Overall, boxers received favorble draws.

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2000

SYDNEY-U.S. boxers received favorable draws in all but one weight class Thursday, increasing hopes for a strong showing.

Only world heavyweight champion Michael Bennett will have to fight a strong Cuban fighter before the medal rounds. He could have one of the most anticipated matches of the Games, against Cuba's Felix Savon, in the quarter finals, if both boxers win their early bouts.

"Overall I thought that the draw that we got was pretty good," said Head Coach Tom Mustin. "There are some weight classes that are a little tougher than others, but our athletes will have to face the best somewhere along the way on their way to getting the gold."

Bennett won his world championship after Savon was pulled from his finals bout when Cuba protested a decision in an earlier bout in which a Cuban lost. Savon is a six-time world champion, and is trying for his third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

"I was very disappointed when I wasn't able to face Savon at the World Championships," said Bennett. "I mean who doesn't want to knock the lion off of the mountain? He is a legend in amateur boxing and I have a lot of respect for him. But there is only one winner for every bout."

Light middleweight Jermain Taylor of Little Rock, Ark., will be face Dimitriy Usagin from Bulgaria on Tuesday, September 19 in the evening session. Taylor who has a 14-2 record internationally could follow in 1996 light middleweight David Reid's footsteps should he win the gold medal. Reid was the sole gold medal winner at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Super heavyweight Calvin Brock received a difficult draw. Even though he is in the opposite bracket of the Cuban giant Alexis Rubalcaba, he will have face both Paolo Vidoz from Italy in the first round, and then Russia Alexei Lezin prior to even meeting the Cuban. The super heavyweight bout will be on September 23 in the evening.

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