LOS ANGELES -- South Korean Sung Kil Moon snapped the U.S. Olympic boxing team's unbeaten streak Sunday by battering Robert Shannon with heavy punches that had the American staggering around the ring, but teammates Jerry Page, Meldrick Taylor and Pernell Whitaker got the U.S. squad back on track with victories.
Just 30 minutes after Shannon was beaten, Page, of Columbus, Ohio, pounded out an easy 5-0 decision over Octavio Robles of Mexico to advance to the quarterfinals in the 139-pound class.
And in the night session, Taylor, the youngest member of the squad and the owner of the fastest hands on the team, used blinding combinations to post a 5-0 decision over Mexico's Francisco Camacho.
In the final fight, Whitaker, the two-time World Champion and gold medal favorite from Norfolk, Va., outclassed Uganda's Geofrey Nyeko in a lightweight bout to earn a 5-0 decision.
Whitaker, a southpaw, seemed content just to pile up enough points to win, using only his right jab for the first two rounds and using his outstanding movement to avoid all of the Ugandan's punches.
The scoring was lopsided, with Whitaker winning by at least four points and as many as six on the judges' cards.
'I wanted to win for Robert and I wanted to win for all of us,' Whitaker said. 'We're a family. We can still win 11 gold medals.'
Taylor, 17, of Philadelphia, hurt Camacho in the second and third rounds as he consistently landed six and seven-punch combinations to the head and body of his taller opponent.
Taylor will fight John Wanjau of Kenya in a quarterfinal bout.
The U.S. had reeled off 16 straight wins in the first seven days of competition and it appeared for the first five minutes that Shannon, ranked No. 1 in the world in the 118-pound class and the only returning member of the 1980 Olympic squad, would make it 17.
World champion Frank Tate of Detroit pushed the U.S. Olympic boxing team's record to 20-1 Monday with a 5-0 win over Italy's Romolo Casamonica, who later complained that an injury made him a one-handed fighter.
Casamonica broke his right hand three months ago and said he reinjured it last week in his first Olympic bout against Ireland's Sam Storey. He threw very few rights during his bout against Tate, relying almost entirely on a powerful left hook that rocked the American several times.
But Tate was the more consistent puncher following a slow start in the first minute of the bout.
In the night session, three-time world champion Mark Breland, the leader of the U.S. squad, attempted to move into the welterweight quarterfinals when he fought Rudel Obreja of Romania, and U.S. heavyweight Henry Tillman made his Olympic debut.
Tillman's originally scheduled opponent, Marvin Perez of Bolivia, sustained a broken hand during the weekend -- without ever fighting -- and Monday morning he was replaced by India's Kaliq Singh as Tillman's opponent.
Tate's win set up a probable gold medal showdown with Canada's Shawn O'Sullivan, who scored a first-round TKO over Dal Ho Ahn of Korea. Sullivan knocked the Korean down twice in the first minute of the fight, once with a right hand and once with a left hand. Dal also received a standing eight-count before the referee stopped the carnage.
Casamonica pounded Tate in the first and third rounds with the left hook, bulling his taller opponent into the ropes and rocking him with hard punches. Tate scored with both hands in all three rounds, but never hurt the Italian.
The judges, from New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Tunesia and Gabon, all voted for Tate, including a lopsided 60-57 score by the judge from Gabon.
The win advanced Tate to the quarterfinals in the light middleweight (156 pounds) class. He will face Christopher Kapopo of Zambia on Wednesday.
The second round was Tate's best against the Italian. After Casamonica had landed two good left hooks to his head, Tate responded with a four-punch combination capped by a whistling right to the jaw. Casamonica, for the first time in the bout, began retreating but Tate was unable to do any further damage.
Casamonica said his aching right hand was of little use in the fight.
'It hurt so bad I couldn't use it at all,' he said. 'I thought I would have beaten him if I didn't have the problem with my hand. I really could only punch with my left.'
Tate acknowledged that Casamonica seldom threw the right hand.
'I don't recall him using it very much, but I don't think he could have hit me with it even if he had used it,' he said. 'I don't really know if he was hurt or not, but I jumped on him anyway. I think it was definitely a 5-0 fight.'