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US boxer Warren loses 3rd straight Olympic bout

Friday - 8/3/2012, 4:54pm  ET

AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Rau'shee Warren lost his first fight at the London Games on Friday night, dropping the first three-time U.S. Olympic boxer to 0-3 in Olympic competition.

The nine-man U.S. boxing team has lost eight straight bouts.

French flyweight Nordine Oubaali edged Warren 19-18, rallying from a first-round deficit with more aggression and precision than Warren, a former world champion. Warren also lost his contact lenses in the opening round and couldn't size up Oubaali, who mostly controlled the final two rounds.

Warren also lost his first fights in Athens and Beijing, but stayed in the amateur ranks to become the first U.S. boxer in three Olympics. Now 25, Warren still believes the wait was worth it.

"It ain't really no setback for me," Warren said, his stoicism contrasting sharply with the anguish he felt after his one-point Beijing loss. "It's always a good experience to do something people don't normally do."

Warren was the third-seeded flyweight in London, but Oubaali picked him apart. Warren was curiously passive, particularly over the final two rounds when he couldn't see well.

Warren still thought he might have eked out the decision, but few fans at ExCel seemed surprised when Oubaali got the decision. Oubaali advanced to the quarterfinals to face Ireland's Michael Conlon for a medal.

"In the second and third, I was sitting on my shots, trying to land a big left hand, but that didn't work," Warren said, outlining a strategy that contrasted sharply with what his coaches asked him to do. "The judges can score a lot of things. You never know what they're looking at."

Warren waited well over a decade for this moment, climbing up the amateur ranks in his native Cincinnati and avoiding the pitfalls that put two of his three brothers in prison. He climbed to the top of the amateur sport _ and then stumbled at the three biggest moments of his career.

He made his first Olympic team as a 17-year-old light flyweight, but lost his opening bout in 2004 to future Olympic champion Zou Shiming. He stuck with the amateur sport for four more years and won a world championship before going to China as a gold-medal favorite.

Warren made an egregious mental mistake late in that opening bout, attempting to coast to a victory in the final minute when he should have been throwing punches. Warren thought he heard incorrect instructions shouted to him by friends in the crowd, and he wept openly after a one-point loss to South Korea's Lee Ok-sung.

Warren again considered a pro career before deciding to make U.S. Olympic history. He fought for the Los Angeles Matadors with AIBA's World Series of Boxing as a semipro fighter to make money to support his two children, with another on the way.

"I feel like I didn't let nobody down, because I've had a journey," Warren said. "Coming back for the third time shows I'm never giving up on a dream."

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