Attacking like the heavyweight champion he was named for, featherweight Rocky Juarez powered past a 1996 Olympic champion and into the Olympic boxing semifinals.
Juarez, a 1999 world champion, landed 23 scoring blows in the final two rounds and stopped Somluck Kamsing of Thailand on the 15-point rule (31-16) with eight seconds remaining in the 125-pound bout today.
It was a sensational performance by the 20-year-old, 5-foot-3 boxer from Houston, whose first name is Ricardo, but who has a middle name of Rocky because his father admired Rocky Marciano.
Juarez became the third American to advance to the semifinals. All semifinalists are assured at least bronze medals.
Jermain Taylor, of Little Rock, Ark., was to box Adnan Catic of Germany at 156 later today. He was the last American to have a shot at the semis.
Ricardo Williams Jr., of Cincinnati, who boxes at 139 pounds, and 119-pounder Clarence Vinson, of Washington, D.C., also have reached the semifinals.
Juarez will box a Russian, while Williams and Vinson will box Cubans in the semifinals.
The Cubans have six boxers in the semifinals, with one to box later today. Three other Cubans lost.
One of them was 6-foot-8 super heavyweight Alexis Rubalcaba who beat up Mukhtarkhan Dildabekov of Kazakstan in the first round before Dildabekov turned the tables and thrashed Rubalcaba 25-12.
Left Jab Comes Through
Juarez led Kamsing 6-2 after one round, but the Olympic champion closed to within 8-7 after two rounds.
Juarez’s left jab began working in the second round and, he said, “The coaches told me to keep throwing it. They said, ‘This time [the third round] move some more, but throw it.’ It worked today. It set up my right hand, my body shots and all the rest of my punches.”
Kamsing took a 11-9 lead third before Juarez unleashed eight straight scoring blows to the head and took a 19-3 lead at the end of the round. The American jumped all over the Thai in the fourth round.
The Thai team coach, Juan Bautista of Cuba, claimed Kamsing is not in top shape.
Williams Wins, Navarro Loses
The 19-year-old Williams outpointed Russian Alexandre Leonov 17-12 at 139 pounds today.
Another 19-year-old American lost in the afternoon. Jose Navarro of Los Angeles was outpointed 23-12 to Jerome Thomas of France at 112 pounds.
“I think I was a little off today,” Williams said. “I don’t know what took me so long to get off, but I got the victory and I’m happy to be moving on to the semifinals.”
The left-handed Williams fell behind 7-6 in the third round, when Leonov landed the last three scoring blows. Then American got untracked in the third round when he landed seven straight scoring blows to build a 13-7 lead.
Some observers thought the third round of Navarro’s bout was shorter than the 2-minute limit, but Navarro saw no problem with the round.
Navarro closed to within 14-11 late in the third round, but then Thomas dominated the final 2 minutes.
“He was slick, I give him a lot of credit,” Navarro said. “He beat me, so he’s better than myself. He proved that today.”
Vinson won his quarterfinal match Tuesday. He now will box Guillermo Rigondeaux Thursday night. Williams will box Diogenes Luna Friday night, and Juarez will box Russian Kamil Dzamalutdinov, also Friday night.