LONDON (AP) -- A day before three of his teammates take the London ring on an important day for the U.S. boxers, team captain Jamel Herring gave everybody a lesson in grace under Olympic pressure.
Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan ended Herring's Olympic aspirations with a 19-9 victory Tuesday in their light welterweight bout, but the U.S. Marine sergeant fought back his disappointment for the sake of his team.
"I've been through a lot of ups and downs, and I'm proud of my accomplishments," Herring said. "I'm proud of how far I've come. I went out there, fought to the best of my abilities, listened to my coaches and did everything I possibly could, but the best man won today."
After surviving two tours in Iraq and returning to boxing after the sudden death of his infant daughter in her crib three years ago, Herring knows a bit about composure and focus.
Herring couldn't keep up with Yeleussinov, whose aggression and quick hands repeatedly got Herring in trouble during the first two rounds. Yeleussinov mostly spent the third round avoiding exchanges, but Herring couldn't score enough points for a comeback.
Although Herring's voice cracked at times afterward, he remained clear-eyed and focused on helping his teammates as a captain.
"You've got to keep them uplifted," Herring said. "I don't want anyone to feel down."
He has to get back into cheering mode quickly: Three Americans will fight in the space of nine bouts Wednesday afternoon, with bantamweight Joseph Diaz Jr. taking on top-ranked Cuban Lazaro Alvarez before heavyweight Michael Hunter and super heavyweight Dominic Breazeale make their Olympic debuts against tough Russian opponents.
The Americans' fights are just one set of tempting matchups on the best slate of competition so far at ExCel. The evening ends with a corker: British super heavyweight Anthony Joshua, the second seed in his bracket, takes on Cuba's Erislandy Savon, the nephew of three-time gold medalist Felix Savon.
In the early session Tuesday, Little Pacquiao came up big for the Philippines.
Light flyweight Mark Barriga easily handled Italy's Manuel Cappai in the opening bout for the only Filipino boxer in London, earning a 17-7 victory. Barriga's one-sided win was an encouraging result for a strong boxing nation with little recent history of amateur success.
The 19-year-old Barriga trained in Manny Pacquiao's camp to prepare for the Olympics, earning the nickname "Little Pacquiao" in the Filipino media. The 5-foot-2 slugger's potent punching power suggests he was taking notes from the beloved Filipino congressman.
Two Cubans also advanced, and Indian light flyweight Devendro Singh Laishram recorded the quickest stoppage of the tournament. Laishram was far too much for Honduras' Bayron Molina, delivering multiple unblocked head shots before the referee stepped in with 36 seconds left in the first round.
"He wasn't a very good boxer, and I knew that," Laishram said. "I had sized him up. The coming rounds are going to be more difficult."
Puerto Rico's promising Jantony Ortiz, who beat Suarez in the semifinals of the Americas qualifier earlier this summer, trounced Ghana's Tetteh Sulemanu 20-6 in the opening bout of the evening session.