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U.S. Boxer Readies for Battle

Friday, August 20, 2004; Page D15

Though Andre Ward's six-year winning streak is still intact, the American light heavyweight now faces his biggest test yet.

Ward, a top U.S. medal hopeful, beat Italy's Clemente Russo, 17-9, to advance to the quarterfinals at Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall. Up next: Russia's Evgeny Makarenko, who has a streak of his own. He hasn't lost at a major international event since 1999.

American light heavyweight Andre Ward, right, beat Italy's Clemente Russo. (Steve Marcus -- Reuters)

_____ Day 7 _____
American gymnast Carly Patterson wins the gold medal in the all-around.
In swimming news, Michael Phelps wins his fourth gold, while Aaron Peirsol and Amanda Beard win golds of their own.
The U.S. men's basketball team starts slowly but comes back to beat Australia, 89-79.
The U.S. softball team remains unbeaten as it rolls to another victory, 7-0, over Greece.
There will be no punishment for the Iranian Judo champion who was disqualified.
The U.S. men's sabre team loses on the final touch twice, just missing a medal.
The U.S. men's water polo team suffers its first loss.
A Greek crew wins the first sailing gold of the Games.

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Sally Jenkins: Give the USA basketball team a break.
Michael Wilbon: Any sport with judging will have accusations, allegations and denials.
After over a billion dollars were spent on security, the only disruptions so far are trivial.
There is little, it seems, that does not excite Kenyan Bernard Lagat.

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___ Thursday's Medals Results ___
Men's individual
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Men's team sabre
Gymnastics (Artistic)
Women's individual all-around
Men's 100kg
Women's 78kg
Men's 10-meter running target
Women's 200 breastroke
Men's 200 backstroke
Women's 100 freestyle
Men's 200 individual medley
Women's 69kg
Men's 77kg

_____ Multimedia _____
Audio: Liz Clarke on gymnastics.
Audio: Mike Ruane on Phelps.
Audio: Paul Hamm's run to gold.

_____ Photos _____
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The Americans finished a 6-1 run through the preliminaries on Wednesday, sending an impressive eight fighters into the second round, with two advancing on byes.

But yesterday, welterweight Vanes Martirosyan lost, 20-11, to Lorenzo Aragon, Cuba's two-time world champion. During the evening session, light welterweight Rock Allen lost, 30-10, to Boris Georgiev of Bulgaria.

Except for the heavyweights, all remaining fighters must win two more matches to reach the semifinals, where a medal is guaranteed.

Tuesday, Ward will fight two-time world champion Makarenko for a berth in the semifinals. Makarenko owns a six-inch height advantage on Ward, as well as nearly nine years of experience in the amateur style.

But Ward, a natural middleweight who bulks up to take on light heavyweights, has power and quickness that have led him to multiple national championships.

"I saw [Makarenko] walk out. He's big," Ward said with a grin. "He's not the first big guy I've fought, though. I've been fighting giants my whole life."

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