HOUSTON — For the better part of five years, Kimdo Bethel and Mike Wilson waited for Tuesday night to arrive.

HOUSTON — For the better part of five years, Kimdo Bethel and Mike Wilson waited for Tuesday night to arrive.

The super heavyweights have fought in the same national tournaments for the better part of this decade but never faced each other.

Central Point's Wilson, 24, was certain his conditioning and skill level were a notch above those of Kimdo Bethel, a meaty 23-year-old from Albany, N.Y. Bethel, on the other hand, was sure his strength would prevail.

On Tuesday night, Bethel's prediction was correct as he inched past Wilson for a 15-14 decision at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

"I thought I won the fight. I thought that I pressed the action. I was the aggressor," Wilson said. "He just sat back and tried to counter.

"Hopefully we run into each other again."

Bethel had a different perspective on the bout.

"I feel real good. I knocked out the No. 2 dude, a five-time national champion," Bethel said. "I kept my eyes open, just watching him and counter-punching."

Wilson's Medford Bulldog Boxing Club teammate Troy Wohosky advanced on a walkover of Rosey Summerville, a boxer who qualified for the Trials but received a mandatory 90-day suspension because he was knocked out cold in the U.S. Championships. Wohosky, 21, will fight Raynell Williams of Cleveland today at 6 p.m. local time in the 125-pound weight class.

Bethel opened the second round against Wilson with a monstrous straight left. He took control and outscored Wilson 3-0 in the second, carrying a 5-2 lead into the third.

"If I would have come out in the first and second rounds like I did in the third and fourth, I could have pushed the pressure. He would have been dog tired," Wilson said.

Wilson kicked into gear in the third, responding to a Bethel hook with a solid 1-2 combo; the shorter Bethel was pushing Wilson away more than attacking but Wilson only made one point of headway, entering the final round down 9-7. They slugged it out in the fourth, but it wasn't enough for Wilson.

"I thought I pulled it out," Wilson said. "Now I get to work my way up the hard way. Long way to go now. "¦ I'm kind of bummed out, but sometimes doing it the hard way is better. It makes you perform better."

Wilson will face 25-year-old Nate James of Malden, Mass., today at about 1:30 p.m. local time. In June, Wilson defeated James 12-7 in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Championships.

"Some losses make you better. You learn more losing than winning," Wilson said.