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(BEIJING, CHINA) – Olympic boxing moved into day two on Sunday with two U.S. boxers highlighting the evening action at the Workers Indoor Arena in Beijing, China. Light welterweight Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.) and welterweight Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) both made their Olympic debuts in Sunday’s competition.
Andrade battled Kakahaber Jvania of Georgia in his Olympic opener. The contest was the second meeting between the two as Andrade defeated Jvania in first round action at the 2007 World Championships en route to his world title. The bout was low scoring through the first two rounds with Andrade looking to use his superior speed and defense, and he held a 2-0 lead after the first round.
Andrade held Jvania scoreless through the first three minutes of action before he got on the board halfway through the second round. Yet Andrade looked to control the action and keep the Georgian boxer from landing scoring blows. His efforts earned Andrade a 4-2 advantage at the halfway mark of the bout.
Andrade turned up the heat in the third, taking the action to Jvania and landing strong, hard shots to the head and body. Jvania looked to make the bout sloppy but Andrade kept his composure and enjoyed a 10-6 edge with two minutes remaining.
“I always pick it up. The third and fourth rounds are my rounds,” he said. “I’m going to pick it up so you better watch out.” The 20-year-old continued to outbox Jvania in the fourth, despite the Georgian’s pressure. The aggression didn’t deter the American boxer, and Andrade held on to his lead to win an 11-9 final decision.
“He just prepared me for everyone else. I fought him in the World Championships and he did the exact same thing. I was going to the body a lot, trying to slow him down,” Andrade said. “It was a rough fight, nobody here wants to box me so I guess I’m going to have to slug it out. I’m going to have to do what I do in there.”
Andrade will face Russia’s Andrey Balanov in second round competition on August 14.
Molina opened the night’s action for the U.S. team, facing off with Bulgaria’s Boris Georgiev. The Bulgarian boxer enjoyed success at the 2004 Olympics, defeating U.S. light welterweight Olympian Rock Allen (Philadelphia, Pa.), and he duplicated his feat at the 2008 Olympic Games.
The contest started off slowly with both boxers circling one and other and looking for openings. Georgiev found the mark first and built up a 6-0 lead late in the round.
Molina started off the second round, looking to dent Georgiev’s lead but the Bulgarian’s constant movement and unwillingness to engage prevented the American boxer from accomplishing his goal and he trailed by an 8-1 deficit after two rounds. The third round told a similar tale with Molina stalking the circling Georgiev, but he couldn’t halt his movement and the fourth round began with Georgiev holding an 11-1 advantage. The Bulgarian started the final round wildly but settled down before winning a 14-1 final decision. The loss eliminates Molina from the 2008 Olympic Games.
“I knew what I had to do going in there but I just didn’t do it. I let it get in my head that I felt kind of sluggish and kind of slow. I guess I put that in my head too much,” Molina said. “I wasn’t feeling too comfortable today; I just didn’t feel like myself.”
Despite the difficult loss, Molina was still appreciative of the chance to compete in Beijing. “The whole Olympic Experience, coming out in the opening ceremonies, seeing all the other Olympians, being in the Olympic village, everything about it, has been great,” he said. “I’m only 18 and I got to experience this. It didn’t go how I planned it to, but it was still a good experience for me.”
Featherweight Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) and lightweight Sadam Ali (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will compete in their first round contests on Monday at the Workers Indoor Arena in Beijing. Williams opening bout will feature a match-up with Italy’s Alessio Di Savino at approximately 2:30 p.m. while Ali will challenge Romania’s Popescu Georgian in the evening session at approximately 8:30 p.m.