Ruenroeng wins, 3 Americans lose in Olympic boxing qualifier


Former IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand won his first bout Monday at an Olympic qualifying tournament in Vargas, Venezuela.

U.S. contenders Cam F. Awesome, Paul Kroll and Brandon Lynch lost their opening bouts, failing to earn spots at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month.

The 36-year-old Ruenroeng fought at the Beijing Olympics, falling one win shy of a medal. Four years after mounting a successful professional career, he is one of just two moderately prominent pro boxers attempting to take advantage of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) decision to allow pros to compete in the Olympics by jumping into the final qualifying tournament before Rio.

Ruenroeng won his bout in Venezuela against Germany’s Artur Bril, who fights in an AIBA-backed professional league. Ruenroeng lost his IBF title less than six weeks ago when John Riel Casimero stopped him.

Awesome lost a decision to Ecuadorian heavyweight Julio Cesar Castillo Torres, who also beat him at the previous Olympic qualifying tournament in Azerbaijan last month. Awesome is a four-time U.S. national champion and a two-time Olympic trials champion, but he missed his first Olympic shot four years ago when he failed to complete his drug tests while still fighting under his birth name, Lenroy Thompson.