be back for him.”
Rau’shee Warren quotes
“After the first round, I hurt my right shoulder. I didn’t tell the coaches because I didn’t want them to panic so I keep moving, staying on toes and scoring points. He was coming and I knew I had to keep moving.”
“My hooks were scoring, every time I caught him, I was counting, that’s one, that’s two, that’s three. My straight punches were working also but he just kept coming. I thought I have to keep him off me but I knew he wasn’t scoring.”
“I try to get my points real early and make him play catch up. When they play catch up, they start coming forward and putting pressure.”
“This is something I was dreaming about, qualifying with the rest of my teammates. We still have a couple people that we need to qualify, Demetrius and Michael Hunter. We are waiting on the two of them to qualify.”
“When I was little, I never thought there was another country, but now I’ve been across the world, seeing new places and meeting different people. Beijing, here I come.”
“I hurt it in the first round, the coaches asked me did I hurt my shoulder? I told them I didn’t hurt it and just kept using it.”
“This is boxing, if you don’t see anything wrong with me, evidently I’m not getting touched.”
“My next opponent will be the Russian; this is our third time boxing. The first time was in his country. When we fought in the last worlds, I got the victory, then I moved on to the medal round and I came out with the bronze. He knows what’s coming to him tomorrow.”
“When I see him I smile and he gives me his fight game look.”
“It was bothering me, but I tried not to show it too much because I didn’t want my coaches to change my game plan. They asked me if I was getting tired and I said, yes, tired of hitting him.”
“The last time I fought him was the 05 World Championships.”
“I feel like this worlds is easier because I’m older now and I know what’s standing in front of me. You can’t doubt anyone that got this far, everybody is on the same level. They are here for the same reason I am, to represent their country.”
“As you can tell, I was smiling as I went back to my corner because I can join my teammates already going to Beijing. We will still be there for the ones that didn’t make it; they are still part of our team.”
“I feel that if you train hard as you can in the ring, you won’t have to worry that there was something you could have done.”