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(BEIJING, CHINA) – Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) was eliminated from the 2008 Olympic Games on Saturday at the Workers Indoor Arena in Beijing, China, falling to Mongolia’s Serdamba Purevdorj in an 8-7 nail biter.
Yanez opened the bout with a commitment to his jab, popping it in Purevdorj’s face in an attempt to keep the Mongolian from coming in. Despite the active jab, both boxers remained relatively cautious, not wanting to give their opponent an opening. Yanez scored the first blow, but trailed by a 3-2 margin after two minutes of action. He was held scoreless in the second round, while Purevdorj added one scoring blow to his slim margin. Yanez came out firing in the third, throwing a furious flurry in the opening minute of the round to take a 6-5 lead. Yet Purevdorj evened the score before the round ended and the two boxers went into the final round deadlocked at six. The two boxers exchanged ties and leads during the fourth round before Purevdorj moved out to a two-point lead in the final minute. Yanez pressed the Mongolian, looking to regain his advantage, and he pulled with one late in the round, but he couldn’t even up the score and lost the 8-7 final decision.
“This is most tournament of my life. Before I came up here, I talked to my dad and he told me just go in there and do everything you can, and that I’m in his heart and I feel like I let him down,” Yanez said. “I went in there and gave it my all, and I think I should have won this fight. It was definitely an experience. I’m facing the top guys in the world. The best guys in the world, and I want to give a big thanks to God because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be in this position today.”
“We had a game plan going into the bout. We wanted him to box, but the main thing we wanted him to do was to get up early and get up first,” Olympic Head Coach Dan Campbell said. “We wanted him to engage early. We knew he had faster hands and more power. We wanted him to engage the guy and get up by three and make the guy have to come to him."
Middleweight Shawn Estrada (E. Los Angeles, Calif.) was the first U.S. boxer to compete in the Olympic Games, but seven of his teammates have taken the ring at the Workers Indoor Arena since his opening bout, two of them twice. The 23-year-old California native endured a full-week break between his first and second round bouts, and he finally made his return to the ring on Saturday, facing off with Great Britain’s James Degale. He hoped to give his daughter a victory as her third birthday present, but fell short, losing an 11-5 decision.
The week-long hiatus appeared to hinder both boxers as they spent the first round, circling each other and neither landed a scoring blow. Both Estrada and Degale picked up their output in the second, but Degale got the better of the action and led 3-1 at the halfway mark. Degale doubled his point total in the second, and managed to maintain his three point lead. Estrada faced a 6-3 deficit as the fourth round began. He looked to press Degale and chip away at his three-point advantage, but was unable to dent the deficit and Degale won an 11-5 final decision. “I had a bad day, but this is the Olympics and there’s no such thing as bad days in the Olympics,” Estrada said. “I did everything I could do, but it was a four round match and he came up the winner. This is not the end of Shawn Estrada. You are going to see a lot more of me. I just want to say thank you to all my supporters back home from East LA and happy birthday to my daughter. It’s her third birthday today.”
Olympic Head Coach Dan Campbell wanted to see Estrada be more active in his match-up with Degale. “I thought he was a little bit too cautious and waited too much. He didn’t let his hands go the way we wanted him to,” Campbell said. “We really wanted him to throw a lot more combinations and move to his right. He didn’t do that, and the other guy seemed to follow his game plan a lot better than Shawn did.”
Welterweight Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) and heavyweight Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) will kick off quarterfinal competition on Sunday at the Workers Indoor Arena. 2007 World Champion Andrade, who already boasts two victories at the Olympic Games will face Korea’s Jung Joo Kim at approximately 8:45 p.m. Wilder will compete in his second bout of the tournament on Sunday as well, battling Morocco’s Mohammed Arjaoui at 9:30 p.m. As there are less heavyweights in the Olympics, Wilder only had to win once to advance on to the quarterfinals. A victory in Sunday’s competition guarantees each boxer a spot in the medal rounds.