Team USA Enjoys a Gold Rush at the World Championships
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Three American boxers will return home with gold medals hanging around their necks following an outstanding showing by the United States squad at the team’s first Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Bulgaria. Team USA closed the tournament with an undefeated day in Saturday’s final round action. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) added her first world championships title to her history-making resume with a gold medal in the youth division. Two junior boxers showcased the bright future that awaits them as pinweight Caitlin Orosco (Anaheim, Calif.) and featherweight JaJaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) both won gold medals in Saturday’s action.
Shields continued her dominating run through the tournament in a championship round contest with her Polish foe. The 18-year-old college freshman didn’t make it through halftime in her first three bouts of the tournament, winning TKOs in the opening two rounds in all of her advancing bouts. After stopping her quarterfinal opponent in only 24 seconds in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round competition, she won a won a second round TKO over Russia’s Matren Iachkina in the youth middleweight semifinal contest on Friday. A tournament celebrity at the event, Shields stayed focused on the mission at hand in her championship bout with Poland’s Elzibieta Wojckik in today’s action. Shields won a 2-1 decision over Wojckik to take the middleweight title.
Orosco introduced herself to the international scene earlier this year at the Pirkka Tournament in Finland where she not only won a gold medal, but was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Boxer. She won her second straight international gold medal with a final round victory in a pinweight showdown with Kazakhstan’s Nazerlee Jurgarayeva on Saturday. Orosco advanced to the championship bout with a unanimous decision win over Ukraine’s Veronika Shaksuy in Friday’s semifinal action. The 15-year-old American boxer took home the first gold medal for the United States with a 2-1 victory in the pinweight finale.
Gonzalez was the second United States boxer to take the ring in Saturday’s final round action, following four straight victories in her first World Championships competition in Bulgaria. The 16-year-old recorded solely unanimous decision wins in her contested bouts in Bulgaria, culminating with a featherweight final round bout against Russia’s Anastasia Nesiyanova on Saturday. Gonzalez advanced to the championship bout with a 3-0 win over Nazym Chshanova of Kazakhstan in semifinal round competition on Friday. She kept her streak alive in the championship bout, winning a 3-0 decision over her Russian foe to take featherweight gold.
Despite having only five representatives in junior division action, the United States finished third in the team standings with the two gold and one bronze medal win from lightweight Iesha Kenney (Alexandria, Va.) at the 2013 Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships. Only Russia and Kazakhstan finished ahead of the United States and the two boxing powerhouses boasted 13 and 12 registered athletes respectively in the major international tournament.
The United States earned a total of six medals in the first-ever Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships with more than half of the 10 American representatives returning home with hardware. Youth light flyweight Marisol Lopez (Stratford, Calif.) and youth welterweight Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.) won bronze as well following strong showings in the World Championships debut for both boxers.
The six medal haul in Bulgaria brings the United States total to 75 on the year and eight in World Championships action including four gold medals for USA Boxing’s athletes in the past month. The elite men will close World Championships series in October at the 2013 AIBA Men’s World Championships, October 14-26 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Coaches Jason Crutchfield (Flint, Mich.), William Farris (Lexington, Ky.), Michael Newson (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Bienvenido “Benny” Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), led the U.S. boxers in Bulgaria with Dr. Larry Lovelace (Oklahoma City, Okla.) serving as the Team Physician.
101 lbs/junior: Caitlin Orosco, Anaheim, Calif./USA dec. Nazerlee Jargarayeva, KAZ, 2-1
125 lbs/junior: JaJaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA dec. Anastasia Nesmiyanova, RUS, 3-0
165 lbs/youth: Claressa Shields/Flint, Mich./USA dec. Elzibieta Wojckik, POL, 2-1