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Errol Spence Team USA’s Only Hope In Boxing

There was a time when boxing was a premier sport of the summer Olympics, and the United States usually trotted out the most dynamic team. Those days are long gone, crystallized by what has taken place – or not taken place – in the London Games.

Were it not for a decision reversal, Team USA boxers would have come back to America with just five total victories and nothing close to a medal.

Now, with this reprieve, maybe Errol Spence can give the United States a modicum of Olympic success. A few hours after the U.S. men’s boxing team thought it was done at the Olympics, amateur boxing’s governing body decided Spence deserved to fight on.

AIBA overturned Spence’s loss to Indian welterweight Krishan Vikas late Friday night, five hours after the defense-minded Vikas had apparently clutched and grabbed his way to a 13-11 victory.

After the American team protested the result, AIBA’s competition jury reviewed the bout and ruled Vikas had committed nine holding fouls in the third round alone. He also intentionally spit out his mouthpiece in the second round, which should have resulted in at least four points of deductions.

And so, Spence advanced into the quarterfinals to face Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy on Tuesday. If he wins, the American men’s team will avoid leaving the Olympics with no medals for the first time ever.

“I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win,” Spence said late Friday night. “I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.”

Spence felt he had won the bout afterward, expecting his hand to be raised in the ring, ending a U.S. boxing losing streak of eight bouts in a row.

He got it the round-about way, and now has a chance prevent America from being shut out of medals.

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