BOXER Billy Ward, who was born in Bundaberg, was outclassed in his Olympic debut overnight by Cuban Yosbany Veitia Soto, who won the bout 26-4.
But Ward, 19, who went to school in Miriam Vale and competes in the light flyweight division, has treated the loss as a big learning experience.
Australian boxing program co-ordinator Ben Harvey said Ward was outgunned by the experienced Cuban.
"I thought Billy showed a lot of heart," Harvey said.
"He came back again and again."
Bob Butler, a coach at the Bundaberg Boxing Club for 20 years, said Ward still had a solid future, with boxers usually peaking between 18 and 26 years of age.
"He has another Olympics in him if he wants to keep at it," Butler said.
"He's a real young gentleman too."
The Queenslander was gracious in defeat.
"He (Veitia Soto) was very good. I have to give him credit," Ward told the ABC.
"He has the skills to win a medal."
Ward said he was happy, and his coach was proud.
"It was by far the hardest fight I have had," he said.
"This is a massive learning experience."
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