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Selma hosts Olympic hopefuls

Little drops of blood, splattered on the white mat as a pair of boxers with distant Olympic hopes took turns trying to drive a right fist through their opponents’ defense.

All in all, it was an entertaining two nights of boxing as the USA Amateur Boxing Southeastern Association brought their regional tournament to Selma.

Boxers with Olympic dreams came to town to compete for the right to advance to Louisiana for the next round of fights.

Selma’s Rufus Webster, who is too young to qualify for the Olympics, earned a win in the 15-year-old division.

Selma’s Pierre Webster and Keynan Lowe squared off when their opponents failed to show. The lighter Lowe took the win.

Both fighters will advance to Louisiana in the respective weight classes.

The most impressive performance, at least Saturday night, may have belonged to Memphis fighter John Johnson.

Johnson, who said to watch him in the neutral corner before the match, forced his opponent into the corner almost as soon as the opening bell rang.

Johnson unleashed a flurry of blows that sent Lester Stewart to the mat, mere seconds into the bout.

Stewart got up, seemingly ready to go, but the referee stopped the fight.

Another fighter, Chris Rudd of Convington, Tenn. was very impressive as well.

He knocked Adam Davis down twice in a three-round match.

The second time, he buckled his opponent’s knees with a crushing shot to the left ribs.

Davis’ corner through in the towel.

A win in Louisiana moves the fighter on to nationals, then to Olympic qualifying.

But the fighters had more on the line than some distant dream.

Many with no more chance of fighting in Athens than the folks in the stands still put on quite a show for the home crowd.

Hardy said he expects the event will return to Selma and he hopes even more fans will come out next time.