(LONDON, ENGLAND) – The path to gold was set on Friday for the 12 members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team at the official event draw on Friday at the ExCel Centre in London. The brackets in the 13 Olympic weight classes were drawn in front of representatives from all of the participating nations. Three U.S. boxers received first round byes with the remaining nine American athletes learning the identity of their opening day opponents.
The women’s draw was done first and both flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) received byes in their opening round bouts. Lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will face home nation boxer Natasha Jones of Great Britain in her Olympic Games opener on August 5. Esparza will take on the winner of a first round contest between Brazil and Venezuela when she takes the ring for quarterfinal action on August 6 while Shields battles the victor of a showdown between Australia and Sweden on the same date.
Three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) was the lone U.S. boxer to be seeded in the 2012 Olympic Games and as the number three seed, he received a first round bye as well. Warren will take the ring for the third time in Olympic action in a second round bout against the winner of France and Afghanistan on August 3.
Bantamweight Joseph Diaz, Jr. (S. El Monte, Calif.) and middleweight Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio) open action for Team USA on Saturday with Diaz taking on on Ukraine’s Pavlo Ishchenko and Gausha battling Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan.
Lightweight Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) and welterweight Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) will compete on Sunday in their first round contests. Ramirez will face France’s Rachid Azzedine on Sunday while Spence takes on Brazil’s Myke Carvalho de Ribeiro.
Light heavyweight Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) will be the lone U.S. boxer in Monday’s action, challenging Australia’s Damien Hooper in his Olympic debut.
There will only be one U.S. boxer competing on Tuesday as well with light welterweight Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) facing off with Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov in the first round.
The two heavyweights will be the final male boxers to compete and both will challenge Russian opponents when they take the ring on Wednesday, August 1. Heavyweight Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) will battle Russia’s Tervel Pulev while super heavyweight Dominic Breazeale (Alhambra, Calif.) faces Magomed Omarov.
The 2012 Olympic Games are a single elimination tournament and all of the 2012 Olympic Games brackets can be found on www.aiba.org.