(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – The long road to championship night concluded on Friday afternoon at the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships with 35 semifinal bouts. All the semifinalists in both the male and female divisions took the ring on Friday with hopes of advancing to the finals.
Both of the 2011 National Champions suffered elimination in their semifinal bouts to create first-time final round match-up in the female light flyweight division. Reigning gold medalist Amy Sowers (Bozeman, Mont.) was defeated by Olympic Team Trials contestant Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.) in their semifinal contest. Love, who moved down to the light flyweight division for the 2012 National Championships, won a 22-13 decision over Sowers. On the opposite side of the bracket, Lisa Ha (Honolulu, Hawaii) defeated 2011 silver medalist Marina Ramirez (Sacramento, Calif.) by a 20-14 margin.
Two closes light flyweight bouts determined the finalists in the men’s division. Olympic Trials silver medalist Santos Vasquez (Sparks, Nev.) grabbed the first spot, winning a 15-12 decision over Stephen Fulton, Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa.) in their semifinal bout. Three-time national champion Louie Byrd (Denver, Colo.) hoped to advance to his fourth USA Boxing National Championships finals, but Leroy Davila (North Brunswick, N.J.) had other plans. Davila pulled out a 21-20 decision over Byrd to win the bout and move on to the finals with Vasquez.
Although the flyweight spot on the U.S. Olympic Team has been locked down by three-time Olympian Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio), eight flyweights traveled to Colorado Springs, hoping to claim a national title. Two of them still have an opportunity to do so following Friday’s semifinal action. Edmundo Guzman (Las Cruces, N.M.) won the first spot by taking a 16-13 decision over Brent Venegas III (Elk Horn, Calif.) in the first of the two flyweight semifinals. He will face the U.S. Army’s Charles Williams (N.C.) on Saturday afternoon in the flyweight final. Williams pulled out a 15-14 decision over Eduardo Vasquez (Sheridan, Colo.) in Friday’s semifinal action to move on to the championship round.
Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) has bounced back from her loss at the Olympic Trials with three straight victories at the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships. Cruz won an 18-11 decision over Ayanna Vasquez (Las Cruces, N.M.) in her semifinal bout to move on to the championship round where she will battle Jamie Mitchell (Pacific Grove, Calif.). Mitchell won a 25-18 decision over Melanie Costa (Norton, Mass.) to advance to Saturday night’s showdown with Cruz.
In men’s bantamweight action, Joet de Jesus Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) won an all-California match-up with Gary Salazar (Fresno, Calif.). De Jesus Gonzalez took the low scoring affair, recording a 7-5 decision over Salazar. His final round contest will feature a match-up with Riccardo Kerns (Anchorage, Alaska). Kerns trekked all the way from Anchorage to Colorado Springs for the tournament but his long journey has been worth it, as he will compete in the bantamweight final on Saturday afternoon. Kerns defeated Luis Castro (Texas), 26-19 in the semifinals to move on to Saturday’s competition.
A third Women’s Olympic Trials competitor punched her ticket for finals night in the featherweight division. Lightweight competitor Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) moved down to the featherweight class for the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships and she will compete for a gold medal in the 125-pound class on Saturday night. Brown won a 21-9 decision over Kirstie Simmons (Aurora, Colo.) to earn a spot in the featherweight finale. Brown will take on teenage sensation Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) in the featherweight championship bout on Saturday. Ellis defeated Karla Herrera (Los Angeles, Calif.) by a 14-12 margin to move on to her showdown with Brown.
The men’s lightweight championship bout will feature a rematch from the finals of the August Olympic Trials as two-time national champion and Olympic Trials titlist Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) faces 2008 Olympian Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio). Both lightweight semifinals featured rematches from the recent Olympic Trials with Williams facing Toka Kahn Clary (Providence, R.I.) and Ramirez battling Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.). Williams claimed his spot first in a barnburner with Kahn Clary, the 2011 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist. The bout went into the final seconds with the outcome in doubt, but Williams claimed a 21-20 final decision to move on to Saturday’s action. Ramirez enjoyed a slightly easier time in his bout with Sims. Although Ramirez had pulled out their initial bout at the Olympic Trials by only one point, he won by a much larger margin at Fort Carson. Sims kept the bout close early on but Ramirez slowly began to pull away, eventually winning a 27-14 decision.
Emily Dagnan (Jasper, Tenn.) and Katie Brunancini (Los Angeles, Calif.) will do battle in the women’s lightweight championship bout following victories by both in Friday’s semifinals. Brunacini moved on to Saturday afternoon’s action with a 23-10 decision over Felisha Estrada Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) in their semifinal contest. Dagnan joined her in the finals with a 19-10 victory over Rosa Garcia (Arizona) in the second female lightweight semifinal.
The light welterweight division featured one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the day as Julian Rodriguez (Paterson, N.J.) defeated Robert Easter (Toledo, Ohio) to the delight of Rodriguez’s very vocal fans. Rodriguez managed to overcome his large height deficit en route to a 22-18 victory over Easter and a spot in the final bout. He will face Olympic Trials champion Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) in Saturday night’s light welterweight contest. Herring continued his methodical run through the tournament on Friday, winning a 20-13 decision over Luis Olivares (Glendale, Ariz.) to claim the second spot in the light welterweight championship bout.
The female light welterweight bout will showcase a highly anticipated matched between two-time national champion Cashmere Jackson (Cleveland, Ohio) and Olympic Trials silver medalist Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.). Mayer moved up to the light welterweight class following her loss at the Olympic Trials and has enjoyed success at her new weight division. She claimed her spot in the finals today with a convincing 21-5 win over Christella Cepeda (Yonkers, N.Y.). Jackson earned her berth in her third straight championship bout with a 22-5 victory over Ariel Beck (Helena, Mont.).
Alex Martin (Chicago, Ill.) returned to his second USA Boxing National Championships final bout with a victory over 2010 National Golden Gloves champion David Grayton (Washington DC) in welterweight semifinal action. Martin won a 24-14 decision over Grayton to move on to Saturday’s finals where he will battle Patrick Day (Freeport, N.Y.). Day won a New York City face-off with Christopher Galeano (Bronx, N.Y.), claiming an 8-8 tiebreaker victory on his 26-21 total punch count edge.
Two former middleweight national champions will face off in the 165-pound final round contest on Saturday night following wins by Olympic Trials titlist Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio). Hart battled hometown boxer Izaak Cardona (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in his semifinal contest, winning a 14-10 decision over Cardona to move on to his second straight USA Boxing National Championships championship bout. Gausha continued his impressive showing in his semifinal match-up with Demond Nicholson (Laurel, Md.), taking a 22-13 decision to advance to the finals.
The women’s light heavyweight championship bout will pit two familiar foes from the middleweight division as Olympic Trials contestants Tiffanie Hearn (San Diego, Calif.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) prepare to face-off again. Both Hearn and Crews stopped their opponents to move on to the finals with Hearn defeating Kendra Minnis (St. Louis, Mo.) and Crews beating Denise Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.).
Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) became the fourth Olympic Trials winner to move on to championship night with his semifinal victory on Friday. Browne defeated Anthony Sims, Jr. (Ypsilanti, Mich.), 18-6 in their semifinal showdown to punch his ticket for finals night. On the opposite side of the bracket, the U.S. Army’s Steven Nelson, Jr. (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) upset former national champion Robert Brant (Oakdale, Minn.) to the delight of the crowd in attendance. Nelson’s 31-16 decision over Brant gave him the second spot in the light heavyweight final.
In men’s heavyweight action, 2008 Olympic Trials champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Javonta Charles (W. Des Moines, Iowa) will face off for the heavyweight crown. Charles earned the first berth in the heavyweight final with a 13-5 victory over Antwon Abron (Stockton, Calif.). Hunter completed the bracket with a 16-9 decision over 2010 USA Boxing Athlete of the Year Steve Geffrard (Boca Raton, Fla.).
The super heavyweight division was the final weight class to finalize their championship round contestants and two west coast boxers claimed the final two spots in finals night. UNLV boxer and Last Chance Qualifier champion Brett Rather (Las Vegas, Nev.) defeated number one seed and Olympic Trials silver medalist Laron Mitchell (San Francisco, Calif.), 17-14 in their semifinal bout to move on to the finals. Olympic Trials participant Dominic Breazale (Los Angeles, Calif.) claimed the lone remaining spot following a 19-16 win over his teammate Jonathan Hamm (Atlanta, Ga.).
The three qualified men’s weight divisions and three women’s Olympic weight classes will compete in final action at 1 p.m. with the remaining weight divisions, which are each advancing on to major international tournaments, boxing at 6 p.m. at the Fort Carson Special Events Center.
Friday’s Semifinal Results
106 lbs/female: Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii dec. Marina Ramirez, Sacramento, Calif., 20-14
106 lbs/female: Alex Love, Monroe, Wash., dec. Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont., 22-13
108 lbs/male: Santos Vasquez, Sparks, Nev., dec. Stephen Fulton, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa., 15-12
108 lbs/male: Leroy Davila, N. Brunswick, N.J., dec. Louie Byrd, Denver, Colo., 21-20
112 lbs/female: Ayesha Green, Trenton, N.J., dec. Maryguenn Vellinga, Salt Lake City, Utah, 10-7
114 lbs/male: Edmundo Guzman, Las Cruces, N.M., dec. Brent Venegas III, Elk Horn, Calif., 16-13
114 lbs/male: Charles Williams, North Carolina dec. Eduardo Vasquez, Sheridan, Colo., 15-14
119 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Ayanna Vasquez, Las Cruces, N.M., 16-13
119 lbs/female: Jamie Mitchell, Pacific Grove, Calif., dec. Melanie Costa, Norton, Mass., 25-18
123 lbs/male: Joet de Jesus Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., dec. Gary Salazar, Fresno, Calif., 7-5
123 lbs/male: Riccardo Kerns, Anchorage, Alaska, dec. Luis Castro, Texas 26-19
125 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Kirstie Simmons, Aurora, Colo., 21-9
125 lbs/female: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass., dec. Karla Herrera, Los Angeles, Calif., 14-12
132 lbs/female: Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., dec. Karla Herrera, Los Angeles, Calif., 19-10
132 lbs/male: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif., dec. Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill., 27-14
132 lbs/male: Raynell Williams, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I., 21-20
141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Ariel Beck, Helena, Mont., 22-5
141 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Christella Cepeda, Yonkers, N.Y., 21-5
141 lbs/male: Jamel Herring, Coram, N.Y., dec. Luis Olivares, Glendale, Ariz., 20-13
141 lbs/male: Julian Rodriguez, Paterson, N.J., dec. Robert Easter, Toledo, Ohio, 22-18
152 lbs/female: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., dec. Tara Weisshaar, Burlington, Colo., 29-2
152 lbs/female: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., dec. Alicia Napoleon, Lingdenhurst, N.J., 24-5
152 lbs/male: Patrick Day, Freeport, N.Y., dec. Christopher Galeano, Bronx, N.Y., 8-8 (29-21)
152 lbs/male: Alex Martin, Chicago, Ill., dec. David Grayton, Washington DC, 24-14
165 lbs/male: Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Izaak Cardona, Colorado Springs, Colo., 14-10
165 lbs/male: Terrell Gausha, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Demond Nicholson, Laurel, Md., 22-13
178 lbs/female: Tiffanie Hearn, San Diego, Calif., stopped Kendra Minnis, St. Louis, Mo., RSC
178 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., stopped Denise Rico, Los Angeles, Calif., RSC
178 lbs/male: Marcus Browne, Staten Island, N.Y., dec. Anthony Sims, Jr., Ypsilanti, Mich., 18-6
178 lbs/male: Steven Nelson, Jr., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., dec. Robert Brant, Oakdale, Minn., 31-16
201 lbs/male: Javonta Charles, W. Des Moines, Iowa, dec. Antwon Abron, Stockton, Calif., 13-5
201 lbs/male: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Steve Geffrard, Boca Raton, Fla., 16-9
201+ lbs/male: Dominic Breazale, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Jonathan Hamm, Atlanta, Ga., 19-16
201+ lbs/male: Brett Rather, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Laron Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif., 17-14