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Tarver comes out slugging

Published Sep. 16, 2005

Antonio Tarver needed a showcase, and he got one Sunday.

"I wanted to show people why I am a world champion and why I'm here," Tarver said after stopping overmatched David Kowah of Sierra Leone in the first round and advancing to the quarterfinals at 178 pounds.

"I wasn't satisfied with my last performance," he added. "I didn't appreciate the boos last time."

In his previous bout, the left-handed Tarver was fortunate to escape with a 5-2 verdict over Dmitri Vybornov, an awkward left-hander from Ukraine.

The 6-foot-2 Tarver forced the much shorter Kowah to take two standing 8-counts and stopped him in 2:43. Kowah had drawn a bye into the second round.

Tarver was the seventh, and last, American to reach the quarterfinals.

Sunday night, David Diaz of Chicago lost a 139-pound bout 14-6 to European champion Oktay Urkal, who became the sixth German to reach the quarterfinals. Urkal also outpointed the left-handed Diaz 19-6 in a U.S.-Germany dual meet May 17.

Maiko Romero, a new face on the international scene, and Hector Vinent, a 1992 Olympic and two-time world champion, gave Cuba its eighth and ninth quarterfinalists. Romero outpointed Lernik Papian of Armenia 22-6, and Vinent dominated Nurhan Suleymanoglu of Turkey 23-1.

Freddy Rojas failed in his attempt to become the 10th Cuban quarterfinalist when he was outpointed 13-9 by Lee Seung-Dee of South Korea in the last bout of the second round. Lee stayed on top of the Cuban 178-pounder like a second skin after trailing 7-5 in first round.

Russia also got its sixth and seventh quarterfinalists, and had boxers on the night card. European champion Albert Pakeev confused Borniface Muluka of Zambia with his left-handed style and won 13-4 at 112 pounds. Edward Zakharov knocked down Canada's Phillip Boudreault twice in the first round, but struggled for an 11-9 decision.