By Ryan Maquiñana
Lightweight Jose Ramirez and middleweight Terrell Gausha cruised to victory in Monday’s opening round bouts at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanazinho, putting them in Wednesday’s quarterfinals and one win away from entry into the London Olympics.
Ramirez, a 132-pounder from Avenal, Calif., caused three standing-eight counts en route to a third-round stoppage of Trinidad and Tobago’s Michael Alexander.
“It feels good to get the hard one out of the way. There was no tomorrow without it,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com/Norcalboxing.net. “I had some jitters and I’m glad to get them out. It’s been a long road to get back to this point.”
Now the Fresno State University sophomore and former Starbucks barista can officially call himself an Olympian by beating Canada’s Alejandro Rynn.
“I will fight the Canadian,” Ramirez added. “He’s a brawler and looked good during his fight, but his style is no different than an American fighter, so that’s nothing new.”
Gausha, a 165-pounder from Cleveland, Ohio, dominated in a 22-5 decision over Nicaragua’s Oliver Ballesteros. He will face Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo in the quarterfinals.
In the super heavyweight opener, 201-plus-pounder Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra, Calif., outhustled Venezuela’s Jose Payares in a 12-10 decision triumph. Breazeale gets Brazil’s Gidelson Silva in the final eight, but unlike Ramirez and Gausha, he needs a top three finish in order to secure a berth for London.
TEAM USA OLYMPIC QUALIFYING STATUS
Light flyweight (108 lbs.): Santos Vazquez (Reno, Nev.) - eliminated in opening round by Puerto Rico's Jantomy Ortiz (15-8)
Flyweight (114 lbs.): Rau'shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) - already qualified for Olympics through World Championships
Bantamweight (123 lbs.): Joseph Diaz Jr. (S. El Monte, Calif.) - already qualified for Olympics through World Championships
Lightweight (132 lbs.): Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) - fights Wednesday vs. Canada’s Alejandro Rynn in quarterfinals*
Light Welterweight (141 lbs.): Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) - fights Tuesday vs. Venezuela’s Yoelvis Hernandez in quarterfinals*
Welterweight (152 lbs.): Errol Spence Jr. (DeSoto, Tex.) - already qualified for Olympics through World Championships
Middleweight (165 lbs.): Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio) – fights Wednesday vs. Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo in quarterfinals*
Light Heavyweight (178 lbs.): Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) - fights Tuesday vs. Dominican Republic's Felix Valera in quarterfinals*
Heavyweight (201 lbs.): Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) - fights Tuesday vs. Nicaragua's Marcio Figueroa in quarterfinals
Super Heavyweight (201+ lbs.): Dominic Breazeale (Alhambra, Calif.) - fights Monday vs. Brazil’s Gidelson Silva in quarterfinals
*win will secure a berth in the London 2012 Olympics
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com, check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.