Chris Downs advances in Olympic bid


Chris Downs advances in Olympic bid

But American must face Cuban tomorrow

Christopher Downs TKO2 Patricio Pitto... Light heavyweight Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) made his debut at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Port of Spain, Trinidad by stopping Argentina's Patricio Pitto in the second round. Downs let his hands fly early and often in the light heavyweight preliminary round battle. He enjoyed an active first round, trapping Pitto in the corner and unleashing combinations multiple times in the first round.

The bout was tied at three at the end of the first, but Downs continued his strong boxing in the second. He slowed his pace slightly, but continued to look for openings and released powerful shots.  “I wasn’t able to get onto my toes the way that I wanted so I had to sit down and rely on mostly power punches today and it got me through,” Downs said. “My defense was still a little sloppy. Sometimes I would admire stop and admire my work because I knew I was catching him with some good shots.”

Downs built up a 6-4 lead toward the end of the round before unleashing a right hand that dropped Pitto to the canvas. The Argentine was clearly hurt by the punishing right hand, but tried to regain his feet. The referee immediately called a halt to the contest, giving Downs the stoppage victory at the 1:46 mark of the second round. “I knew it was a good shot. It was a good punch, right above the eyebrow where the temple area is,” he said. “I was about to come with a second combination but I saw that he was already going down so I stepped back and the referee stepped in. I thought they were going to let it continue and I was going to jump right back on him and not give him a break, but the referee stopped it.”

USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Dan Campbell was joined in the corner by his assistant coach Basheer Abdullah and felt that having Abdullah in the corner helped to calm Downs’ nerves. “He was a little jittery the last couple days so I thought it would be better to put Basheer (Abdullah) in to work his corner and give him the instructions,” Campbell said. “As soon as he found out the Basheer was going to work up, he actually settled down in the dressing room so we are trying to do whatever it takes to get these guys qualified.”

Downs will face Cuba’s Julio de la Cruz Peraza in quarterfinal round competition on Friday, and has high hopes for his next contest. “I feel confident; it was a competitive bout (between Colombia and Cuba), but I like my chances,” he said.