HOUSTON (AP) _ Two-time U.S. featherweight champion Ricardo Juarez, spurred on by his hometown crowd, rallied to outpoint Baktijar Tilegenov of Kazakhstan 4-1 Friday in the opening round of the World Amateur Boxing Championships.

Juarez, beaten to the punch in the first two rounds by Tilegenov, took the fight inside in the third and final round, keeping up the pressure by landing heavier punches to the head and body.

Cuba and Russia are expected to battle for the team title in the tournament that drew 274 fighters from 54 countries to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Weight class finals will be held next Wednesday and Thursday.

The tournament is not a qualifier for the Olympics but 18 fighters who won medals in the 1995 World Championships also earned medals in the 1996 Olympic Games.

Cuba won the team title in 1995 and Russia captured it two years later, although four Russian champions from 1997 will not compete here.

In other featherweight fights Friday, Judel Jhonson of Cuba outpointed 1998 Goodwill Games bronze medalist Alexandre Mitshev of Russia; Ranaz Paliani of Turkey used his superior reach to outpoint 1998 European Championships bronze medalist Reidar Walstad of Norway; and Falk Huste of Germany, the 1998 European champion and a silver medalist in the 1997 World Championships, outpointed Boris Georgiadis of Greece.