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Molina, Russell win at boxing worlds, near Olympic qualification

CHICAGO -- Light welterweight Javier Molina and bantamweight
Gary Russell both advanced in the World Boxing Championships on
Friday, continuing an almost perfect run for United States
fighters.

"This team can beat anybody," coach Dan Campbell said. Just
one U.S. boxer had been eliminated from the competition by Friday
afternoon.

Molina used his superior reach to jump out to an early lead
against Azerbaijan's Emil Maharramov. By the second round he had
built up a 19-5 lead and ultimately beat the 2005 bronze medalist
27-10.

The 17-year-old Molina needs one more win to qualify for the
Beijing Olympics.

"I came in here thinking I could win this whole thing," said
Molina, who added that he strives to be like boxers Roy Jones Jr.
and Oscar de la Hoya, who built a reputation for themselves in the
Olympics.

Russell, gaining a reputation as a heavy hitter, came out
swinging against Peter Moyshenzon of Israel, knocking down his
opponent within the first thirty seconds of the match.

Russell has broken both of his hands in the past, so he took
some of the power off his punches after the first round. He still
managed to outscore his opponent by twenty points in the second
round, winning the match 21-1.

He said qualifying for the Olympics would not be enough.

"I got to go all the way," he said.

He'll face France's Ali Hallab in the next round. Hallab, who
shared bronze with Russell at the 2005 World Championships, also
put together a dominant performance on Friday, defeating
Turkmenistan's Allaberdy Ishankuliyev 20-0.

The tournament continued without incident after Thursday's
report that three athletes, two Ugandans and one Armenian, were
missing after leaving their teams.

Edwards Akora of Uganda, who lost a light welterweight bout
against France's Alexis Vastine on Friday, said his teammates
"never gave an indication" they were going to leave. He added
that perhaps they had moved on to "greener pastures."

The top eight finishers in the light flyweight (106 pounds) to
light heavyweight (178) divisions and the top four from the
heavyweight and super heavyweight classes will qualify for the
Beijing Olympics.

Chicago is hoping to use the World Boxing Championships as a
boost in its bid for the 2016 Olympics. The city didn't get the
championships until May after it was pulled from Moscow.

In the night session, heavyweights Eichin Alizade of Azerbaijan,
Ukrainian Denys Poyatsyka and Russian Rakhim Chakhkeiv stopped
their opponents, but Olympic bantamweight runner-up Worapoj
Petchkoom didn't fare as well.

Petchkoom lost to Hungary's David Oltvanyi.

The third-ranked Alizade, the world runner-up in 2005, needed
just 15 seconds to beat Deivi Julio Blanco of Colombia.

The others at least worked up a sweat.

The fifth-ranked Poyatsyka drew a loud "Uk-raine!" chant when
he stopped Latvia's Eduards Krasnevics with a blow to the head in
the second round, and the hard-hitting Chakheiv stopped Aruba's
Evan Nedd with a shot to the head in the second round.

Eleventh-ranked heavyweight Clemente Russo of Italy outpointed
the Czech Republic's Lukas Viktora 17-6, while Montegro's Milorad
Gajovic beat No. 13 Vedran Dipalo 22-12.