Boxing

USA BOXING: 16-Year old sensation headline U.S. Women’s Olympic Team Trials Champions

USA BOXING: 16-Year old sensation headline U.S. Women’s Olympic Team Trials Champions

The First U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing Champions are Crowned
Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Clarissa Shields punch their ticket to the 2012 Women’s Olympic Trials Finals as they move one step closer to a spot on the USA team traveling to London this summer.

February 19, 2012

With a convincing 32-17 victory over Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md, in the first bout of the evening, flyweight Marlen Esparza became the first-ever Woman to win an Olympic qualifying tournament, and, along with Queen Underwood and Clarissa Shield, advance to the World Championship in China this May.  All three ladies were undefeated  in this double-elimination Olympic trial.

courtesy usaboxing.org

(l-r) Esparza, Shields & Underwood

(SPOKANE, WASH.) – History was made on Saturday night as the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing crowned three champions at the Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights, Wash. The trio of talented women is now just one step away from berths in the inaugural Olympic Games for women’s boxing.

The winners bracket champions made a clean sweep on Saturday all clinching their spots without going to a second day of final round competition. Flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) became the first Olympic Trials champion in the opening bout of the night with familiar foe Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.). It was the third match-up between the two, following two showdowns in the USA Boxing National Championships finals. Esparza took her third straight victory over Douglas in the contest, winning a convincing 32-17 victory to win the first title of the night. After building a 14-10 lead at the midway point in the bout, Esparza blew it up open in the third, scoring 12 points to take a commanding 26-14 into the final two minutes.

Queen Underwood

In lightweight action, crowd favorite Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) faced Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) for the second time at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Once again, it was Underwood coming out victorious. Underwood built up a 12-8 lead after two round of boxing, but Mayer was able to pull to within three in in the third stanza. With the sounds of the crowd chanting her name in her ears, Underwood held on to her edge in a tied fourth round to win a 22-19 final decision and become the first lightweight champion at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing.

Teenage sensation Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) continued her amazing run through the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in her rematch with fellow middleweight Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.). She once again got off to a quick start in the bout, racking up 13 points to 9 for Hemingway in the opening two rounds. She continued to build on her lead in the third to claim at 19-13 advantage with one round remaining. Hemingway could not dent her deficit and Shields went on to win a 23-18 decision. The victory gave Shields the first-ever middleweight crown and completed the trio of boxers who will vie for spots in London. Yet Shields accomplishments didn’t end there, she was also named Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament, only her second in the open division.

Esparza, Underwood and Shields will now prepare for the 2012 Women’s World Championships in China where they will need to place in the top eight to qualify for the London Olympics. In addition to the eight boxers in each weight class that will qualify in China, a tripartite commission will select an additional four in each of the three weight divisions that will advance to London.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing Finals Results

112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas dec. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., 32-17

132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., 22-19

165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. 23-18

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Christina Cruz – Boxer – 2012 Olympic hopeful

Meet Christina Cruz, who on Monday, February 13 will take one step closer toward history in the Pacific Northwest. Spokane, Washington is the historic site for the first-ever U.S. Women’s Olympic Team Trials, where Cruz and 23 other ladies will compete to punch a ticket to Rio de Janeiro and the 2012 AIBA American Qualifiers. Their ultimate goal: the 2012 Summer Olympics in London which will unveil Women’s boxing for the very first time.

Cruz, who has won an impressive five straight Daily News(New York)  Golden Gloves titles, is no stranger to the big stage. She became the first of eight boxers in the flyweight (112-pound) division to qualify for Spokane after her victory in the Pan-American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The games served as a prelude to what Cruz can expect if she gets to London.

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Spokane, Washington to Host Historic U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing, February 13-19

The First-Ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing Participants are Announced

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The sport of women’s boxing will make its Olympic debut at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 24 American women who will vie for a spot in London have been determined after six months of qualifying tournaments. Eight women in each of the three Olympic weight divisions will compete in the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing in early 2012.

“The 24 women who have qualified for the first-ever Olympic Trials are all outstanding athletes that will represent our sport and country in a first-class fashion,” said Harold Adonis, USA Boxing president. “They have each dedicated endless hours in the gym and made tremendous sacrifices to chase their Olympic dreams and we look forward to seeing them all compete in this historic event. Congratulations to all of these fine athletes who have qualified for this once in a lifetime event.”

Queen Underwood

The three U.S. Pan American Games representatives claimed the first spots in the Olympic Trials, following a combination of domestic and international qualifiers. Flyweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and middleweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) will all represent Team USA in the 2011 Pan American Games, which is currently underway in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“We are looking forward to this historic event and an outstanding week of boxing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing,” said Anthony Bartkowski, USA Boxing executive director. “The sport has come a long way over the last decade, and the talent and skill level of these women will surprise those who haven’t had a chance to see them perform before.”

The 2011 USA Boxing National Championships, which took place in June in Colorado Springs, was the second qualifying tournament for the nation’s top female boxers. As each of the Pan American Games representatives also placed in the top four in the major national tournament, three boxers in each weight class punched their tickets for the Olympic Trials in Colorado Springs. Flyweights Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.), and Poula Estrada (Palmdale, Calif.); lightweights Tiara Brown (Lehigh, Fla.), Lisa Porter (Northridge, Calif.), and N’yteeyah Sherman (Barberton, Ohio); and middleweights Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.), Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Tiffanie Ward (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) all won Olympic Trials berths at the USA Boxing National Championships.

The three 2011 National Golden Gloves champions were the next group to advance on to the inaugural Olympic Trials. Flyweight Cynthia Moreno (Phoenix, Ariz.), lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), and middleweight Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) all claimed the fifth Olympic Trials berths in their respective weight divisions.

The 2011 National PAL Championships served as the final qualifying tournament with three boxers in each Olympic weight class moving on to the Olympic Trials. The nine boxers completing the Olympic Trials rosters are flyweights Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas), Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.), and Taversha Norwood (Marietta, Ga.); lightweights Patricia Manuel (Long Beach, Calif.), Bertha Aracil (Yonkers, N.Y.), Asia Stevenson (Washington DC); and middleweights Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), Andrecia Wasson (Centerline, Mich.), and Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.).

The date and location for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing are currently being finalized and will be announced shortly, however the event is currently slated to take place in February. The three winners of the Olympic Trials will compete in the lone international Olympic qualifier, the Women’s World Championships, May 21-June 3 in Qinhuangdao, China. Twelve boxers in each of the three Olympic weight classes will compete in the Olympic Games with the top eight finishers at the Women’s World Championships and four boxers per weight class selected by a tripartite commission earning berths in London.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing Qualified Athletes

Flyweight/112 lbs

1. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y. (Pan American Games representative)
2. Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas (USA Boxing National Championships)
3. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md. (USA Boxing National Championships)
4. Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif. (USA Boxing Championships)
5. Cynthia Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz. (Golden Gloves Championships)
6. Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas (National PAL Championships)
7. Alex Love, Monroe, Wash. (National PAL Championships)
8. Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga. (National PAL Championships)

Lightweight/132 lbs

1. Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash. (Pan American Games representative)
2. Tiara Brown, Lehigh, Fla. (USA Boxing National Championships)
3. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif. (USA Boxing National Championships)
4. N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio (USA Boxing National Championships)
5. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif. (Golden Gloves Championships)
6. Patricia Manuel Long Beach, Calif. (National PAL Championships)
7. Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y. (National PAL Championships)
8. Asia Stevenson, Washington DC (National PAL Championships)

Middleweight/165 lbs

1. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md. (Pan American Games representative
2. Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz. (USA Boxing National Championships)
3. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. (USA Boxing National Championships)
4. Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif. (USA Boxing National Championships)
5. Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky. (Golden Gloves Championships)
6. Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich. (National PAL Championships)
7. Andrecia Wasson, Centerline, Mich. (National PAL Championships)
8. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif. (National PAL Championships)

courtesy teamusa.org

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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