Md. boxer learns lessons from Rio Olympics experience

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. — Twenty-year-old U.S. boxer Gary Antuanne Russell of Capitol Heights lost his three-round Olympic light welterweight match in Rio in a controversial split decision.

Disappointed that he didn’t win a medal, his friends and family made sure to lift his spirits with a raucous welcome home Wednesday night.

A room-full of his admirers cheered Gary, the second Olympian in a family of boxers. But the young man had on his mind the loss in Rio.

“I feel like I let my people down, came out here with a goal and I didn’t achieve it, ” Russell said. “Knowing that I came home with nothing took a chunk out of my heart,” he said.

But his family, friends and fans would have none of it.

“You didn’t let nobody down,” somebody shouted back as the crowd re-erupted in cheers.

“The way you carried yourself, Gary you deserve the platinum medal, such dignified manner and such class after a horrendous decision like that. You gave us all respect and made us all proud,” said Boone Pultz of Annapolis, a former Cruiserweight champion in the World Boxing Organization.

Gary Antuanne is from a family of boxing champs. All six brothers are named Gary after their father Gary Russell, who trains four of them in the ring. All four have won National Golden Gloves. Gary’s oldest brother, Gary Jr. is currently featherweight champion in the World Boxing Council and a former member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

From the ashes of defeat stir the embers of hope. Gary Antuanne plans to turn pro and he said he’s learned a lesson from his loss in Rio.

“I know that I got to dominate a lot more. I can’t leave it up to the judges. I can’t leave it to where people say, ‘Oh that was a good match, that was about even,’ … I got to push the envelope a lot more. The only way the fight is going to be mine is to guarantee I got the guy on the ground.” Russell said.

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