(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – Twenty boxers claimed national titles on Saturday at the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships at the Fort Carson Special Events Center near Colorado Springs, Colo. For 14 of the day’s national champions, they earned not only a gold medal but also the right to represent the United States in two critical international competitions.
On the men’s side, the titlists earned a berth in the Americas Qualifier tournament in May in Brazil where they can qualify their spots in London on the international level. The seven women competing in the non-Olympic weight divisions all claimed berths on the 2012 Women’s World Championships team where they will join the three victors from the recent Olympic Trials for Women’s Boxing.
Once again, the women’s light flyweight division opened the evening’s competition with Olympic Trials participant Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.) facing off with Lisa Ha (Honolulu, Hawaii) in final round action. Love was competing in her first tournament at the light flyweight division after campaigning at the flyweight class. She enjoyed a great showing, winning the first national championship of the evening session, defeating Ha by a 26-13 margin to win her first USA Boxing National Championship.
The men’s light flyweight division final showcased an outstanding bout as well with Olympic Trials silver medalist Santos Vasquez (Sparks, Nev.) battling Leroy Davila (N. Brunswick, N.J.). The contest went into the final seconds with the lead bouncing between the two combatants and at the sound of the final bell, the two were deadlocked in a 10-10 tie. Vasquez took the bout on his 35-26 total punch count edge to win the light flyweight national championship and the chance to qualify internationally for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The women’s division returned to the ring for the third bout of the night with former national champion and Olympic Trials participant Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) challenging Jamie Mitchell (Pacific Grove, Calif.). Cruz utilized her experience and technique to outbox Mitchell, winning a 22-7 decision and the bantamweight national championship. Cruz will join Love and the three Olympic Trials winners on the 2012 World Championships squad.
Featherweight Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) grabbed the featherweight spot in her highly competitive bout with Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.). Brown, the third Olympic Trials participant to claim a national title at Fort Carson, won a 20-17 decision over Ellis to win her first USA Boxing National Championships title.
The second men’s bout of the night featured a rematch from the Olympic Trials finals as reigning two-time national champion Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) took on 2008 Olympian Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio). The two boxed to a tie after the first round, but Ramirez took the lead in the second and enjoyed a six-point edge as the third round began. Ramirez held on to his advantage over the final three minutes to win a 19-13 decision and his third straight national championship. He will have a second opportunity to qualify internationally for the 2012 Olympic Games at the Americas Qualifier tournament in May.
The string of Olympic Trials competitors turned national champions continued in the women’s light welterweight class as Olympic Trials silver medalist Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) faced off with two-time national champion Cashmere Jackson (Cleveland, Ohio). Mayer ensured that there wouldn’t be a three-peat, defeating Jackson, 20-16, to win her first USA Boxing National Championship. She will represent Team USA at the light welterweight class in the 2012 World Championships in China.
Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) reclaimed his number one spot with a victory in his light welterweight championship contest with Julian Rodriguez (Paterson, N.J.). Although he was the surprise of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, he entered the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships as the number one seed. His bout with Rodriguez was close throughout with the two tied for a moment in the last round. Yet Herring secured the victory late in the bout, winning a 14-9 decision to claim his first USA Boxing National Championships title and a second shot at the Olympic Games.
Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) took the victory in the women’s welterweight final bout, defeating Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.), 10-5. Miller adds the title of national champion to the bronze medal she claimed in the middleweight division at the recent Olympic Trials.
Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio) upset reigning Olympic Trials champion Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the closest of final round contests. The two battled it out for the middleweight crown in a sloppy, holding-filled affair. Hart held a slim one-point lead as the seconds ticked off but Gausha landed a scoring blow just before the final bell to pull the bout to a 10-10 tie. As the total punch count was tied as 34, the bout went to a judge’s poll with Gausha winning by a 3-2 margin.
The women’s light heavyweight contest showcased a rematch between Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) and Tiffanie Hearn (San Diego, Calif.) after both moved up a weight class after the Olympic Trials for Women’s Boxing. The two engaged in a much better bout on Saturday night than their sloppy contest at the Olympic Trials and Crews took the win by a 27-17 margin.
In men’s heavyweight action, Olympic Trials champion Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) retained his number spot and won another opportunity to vie for an Olympic berth internationally. Browne won a messy, foul-filled contest by a 20-14 margin over Steven Nelson, Jr. (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) to win his first USA Boxing National Championship.
2008 Olympic Trials Champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) will get another chance at the Olympic Games following his convincing 26-7 victory over Javonta Charles (W. Des Moines, Iowa). Hunter’s victory earns him the heavyweight championship and a spot at the Americas Qualifier in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dominic Breazale (Los Angeles, Calif.) won the final championship of the night in a barn-burner with Brett Rather (Las Vegas, Nev.). As had been the case in many of the previous bouts on the night, the bout went into the final seconds with the outcome in doubt. Yet Breazale scored the winning point in the final second to win an 18-17 decision over Rather.
Santos Vasquez was named the male outstanding boxer of the tournament with Mikaela Mayer winning the award on the women’s side.
Six boxers won national titles in the non-advancing weight classes with all of that action taking place in the afternoon session.
Female flyweight Ayesha Green (Trenton, N.J.) became the first 2012 National Champion, winning her championship bout with Anissa Vasquez (Fort Worth, Texas) in the opening bout of the day. Green recorded a 26-7 decision over Vasquez to win the flyweight title.
In men’s flyweight competition, the U.S. Army’s Charles Martin (Tulsa, Okla.) thrilled the Fort Carson fans by winning a national title on U.S. Army territory. Martin won a 16-6 decision over Edmundo Guzman (Las Cruces, N.M.) to take the flyweight title.
Joet de Jesus Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) became the third new national champion of the day, winning the bantamweight division gold medal. De Jesus Gonzalez claimed a 27-20 victory over Riccardo Kerns (Anchorage, Alaska) in the final round contest to become the new bantamweight national champion.
Emily Dagnan (Jasper, Tenn.) took the title in the women’s lightweight division, winning her final round showdown with Katie Brunacini (Los Angeles, Calif.). Dagnan recorded a 16-9 decision over Brunancini to win the lightweight gold medal.
Patrick Day (Freeport, N.Y.) won her first USA Boxing National Championship in men’s welterweight action. Day faced off with 2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Alex Martin (Chicago, Ill.) in the welterweight finale. Martin’s previous experience in the finals didn’t aide him in the 2012 edition as Day won a 24-16 decision and the welterweight title.
Two female middleweights faced off in the final bout of the early session with Fallon Farrar (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Olympic Trials participant Dara Shen (Alexandria, Va.) battling it out for a national championship. It was Farrar who came away victorious, winning a 22-15 decision over Shen to take the middleweight title.
Saturday’s Championship Results
5 p.m. session
106 lbs/female: Alex Love, Monroe, Wash., dec. Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii, 26-13
108 lbs/male: Santos Vasquez, Sparks, Nev., dec. Leroy Davila, N. Brunswick, N.J., 10-10 (35-26)
119 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Jamie Mitchell, Pacific Grove, Calif., 22-7
125 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass., 20-17
132 lbs/male: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif., dec. Raynell Williams, Cleveland, Ohio, 19-13
141 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, 20-16
141 lbs/male: Jamel Herring, Coram, N.Y., dec. Julian Rodriguez, Paterson, N.J., 14-9
152 lbs/female: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., dec. Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., 10-5
165 lbs/male: Terrell Gausha, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., 10-10 (34-34)(3-2 judges poll)
178 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Tiffanie Hearn, San Diego, Calif., 27-17
178 lbs/male: Marcus Browne, Staten Island, N.Y., dec. Steven Nelson, Jr., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 20-14
178+ lbs/unopposed female: Victor Perez won unopposed
201 lbs/male: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Javonta Charles, W. Des Moines, Iowa, 26-7
201+ lbs/male: Dominic Breazale, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Brett Rather, Las Vegas, Nev., 18-17
112 lbs/female: Ayesha Green, Trenton, N.J., dec. Anissa Vasquez, Fort Worth, Texas, 26-7
114 lbs/male: Charles Martin, Tulsa, Okla., dec. Edmundo Guzman, Las Cruces, N.M., 16-6
123 lbs/male: Joet de Jesus Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., dec. Riccardo Kerns, Anchorage, Alaska, 27-20
132 lbs/female: Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., dec. Katie Brunacini, Los Angeles, Calif., 16-9
152 lbs/male: Patrick Day, Freeport, N.Y., dec. Alex Martin, Chicago, Ill., 24-16
165 lbs/female: Fallon Farrar, Staten Island, N.Y., dec. Dara Shen, Alexandria, Va., 22-15