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Olympic Boxing: Andrade Leads U.S. Team to Next Round

On Thursday, August 14, 2008 welterweight Gold Medal favorite Demetrius Andrade opened the next round of elimination bouts for the U.S. team competing in the Round of 16 against thirty-two year old Andrey Balanov of Russia, who Andrade had previously lost to as a young seventeen year old at the 2005 World Cup.

Following Andrade into the Round of 16 elimination bouts are featherweight Raynell Williams, who faces Khedafi Djelkhir of France later today, middleweight Shawn Estrada and light flyweight Luis Yanez compete tomorrow and Deontay Wilder moves into the Quarter finals on Sunday due to the smaller field in the heavyweight division.

A quick recap of the rest of the U.S. boxing team starts before the first punch was even thrown. Bantamweight Gold Medal favorite Gary Russell, Jr collapsed from dehydration on the Thursday before the weigh-in, trying to shed one last pound and was not able to compete in the Olympic Games.

Light welterweight Javier Molina was unable to cut off the ring as he chased the faster Boris Georgiev of Bulgaria to a 14-1 loss. Lightweight Sadam Ali abandoned his boxing skills and lost to Georgian Popescu of Romania by a score of 20-5.

One of the most crushing blows to the U.S. team was when two-time Olympian and Gold Medal favorite Rau’shee Warren thought he was ahead on points during the last round and did not throw any punches against Korea ’s Oksung Lee.

With only four seconds left in the bout, Warren noticed his coach telling him to throw punches, but it was too late, losing the chance to fulfill his Olympic dream by a score of 9-8.

Andrade, now the last Gold Medal favorite of the U.S. team, came out against Balanov moving well and was more relaxed and confident than in his first preliminary bout.

He utilized the jab to find his range and was the first to score a point with a left to the body late in the round. Balanov pressured towards the end of the round, which Andrade responded to with a short lead left, ending the first round 2-0.

In the second round, the U.S. southpaw used his hand speed, landing with a double hook, uppercut combination that scored. Balanov registered his first point with a straight right. Andrade was able to fight well on the inside and outside, scoring with another combination, utilizing his uppercut on the shorter Balanov and extending his lead to 7-1 at the end of the round.

Andrade kept up his momentum into the third round, really letting his hands go and scoring with straight lefts. In a curious penalty, the referee issued a warning to Andrade for dipping his head down, to which Balanov was awarded two points. Unfazed, Andrade scored a counter right hook to end the round with a score of 11-3.

The U.S. welterweight boxed well through the end of the bout, scoring with a right hook, a one-two combination and another short left, giving him a final score of 14-3.

After the fight, when asked why he was so much more relaxed and confident, Andrade replied, “The first fight I was anxious, trying to get in there and do what I can. I was just so hyped, with my intensity level, I had to go in and do whatever I could. In this fight, I was calm and relaxed; I knew what I was going to do and needed some revenge for the World Cup loss in 2005, which I got.”

With this victory, Andrade will proceed to the Quarterfinals and be back in the ring on Sunday to face South Korea 's Kim Jung-Joo.

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