Boxer's golden dream ends with unexpected early loss
Rau'shee Warren had talked about how he would drape his gold medal around his mother's neck. He talked about becoming Cincinnati's first Olympic boxing gold medalist.

Instead, when his first-round fight at the Beijing Olympics ended Tuesday, Warren was sobbing into the arms of a USA Boxing spokesperson and saying, "I want to go home."


The 2007 flyweight world champion suffered a shocking first-round loss to South Korea's Oksung Lee. The 9-8 decision left Warren dejected and perplexed. U.S. boxing coach Dan Campbell said Warren exclaimed, "You mean I lost?" when the fight ended.

It was a crushing setback for Warren, 21, who lost in the first round four years ago at the Athens Olympics. This time, Warren was brought down by his own confusion about the score at the end of the fight. It was closer than expected, causing Warren's camp to suggest a peculiarity with the way the match was scored.

"I'm almost speechless," Campbell said. "Some things you never want to say, so I won't. But it was just weird the way the scoring went. Every time Rau'shee would score, somehow this kid (Lee) got points also. I don't know."

The bout was tied after each of the first three rounds, and Warren trailed 8-7 with just more than a minute left in the fourth and final round when he landed a punch to tie the score at 8-8. Almost simultaneously, Lee registered a point to move back ahead 9-8.

"I felt like I should have been up after every round," Warren said. "I felt like it wasn't the right scoring. To come this far and lose in the first round, it ain't right. It doesn't seem real to me."

Neither boxer made much of an effort to land a scoring punch in the final minute because they both apparently thought they were winning. Instead of attacking Lee to try to even the score, Warren moved around the ring, avoiding his opponent.

"I was confused why he stopped," Campbell said. "We were screaming for him to throw punches, but he was looking up the stands, and they were telling him to move."

Warren said he was looking at his friends in the stands at Beijing Workers' Gymnasium and thought they were telling him to "get happy," giving Warren the impression that he was winning. Only in the final four seconds did Campbell's message resonate that Warren needed to land at least one more punch.

Desperation did little to save Warren's gold-medal hopes because the buzzer soon sounded as Lee's fans rejoiced. Warren, meanwhile, walked over to his corner and threw out his mouthpiece before tearing off his headgear and flinging it out of the ring.

"I came this far to lose in the first round again," Warren said. "It should be the right scoring, and it should be fair to everybody. I felt like a lot more punches should have been scored."

Warren had become the first American in 30 years to box in consecutive Olympics. He said afterward that he would turn pro, without ever having won an Olympic match.

Although Warren's loss certainly was unexpected, Lee figured to pose a challenge for Warren when the first-round draws were made last week. The Korean beat Warren in 2005, when Lee won a world championship.

"I beat him three years ago," Lee said. "I was a little bit worried about the bout, but I think I'm psychologically good. I enjoyed the match, and I won."

Dustin Dow writes for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The NABF arrived in Dallas Texas Tuesday with a very special gift for members of the Dallas Police Department family. At the annual convention in Washington D.C. this year, proceeds from the auction were designated to go to the Assist the Officer Foundation.  This was done soon after the killings of 4 Dallas officers and one transit officer by a sniper. President Duane Ford and Secretary JoAnna Aguilar, along with other local members, Laurence Cole, Deborah Hawkins, Don Griffin, and Oren Shellenberger, were there to present the check to ATO President, Mike Mata, and our own WBC and NABF judge - and Deputy Chief of Police - Jesse Reyes.   

The police officers present were given medallions and our heartfelt thanks for their continued service during these difficult days.


Photo: Laurence Cole, Deb Hawkins, Duane Ford, Jesse Reyes, Don Griffin , JoAnna Aguilar, Oren Shellendberger