The final American male boxer, welterweight Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas), fell in quarterfinal action on Tuesday at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Spence faced 2009 World Championships silver medalist Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia for a spot on the medal stand, and it was the Russian advancing to the semifinal round with a 16-11 victory.
Spence claimed a spot on the quarterfinal round following a successful protest of his bout against India's Krishan Vikas in the second round. The 22-year-old hoped to use the momentum in his bout with Zamkovoy, which was a rematch from a March bout. Spence won the earlier match-up but he didn't have the same success in London.
The American boxer got off to a somewhat slow start in a tactical first round for both boxers as Spence looked to solve his Russian opponent. Zamkovoy held a 4-3 lead after the first but Spence became more aggressive in the second round, pressing the action against the Russian. Yet it was Zamkovoy holding a 9-7 advantage with one round remaining. Spence came out quickly in the final round while Zamkovoy looked to tie him up and hold throughout the final three minutes. He tried to fight out of the Russian's lock and land shots in the final round but he wasn't able to score enough to overcome his deficit and Zamkovoy won a 16-11 final decision. The loss eliminates Spence, the final male American boxer in contention at the 2012 Olympic Games, from the tournament.
"I started a little bit slow, I could have started a little bit faster then what I did. Overall, he's a good fighter. He was just the better man today," Spence said. "I took me a little while to feel him out. Usually in my fights, I start real slow and feel my opponents out, but today it kind of hurt me."
The two remaining female competitors, flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will compete in semifinal action on Wednesday. Esparza will face reigning World Champion Cancan Ren of China at 1:30 p.m. London time (6:30 a.m. ET) while Shields faces Kazakhstan's Marina Volnova at 2:30 p.m. London time (7:30 a.m. ET).
152 lbs: Andrey Zamkovoy, RUS, dec. Errol Spence, Desoto, Texas/USA, 16-11
Errol Spence Quotes
"I'm using to fighting southpaws. The Indian guy (Spence's last opponent) was a southpaw and I'm used to fighting southpaws at home. You'd always rather fight orthodox guys."
"It doesn't make it difficult (losing after getting a second chance with the protest). I thought I won the fight (against the Indian boxer) anyway so it wasn't difficult. I was really disappointed that I left the tournament the way I did when I fought the Indian boxer. But having a guy be better than me tonight is not a disappointment. He was just the better man and I'd rather go out like that then the way I did against the Indian boxer."
"There was a little bit of pressure there, but it didn't affect me in the ring. I didn't think about it once I was in the ring."
"I plan to come back and help the amateur program in 2016. I'm kind of disappointed that I'm out of the tournament. I'm just glad it was a better guy beating me rather than the way it happened before."
"Fighting international fighters is always unusual because of the awkward style that they have and that made me start out late but I don't take anything from him. He fought a good fight and he was the better man today."
"My corner told me that I needed to throw more punches and stop waiting for him to throw and then I'd throw. Initiate the action."
"I felt more comfortable, I've been more aggressive this tournament. I have an aggressive style, that's just the way I fight. I wanted to come forward and I was trying to figure him out in the first round but I should have picked up the pace and when I did, it was too late."
"Everybody here is tough, everybody here is the best in the world. I didn't feel the pressure, I had a little bit of confidence because I beat him in March so I had a little bit more confidence but he stepped it up a little bit."
"It's a big eye opener but it's kind of too late because I'm turning pro. I got a lot of experience and I'm happy I did because the experience was great. I met a lot of people and I think I gained a lot of fans and hopefully they will follow me."
"I was happy (after the decision was overturned) that I got to fight again and I got a second chance because I didn't want to be known for that loss."
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States' member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).