Middleweight Andre Dirrell will meet China's Ha Dabateer in the second match of the Olympic boxing tournament, according to the draw announced Friday.
Dirrell, a well-regarded fighter from Flint, Mich., will be the only American in action at the Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall when competition begins Saturday. Light heavyweight Andre Ward, another top medal prospect, drew a first-round bye.
The 283 fighters in 11 weight classes were randomly paired in the draw, which produced at least one outstanding early matchup: Heavyweights Alexander Alekseev of Russia and Odlanier Solis of Cuba will meet Wednesday in a rematch of last year's world championships final, won 18-15 by Solis.
Alekseev and Solis are strong medal favorites -- good news for American heavyweight Devin Vargas, who will fight Morocco's Rachid El Haddak in the first round.
Ward caught a similar break when Russia's Evgeny Makarenko was paired with Cuba's Yoan Pablo Hernandez in the second round Thursday. Makarenko and Ward are considered the world's top amateur light heavyweights, with Hernandez not far behind.
Rau'Shee Warren, the United States' 17-year-old light flyweight, will meet medal favorite Zou Shiming of China on Wednesday, while super heavyweight Jason Estrada will face Ma'afu Hawke of Tonga.
American lightweight Vicente Escobedo will meet Colombia's Jose David Mosquera on Monday, and flyweight Ron Siler will face Bradley Hore on Tuesday. Hore was disqualified from the Australian team four years ago in Sydney for failing to make weight.
Light welterweight Rock Allen of Philadelphia also received a first-round bye. American welterweight Vanes Martirosyan will face Algeria's Benamar Meskine on Sunday.
Najah Ali, Iraq's only boxing representative, will fight North Korea's Hyok Ju Kwak on Wednesday. The 4-foot-11 light flyweight has an American coach, and he trained with the U.S. team earlier this year.
George H.W. Bush Speaks
Former president George H.W. Bush told members of the U.S. team Friday that winning a medal isn't as important as representing their country "with class and dignity."
Bush, who is leading the official American delegation to the Games, gave a pre-Olympic pep talk and mingled with the athletes for more than an hour at the team's practice facility at the American College of Greece.
"You do make your country proud," said Bush, who was accompanied by his wife, Barbara, and their granddaughters, Barbara and Jenna.
"Over the next two or three weeks, you're going to stand before the world wearing our nation's flag," Bush said. "It doesn't matter if you, yourself, are the medal winner. What matters is that you represent yourself, your sport and our great country, with class and dignity, come what may."
Archer Cornelia Pfohl of Germany, who is 30 weeks pregnant, was 18th in Thursday's ranking competition. The four-time Olympian is believed to be the first woman to compete in the Games while in her third trimester.
She was in the early months of pregnancy with her 3-year-old daughter, Mara, at the 2000 Sydney Games, where she won a team bronze medal.
A pregnant woman on the medal podium is hardly new. American platform diver Juno Irwin of the United States, who won a bronze medal in 1952, was in her fourth month of pregnancy. . . .
Ihor Pashchuk, a light welterweight from Ukraine, won't compete here after failing a medical exam before Friday's weigh-in. Boxing officials didn't disclose the reason for Pashchuk's failed physical. . . .
Jamaican sprinter Steve Mullings, who tested positive for a banned substance at his country's national trials, may still compete in the Olympics, a team official was quoted as saying by a newspaper Friday.
Mullings was in Jamaica and will know by next week if he may run in the sprint events, Jamaican track and field manager Lincoln Eatmon said, according to the Gleaner in Kingston.
"We have until Aug. 17 to make any changes to the team," Eatmon was quoted as saying.