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Chinese boxer Zhang Xiaoping wins first fight, into top 16
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Chinese boxer Zhang Xiaoping beat Tunisian rival Mourad Sahraoui in his first appearance at the Beijing Olympics in men's 81kg class in Beijing on Saturday afternoon, presenting a good start for the host team.

Zhang played with tactics on his host ground, with crazy cheerings from Chinese fans overwhelming the Worker's Gymnasium. Tunisian Sahraoui played without fear at his fight, attacking and defending cleverly.

At the first round, the two unfamiliar fighters ploughed around for most of the time, with Zhang taking the lead by 1-0. Both players became active at the second round, the two approached to each other and were often involved in close attacks. However, due to the not-too-strong punching power, both players didn't score.

At the third and fourth rounds, Zhang pulled himself all out by hitting the rival's stomach and head with his right hooks, left swings and combinations, winning two more scores. When fiercely attacked by the Tunisian, Zhang cunningly got into clinch with the attacker, making him unable to continue his attacks.

"I felt ok at this match," Zhang said after the competition:" When we were tied 1-1, I was a bit nervous. But during our ordinary training, we often practice this kind of tying sciamachy, so I knew what I was doing though feeling nervous."

He said the audience's loud cheering ignited his passion. He said he would like very much to win an Olympic medal this time, and hoped his teammates fight well in every match.

Zhang has a waning hope of joining the top 8 crew as his next-bout competitor is a fearful one, runner-up of the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships Russian Artur Beterbiev.

(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2008)

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