posted on Aug, 18 2004 @ 07:52 PM
ATHENS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - The extraordinary pair of Iraqi light-flyweight Najah Ali and Texan pest controller Maurice "Termite" Watkins survived the
first round of the Olympic boxing competition on Wednesday.
A former world title contender who went to Iraq to kill bugs and ended up taking over the national boxing team, Watkins was watching from ringside
when Ali convincingly outpointed North Korea's Kwak Hyok-ju.
The young Iraqi proved a decent boxer and displayed plenty of stamina, if not the skills of his namesake Muhammad Ali, an Olympic champion in 1960 as
"I'm still a bit nervous and I'm proud," said Ali, a pocket-sized 24-year-old with a boyish face.
"I can't believe this. I'm here and the whole word is watching me. People in Iraq must be jumping up and down.
"I'm a symbol for the Iraqi people, who want freedom and peace."
Next to his boxer, Watkins was just as excited.
"This is probably better than if I had won a world championship," said the outspoken American.
"If he wins another fight or not, he's a winner."
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