BEIJING - If his first fight on the way to a hoped-for gold medal in boxing was any indication, Demetrius Andrade should receive a medal for patience.
The Providence native was never in real danger of losing to Kakhaber Jvania of Georgia during his 11-9 victory in the first round of the welterweight division Sunday at Workers' Gymnasium.
However, the fight was filled with grabs and clinches as the Georgian attempted to frustrate the lefthanded Andrade. Still, Andrade advanced to fight 32-year-old Andrey Balanov of Russia Thursday in the second round of the field of 32.
"He pretty much just prepared me for everybody else," said Andrade, a 6-foot-1-inch, 152-pounder bidding to become the first American to win a gold medal in the weight class since Mark Breland did it in 1984 in Los Angeles. "I fought him in the world championships [Andrade beat him, 22-11, last year in the first round] and he did the same things; that's why I try to go to the body a lot to try to slow them down. Nobody here wants to box me. So I will have to slug it out."
The fight opened with the usual feeling-out phase until Andrade, the top welterweight in the International Amateur Boxing Association, landed a left to score the first point. He quickly added the second with a left body shot that knocked Jvania back to the corner post. After the first period (there are four, two-minute sessions), though, Andrade led only by 2 points. He believes another concern is how the judges will score his bouts during the tournament.
United States coach Dan Campbell noted his corner could not see the scoreboard monitor after one period.
"I'm never a nervous person," said Andrade, the 2007 world champion. "I just have worries with the surroundings and the judges. I don't think the score was fair. They do what they do, and I got to do what I got to do. So far so good."
During the second period the action picked up a bit until a series of clinches occurred again. It got so rough, Andrade was pushed down with 1:16 left. But the 20-year-old recovered with a stiff right to Jvania's face, giving him a 4-2 lead at the halfway mark.
Early in the third period, Andrade scored 2 quick points to take a 7-2 lead, but the Georgian was not going away as he attempted to draw Andrade into a brawl by claiming the next 2 points.
"That's how it's always been," said Andrade. "I hit him with a good punch. He felt it. He wanted to try to come back and get me, but I put up my hands and locked up and stayed busy. If it comes, it comes."
Andrade landed a jab for an 8-4 lead, then finished the third with a flurry to lead, 10-6.
He played it safe in the fourth, avoiding contact by controlling the tempo and moving well. "I have four more fights to bring the gold to Providence, R.I.," Andrade said.