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Winner leaves the ring running

8/24/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Fans threw water bottles in disgust and
forced an Egyptian fighter to flee from the ring after a referee
ruled a Greek light heavyweight couldn't continue boxing because of
cuts.

A large partisan crowd at the Peristeri boxing arena came
expecting to cheer Elias Pavlidis to victory, and he was winning
the fight 18-12 in the third round when it was stopped.

The crowd immediately began booing and throwing the bottles --
some half-filled -- into the ring from upper balcony seats. Egypt's
Ahmed Ismail was declared the winner, but left the ring running to
get out of the angry crowd.

Pavlidis was trying to become the first Greek ever to win an
Olympic boxing medal, and would have been guaranteed one had he won
the quarterfinal fight. His fight drew the biggest crowd of the
boxing competition so far, but most fans left immediately after it
was stopped instead of staying around for the night's final bout.