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(BEIJING, CHINA) – Two-time Olympian and flyweight World Champion Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) has waited four years for the opportunity to step through the ropes at the Olympic Games and his wait ended in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday. Warren opened the 2008 Olympic Games in a tough match-up with 2005 Flyweight World Champion Ok Sung Lee of Korea, in a rematch from the semifinals of the 2005 World Championships, in which Lee emerged victorious. The second bout duplicated the first with Lee winning a 9-8 over the reigning world champion.
The bout was close from the opening bell with Warren getting on the board first, taking a 2-0 lead. Yet Lee quickly pulled the bout to a 2-2 tie and the round ended with the two world champions deadlocked at four. The punch output slowed slightly in the second round with Warren looking for openings and landing quick combinations, but once again the round ended with the two boxers tied. Warren came out strong in the third, throwing quickly early flurries but receiving no points for his output. Each boxer scored one point in the third round and they went into the fourth round tied at 7-7. Both boxers came out in the fourth looking to grab the momentum, and it was Lee taking the first lead of the round. Yet Warren came right back to tie the bout at eight. Lee quickly regained the lead, but with the noise in the arena, Warren didn’t hear the shouts from the crowd letting him know he was trailing. The final 40 seconds ticked away and Warren dropped a heartbreaking 9-8 decision.
“I feel like I should have been up every round and every round was tied. I felt like the scoring wasn’t right because I worked so hard for this and to come this far and lose in the first round, it isn’t right. It doesn’t seem real to me,” Warren said. “I didn’t really know (the score) because there was so much going on in the crowd, everybody was yelling and screaming. I was looking at my teammates and it sounded like they were saying move and it also sounded like they were saying fight. I just thought I was up because I was scoring. When I was moving, he was coming forward.”
Olympic Head Coach Dan Campbell was shocked by the early loss of the team co-captain and heart of the U.S. team. “It’s very stunning. The thing we will keep letting the guys know is they will have to try to keep it out of the hands of the judges. Our kids are always young and these guys have been around forever,” said Olympic Head Coach Dan Campbell. “We just have to get out front and stay out front. The hardest part is to get out front from what we’ve seen in the past couple of days.”
Opening round competition of Olympic boxing will finish on Wednesday with two U.S. boxers taking the ring at the Workers Indoor Arena. Heavyweight Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) will be the first to compete, facing off with Abdelaziz Toulibini of Algeria in afternoon action. Wilder’s bout is scheduled for 4 p.m., and will be the first meeting between the two boxers. Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) will be the final U.S. boxer to compete, challenging Jose Kelvin de la Nieve of Spain in evening competition. Yanez’s contest will take place at approximately 7:30 p.m. and will be the first match-up between Yanez and De la Nieve.