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Spence advances to quarterfinals following U.S. protest

The 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team appeared to face an end to their medal run on the men’s side with apparent losses by flyweight Rau’shee Warren and welterweight Errol Spence on Friday. However, following a protest by the United States, Spence’s controversial two-point decision loss to India’s Krishan Vikas was overturned and he will advance to the quarterfinal round.

Warren, the first three-time U.S. Olympic boxer, lost a one-point decision to France’s Nordine Oubaali in his London opener.

Warren’s loss to Oubaali was heartbreaking because it was so close but it wasn’t unfair to the 25-year-old native of Cincinnati, Ohio. Spence’s loss to Vikas was outrageous, even by the Olympic boxing standards. 

Despite being the aggressor and landing the cleaner, harder punches throughout the three-round bout, Spence lost a 13-11 decision to Vikas, who was embarrassed by his undeserved victory.

Outrage was the immediate reaction to Spence’s loss.

Spence’s U.S. Olympic teammate Jose Ramirez tweeted: “@ErrolSpenceJr speechless brotha you won that fight 100%.

“What are they thinking, all that hard work and sacrifices that we do, for 5 judges to control our outcome at the end of the day #ItsBS

Ramirez wasn’t alone in his opinion.

“Spence won by at least 4 pts. No way he didn’t make up a 1pt deficit seeing how he mugged a stationary Vikas for 3min #boxing #olympics” – tweeted Ryan Maquiñana@RMaq28, who covers the Olympic boxing tournament for NBCOlympics.com.

However, following a United States protest of the bout result, the competition jury hearing the appeal ruled in Spence’s favor, noting two different rule violations that should have added four points to the American’s point total.

“I felt I needed to be aggressive because he was the favorite. He was the top seeded boxer, so I know that the judges see that,” said Spence, of Desoto, Texas. “He’s more known than me internationally so I felt that I needed to be aggressive and pick up the pace and throw more shots and I thought I landed more shots than he did.

“It was kind of frustrating, but he was fighting to the computer system so I’m kind of used to that because I was the aggressor. I kind of switched the game plan up and I adjusted well.”

Spence will return to the ring for quarterfinal action on Tuesday in a bout with Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia.

For Warren, who lost his openign bouts at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, his decorated amateur career comes to an end.

“I came out in the first round really strong, throwing combinations. In the second and third rounds, I was kind of sitting on my shots, waiting for one shot so I could catch him coming in and try to drop the big left hand and hurt him and work off that but that didn’t work,” Warren said. “After the first round, I was kind of flicking the jab and delivering one shot instead of three or four shots and I guess that’s what cost me the fight, he was more aggressive. I was just trying to land my shots and deliver them with power.”

Women’s boxing will open action on Sunday with lightweight Queen Underwood, of Seattle, Wash., taking the ring in afternoon action. Flyweight Marlen Esparza, of Houston, and middleweight Claressa Shields, of Flint, Mich., will compete on Monday following a first round bye.

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