Oscar de la Hoya, who will be a senior at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles this fall, scored a 4-1 decision over the Soviet Union's Airat Khamatov in the 125-pound class Thursday night in the boxing semifinals at the Goodwill Games.
"This is my biggest step yet," de la Hoya said. "I'm only 17 and this is my first major international tournament."
Another highly regarded 17-year-old American, Jeremy Williams, fighting at 178 pounds, was knocked out in the third round by Andrei Kurnyavka of the Soviet Union. Williams hadn't lost in 43 fights.
Nine Americans fought in the semifinals, and eight of them were fighting Soviets. The U.S. fighters split with the Soviets.
Other U.S. winners were 106-pound world champion Eric Griffin, Terry McGroom at 178 pounds, Larry Donald at 201 and Ivan Robinson at 125. Robinson stopped Soviet Faat Gatin in the third round, and the others won on decisions.
The U.S. women's basketball team, shooting 60%, scored a 103-80 victory over Australia. The Americans were nine of 16 from three-point range.
In their first two games, the Americans were just three of 13 from three-point range. Australian Coach Robbie Cadee said the plan was to force the United States outside.
"I decided we had to take their strength away from them and make them play from outside, and they did," Cadee said. "They hit three-pointer after three-pointer."
Teresa Edwards had four of the three-pointers and wound up with 16 points. She also almost wound up in a fight with Michele Tims of Australia.
"She wanted to punch me and I told her to go ahead and do it," Edwards said. "If somebody was going to get kicked out, it was going to be worth it."
In Saturday's semifinals, the U.S. will face Bulgaria, an 85-79 loser to Brazil Thursday.
In diving, Gao Min of China, already the winner of the three-meter springboard, won the one-meter board with a score of 508.80.
Gao beat Irina Lashko of the Soviet Union by only four points.
Daphnr Jongejans of the Netherlands was third and Wendy Lucero of Aurora, Colo., finished fourth.