Rau'shee Warren was in his dressing room moments after dominating last night's bantamweight fight against Khavazhy Khatsyhau of Belarus when USA Boxing publicist Julie Goldsticker informed the 119-pound amateur that a reporter had requested an interview.
After about five minutes, Warren peeked out from behind the curtain and asked, "Are you still waiting on me, Julie?"
Actually, the world is waiting for Warren.
And last night at Glen Burnie's Michael's Eighth Avenue, the 2004 Olympian showed why USA Boxing director Lamont Jones calls him "one of the best prospects we will produce in the last several Olympic cycles as we look forward to 2008."
The 18-year-old Cincinnati resident used his power to drop his rival in the first round. In the second round, Warren cornered Khatsyhau and pummeled him with quick shots to the body and heavy blows to the head.
By the third round, Warren had bloodied his man's nose and had him covering up on one of the ropes. And by the fourth, Khatsyhau could do little but lunge and grab to protect himself as the crowd chanted, "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A."
"I can already see myself in the medal round because I'm faster and with more power," said Warren, who outscored Khatsyhau by nearly 2 to 1 as part of an Olympic-style match pitting Team U.S.A. against Belarus. "I'm 10 times better than I was then."
Warren was just 17 - the youngest U.S. Olympian in any sport - when he lost his first bout in the 2004 Games, in which the sole U.S. boxing gold medalist was Andre Ward.
"I want to be with Floyd Mayweather. I want to get the gold medal, be on HBO," said Warren, who is 225-7 as an amateur, having earned a bronze medal in the world championships in Mianyang, China, in November. "I want to make a name for myself in boxing."
Parkville resident Marcus Henry, a 28-year-old light heavyweight with a 33-8 record that includes 28 knockouts, was pulled from last night's card after suffering a cut below one of his eyes in a loss to Belarus' Andrei Miruk on Sunday.
"I'm sorry I couldn't fight here, but due to injuries, and this being an amateur boxing show, they won't let me perform tonight," Henry said. "But that's okay. There are more fights to come and another day to fight. It's back to the gym to train harder for another opponent."
In other bouts, Cleveland's Mark Davis (132) edged Evgeny Kosmatov, 18-15, and Belarus' Sergey Kunitsyn (125) and Andrei Chyruk (141) defeated San Diego's David Clark and Jeremy Bryan of Clifton, N.J., respectively.