Red, white, black and blue
U.S. places five more fighters in Goodwill boxing finals
Posted: Friday July 31, 1998 02:10 AM
NEW YORK (AP) - Two-time Olympic silver medalist Juan Hernandez of Cuba earned a spot in the Goodwill Games boxing finals Thursday on a night otherwise dominated by American fighters.
Hernandez, a light middleweight, dominated two-time United States champion Darnell Wilson to gain a 12-1 victory.
"I didn't fight my fight," Wilson said. "I'm going to hear it from my coaches, I've already heard it from my wife."
After losing the first two semifinal bouts, the United States responded with wins in five of its next eight fights.
Michael Evans lost a 3-2 decision to Russian featherweight Andrei Koslovsky in the first fight, before a 13-9 loss by light middleweight Jermain Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, to another Russian, Gaidarbek Gaidarbekov.
"I landed some good shots," Evans said. "But they didn't count."
Two fighters from Fort Carson, Colorado, split their bouts. Olanda Anderson, the top ranked American light heavyweight, picked up a 5-1 victory over Russian Denis Lebedev, while flyweight John Medina was frustrated and bloodied by the awkward style of Kazakstan's Yersin Jailauov in an 11-1 loss.
Anderson will face Isael Alvarez of Cuba for the light heavyweight gold medal.
"Russians are always tough," Anderson said. "The Russians and the Cubans are on the same playing field. They're both technical fighters."
Roberto Benitez, a flyweight from Marquette, Michigan, turned in the best American performance with an overpowering 18-8 victory over Vakhtang Darchinyan of Armenia. The United States' good fortunes continued as featherweight Teaunce Shepherd, also from Marquette, beat Russia's Aleksandr Mitishev 8-4.
Benitez, who turned 18 on Thursday, will take on Jailauov and Shepherd, who lost to Evans for the U.S. Championship, will face Koslovsky. Light welterweight Ebo Elder from Newman, Georgia, edged Russian Dmitri Pavluchenkov 12-11 and will fight Cincinnati's Ricardo Williams, Jr., who defeated Paata Gvasaliya, also of Russia, 12-5.
The card ended with Alexis Rubalcaba of Cuba winning a 11-9 slugfest decision over another Marquette fighter, Dominick Guinn, in the super heavyweight division.
The United States placed fighters in 10 of the 12 Thursday bouts at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Only three of the seven American semifinalists who fought on Wednesday advanced to the final round.
"We're a good team, but we're young," Evans said. "It's a lot of our first times boxing in international competition."
Taylor agreed that the American team that has won 17 medals at these Games has overachieved.
"Everyone was saying that we were only going to win one medal, but look where we are," he said.
Bronze medals are awarded to all fighters who fail to advance to the final round.
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