His journey began inside a run-down boxing gym in southern Dallas.
Now the No. 1 U.S. welterweight boxer, Errol Spence Jr. finds himself fighting for a medal in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympic Games Tuesday night.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience representing your country,” Spence Jr. said. “Making your country at the top, being No. 1 again…that’s a big honor.”
Spence Jr., who opened the Games with a 16-10 victory, advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals after his 13-11 loss versus India’s Krishan Vikas in the round of 16 was overturned. The decision came nearly four hours after the match.
“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 Jr. said. “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.”
The International Amateur Boxing Association unanimously overturned the decision upon reviewing video of the fight after USA Boxing filed a protest. The AIBA ruled the referee should have awarded Spence Jr. four more points, making the score 15-13.
The decision allows Spence Jr. to continue chasing his gold medal dream just like his idol growing up: former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who won gold at the 1988 Soul Olympics.
“Muhammad Ali was an influence for me and I’m glad, happy and overjoyed that somebody else has gained influence from my boxing,” Lewis said. “I wish him the best and I hope he does well.”
The quarterfinal match versus Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy is set to start at 5 P.M. EST.
Josh Blessing is a junior telecommunications major and Alex Kartman is a graduate student studying digital storytelling at Ball State University. They both cover sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Josh, Alex and the BSU team at @JoshJBlessing, @ajkartman, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.