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.
_____ More From The Post _____ • 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.
_____ On Our Site _____ • Athens Snippets: NBC is the Greek God of Time.
___ Thursday's Medals Results ___ Archery
• Men's individual
• Women's singles
• Men's team sabre
• 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 _____ • Day 7
• Photo galleries page
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."