U.S. Boxers Advance at World Games, But Cordova Out
By Spc. Chris Coleman
Special to American Forces Press Service
ZAGREB, Croatia, Aug. 11, 1999 Army boxers Pfc. Jason Franco and Spc. James Webb won their opening bouts here at the 2nd Military World Games Aug. 10, while the U.S. team lost one of its best to an injury.
The games are sponsored by the International Military Sports Council. More than 8,000 military athletes from 78 countries are competing.
Franco, currently stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., outboxed Cypress' Antonion Christos 10-3 in the 54-kilogram (119 pound) division. He said his jab-straight right combination was the most effective in dispatching his first-round opener.
"I was trying to keep my hands up and get in on him," said the Odessa, Texas, native. He said he usually fights better in the later rounds of competition. Franco is nationally ranked third in his weight class.
Webb defeated Aliyev Ekhtiban of Azerbaijian 12-5 in the 67- kilogram (147 pound) weight class.
Marshall Christmas of Austin, Texas, a 22-year-old soldier at Fort Carson, Colo., lost his opening-round bout to Irish fighter Ronan Maher 2-5. "In the last round, I tried to rush him to get him to open up," Christmas said. "But my defense just wasn't up to par today."
In addition to that loss, the U.S. team learned that Marine Cpl. Orlando Cordova will have to sit out the rest of the tournament. Cordova beat Turkey's Nafiz Yaman 15-6 Aug. 9, but doctors confirmed he injured a tendon in his right hand doing it.
"A lot of guys said they thought I might medal," he said. "There's always 'what if I was healthy,' but there's always next year."
[Spc. Chris Coleman is a member of the Army Reserve 358th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 96th Regional Support Command, Fort Douglas, Utah, assigned to cover the Military World Games.]