Andrade Targets AIBA Tourney
PROVIDENCE– Fresh off of his thoroughly dominating performance at the US Boxing Trials, where he qualified for the 2008 United States Boxing Team, amateur boxing star Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade has shifted his sights on the AIBA Men’s World Championships, October 23-November 3, at the University of Illinois in Chicago.
Andrade, the No. 1 rated welterweight in the U.S., is the two-time U.S. National Championships and National Golden Gloves champion. The 19-year-old southpaw blitzed the opposition at the US Boxing Trials—defeating in order David Lopez (RSCO-2), Charles Hatley (RSCO-3), Keith Thurman (27-13) and Thurman (21-13) again in the championship bout – to secure a position on Team USA.
All of the members on Team USA, however, need to qualify for the Olympics by finishing among the top eight in The Worlds or by placing in two other International tournaments. “It feels good to be on the team,” Andrade said. “I’ve worked very hard to get there but my goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics. I trained super hard with my father (Paul) and David (Keefe). They prepared me to do well. I knew what I had to do and did it. It was easy.”
Demetrious will soon join his Team USA teammates at training camp in Colorado Springs to get ready for the World Championships, which in many ways serves as a prelude in boxing to the 2008 Olympic Games in China.
With Cuban Erislandi Lara reportedly not competing due to his failed defection at the Pan-Am Games, Andrade’s chief competition at The Worlds figures to come from Russians Andrey Balanov and Ruslan Khairov, although Bulgaria’s top ranked Magumed Nurudinov and Pan-Am Games gold medal winner Pedro Lima, who edged Andrade 7-6 in the championship bout held in Lima’s native Brazil, should also be in the medal hunt.
“I’m going through them all,” Andrade predicted. “No mercy for anybody. After this (World Championships) they won’t want to fight me in the Olympics. I won but lost in Russia and Brazil (due to controversial hometown scoring against Andrade). That doesn’t happen in tournaments like these…..oh, Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield were robbed in the Olympics.”
Andrade believes he’s improved in several ways like sitting down better (on his punches) and taking baby steps forward (rather than rushing in). His jab has been extremely effective but he also realizes that he has to work on some small bad habits to become an even more complete boxer.
All of the hoopla surrounding the Olympics, according to “Boo Boo,” hasn’t changed him because of his strong support system. “It’s all starting to hit me but I don’t feel any pressure,” Andrade concluded. “I keep a tight circle and don’t go around with a lot of people hanging around me. More people seem to know who I am now, but I know what can happen. My father and Dave give me tips about what to do or not to do in and out of the ring. Right now, I’m just getting focused on the World Championships and qualifying to box in the Olympics.”