Warren, Yanez, Andrade earn Olympic berths with worlds wins

Updated: October 31, 2007, 11:41 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Rau'shee Warren overcame a sore shoulder and bloody nose to earn another trip to the Olympics.

Warren beat Violito Payla of the Philippines 25-11 on Wednesday to make the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Championships, earning him a spot in Beijing next year in the flyweight division.

"Beijing, here I come -- that's all I can say," Warren said.

When he competes in the 2008 games, he will become the first American boxer since Davey Lee Armstrong in 1976 to participate in two Olympics.

Warren was just 17 and the youngest member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing team when he traveled to Athens in 2004 and lost in his first match.

Eschewing a professional career, Warren now has a chance to get what he says he's always wanted.

"For me to come back to the Olympics and get a gold medal. Like in 2004 that's what I wanted and now I'm back to get it," he said.

"You do all the talking to the promoters and managers and it's all good. But it's not good enough if you don't have the gold medal," he said.

Two other Americans won a berth in the Olympics on Wednesday: light flyweight Luis Yanez, who overwhelmed Stephen Sutherland of Australia with the referee stopping the fight in the second round; and welterweight Demetrius Andrade, who pounded out a 26-6 decision over Magomed Nurudinov of Belarus.

Another winner in the round of 16 was U.S. super heavyweight Michael Hunter, who won a close 19-13 decision over Jasem Delavari of Iran. Hunter, whose father was a professional boxer, still needs one more win to quality for Beijing. And to get it he'll have to beat imposing Russian Islam Timurziev, who had an easy night Wednesday when Azar Mammadov's corner threw in the towel in the first round.

"I'm not even worried about it," Hunter said. "He's just another person. He bleeds just like us."

The top eight finishers in the light flyweight to light heavyweight divisions and the top four from the heavyweight and super heavyweight classes qualify for the Olympics

Wearing an American flag draped over his shoulders as he came into the ring, Warren came out quickly, scoring four points in the first 30 seconds and going up 9-1 after one round. But somewhere during those opening two minutes he hurt his right shoulder

"I didn't even tell the coaches, I didn't want them to panic," Warren said. "I just kept moving and staying on my toes and scoring points. ... My right shoulder was just hurting. I don't know. I guess the hook I was throwing was strong. ... I hope it's just a short pain for today and I can fight until the medal round."

Warren led 13-3 after two rounds and 19-7 after three as Payla closed in and became aggressive, drawing some blood from the American's nose.

"I was using my energy and trying to keep the blood from coming down," Warren said. "I can't just hold it up. I kept wiping it on my glove and I'd gladly wipe it on him."

Before the event even began, Warren predicted he'd make the finals of the World Boxing Championships. He needs two more wins to do that.

"I'm older now. I know what's in front of me," the Cincinnati native said. "Anybody you look past, you can lose to. I look at everybody the same. They're here for the same reason I am."

Yanez, who won his previous bout by walkover, was more than ready for the competition after sitting around his hotel room and running through some of Chicago's streets to let out some of his energy.

He went up 6-2 after Round 1 and then surged ahead 17-3 in the second. After back-to-back standing eight counts against Sutherland, the referee stopped the bout with 18 seconds left in the second round.

"I'm happy. I'm in," said Yanez, from Duncanville, Texas. "My first goal was to qualify and my second goal is to get the gold."

Yanez said he'd sparred with Sutherland previously and knew when to attack.

"I threw a hook and he was hurt. I stepped back and took a deep breath. ... I got him again and the referee stopped it," he said.

Andrade stared Nurudinov down in the first round and then used a right uppercut and left hook to get two standing eight counts against his opponent in taking an early 9-0 lead.

After the lopsided bout was over, Andrade gave Nurudinov a little shove to move him away.

"I didn't know what he was trying to do. So I just kept it moving," Andrade said. "Then he got close enough to me like he wanted to fight me. So what I do is back him off me."

Andrade, who said he was head-butted during the bout, had swelling under his right eye and was being examined by a trainer after the fight.

"He was doing stuff I feel isn't in the books," Andrade said.

In other news, officials announced that Ihab Al Matbouli, the Jordan heavyweight who collapsed in the ring from fatigue during one of the final bouts Tuesday night, had rejoined his team after all tests taken at a Chicago hospital were negative.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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