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UPDATED: 08:47, August 19, 2004
China's boxing medal hopeful beats U.S. rival at Athens Olympics
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Chinese light flyweight Zou Shiming outclassed his U.S. opponent Rau Shee Warren on points to gain his first win on the Olympic boxing arena in Athens on August 18 afternoon.

In a first round encounter, Zou, silver winner of the 48 kg category at the 2003 Bangkok World Championships, beat the American by a large margin 22-9 and booked himself a place in the last 16.

He will take on Ethiopian Endalkachew Kebede, who beat Japan's Igarashi Toshiyuki 26-21 on points Wednesday afternoon, in the next round.

"Both Zou and Warren are good boxers and they appeared extremely cautious at the beginning of the match," commented Li Qingsheng, head coach of the Chinese boxing team.

"Zou was a bit nervous and his American rival seemed to be even more nervous," he said. "I am not very satisfied with Zou's speed and attacking resolution on the arena, but anyway, it's a good start for him in such a major tournament."

China, whose best ever Olympic result was a fifth place in the 91 kg heavy weight category at Atlanta 1996, has pinned its hope for the first ever Olympic boxing medal on the 23-year-old Zou.

To achieve that goal, Zou must win at least two more matches.

Warren, only 17, was also one of the Olympic medal hopefuls in the 48 kg before his loss Wednesday.

To date, all six Chinese boxers coming to compete in Athens have played their first rounds, with a not-too-bad result of three wins and three losses. The Chinese boxers are now in the last 16 of the three categories of 48, 69 and 81kgs.

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