TOLEDO, OHIO) – On the same night that 18 young boxers were crowned as national champions, Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) made her return to the ring in her first bout since the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
As expected, Shields’ bout claimed all of the attention in the arena despite action in the other two rings when she stepped through the ropes in the final bout of the evening. The 17-year-old high school senior faced a familiar foe in her first bout of the tournament, taking on fellow Olympic Trials participant Dara Shen (Alexandria, Va.). In true Shields fashion, she came out firing early, throwing heavy shots at her opponent and claiming a 10-2 lead after the first round. She kept the heat on in the second, continuing to stalk Shen and throw her signature sharp punches. Shields held a 19-5 lead at the midway mark of the bout, but the strong lead didn’t slow down her output in the least. She continued to pepper Shen with shots, giving her two eight counts in the round before the referee called a halt to the bout at the :46 mark of the contest.
“It felt good, I haven’t fought in my team colors in so long. I wasn’t at the Olympics of course, but I still felt like everybody was watching me so I had to block everyone out,” Shields said. “I’m not a ‘just enough’ fighter, I don’t want to beat anyone by just one point or make it look close. I want to beat them by as much as I can. I don’t want to go all four rounds, I want to get in and get out.”
Shields will take on multi-time national champion Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) in Saturday’s finals. The two battled on the opening day of the Olympic Trials with Shields taking the win before Crews moved up to the light heavyweight division for the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships and World Championships. Crews, a former multi-time middleweight national champion, moved back down to her original weight class for the 2012 National PAL Championships.
“I love Franchon, but tomorrow we’re not friends. After we get out of the ring, we can go get our nails and make-up done,” Shields said. “It’s another fight and my coach wants me to stop everybody so I’m going to try to stop her but we’ll see what happens because she’s a tough sally.”
The 11-12-year-old and 13-14-year-old divisions featured final round bouts on Friday while semifinal action was contested in the 15-16-year-old and open classes. While Shields closed the night’s action, the first female junior bout took place in Friday’s semifinal action. Dazzlin Turner (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) made it a quick opener, winning a first round stoppage over Jessica Balli (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) to advance to the finals.
In men’s open division competition, four weight classes competed in semifinal action on Friday night with the bantamweight, lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight, and middleweight boxers all vying for spots in the finals.
In bantamweight competition, both competitors recorded double-digit wins in their semifinal bouts to move on to championship night. Dennis Galarza (Orlando, Fla.) advanced to the finals with a 25-14 decision over Antwan Robinson (Baltimore, Md.) in semifinal round competition. Galarza will face 2012 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist Gary Salazar (Fresno, Calif.) on Saturday. Salazar won a 36-21 decision over D’Andres Hockerson (Rochester, N.Y.) to join Galarza in the finals.
The lightweight final will feature a showdown between 2012 Junior Olympic National Champion Malik Montgomery (Macon, Ga.) and 2012 Olympic Trials participant Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.). Montgomery pulled out a 36-33 decision over Lavias Williams (Rochester, N.Y.) in semifinal round competition while Sims defeated Tommy Logan (Winter Haven, Fla.) by a 19-12 margin to advance.
Two of the nation’s top light welterweight prospects earned spots in the finals with wins on Friday. With 2012 Olympian Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) on hand to check out the action, 2012 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Julian Rodriguez (Paterson, N.Y.) and 2012 Junior Olympic National Champion and Outstanding Boxer Erickson Lubin (Orlando, Fla.) won their semifinal bouts. Rodriguez faced off with Olympic Trials lightweight participant Damon Allen (Philadelphia, Pa.) in a contest that was closely contested through most of the bout. Yet Rodriguez emerged victorious, winning a 19-14 decision over Allen. On the opposite side of the bracket, Lubin continued his run through the tournament, winning an 18-11 victory over Kevin Johnson (Las Vegas, Nev.).
2012 USA Boxing National Champion Patrick Day (Freeport, N.Y.) punched his ticket for the finals with a 20-14 win over fellow New Yorker Chardale Booker (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Day will take on Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) on Saturday evening. Ellis won a 15-13 decision over Jamontay Clark (Cincinnati, Ohio) in semifinal action. Ellis and his younger sister, Rashida will both compete in Saturday’s finals with Rashida taking on world champion Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) in the featherweight final.
The final semifinal bouts of the night in the men’s division took place in the middleweight division. Peter Reyes (Long Island City, N.Y.) pulled out a one-point decision over LeShawn Rodriguez (Shirley, N.Y.), winning a 22-21 victory. He will face Daniel Valdivia (Tulare, Calif.) in the middleweight finale following his tiebreaker win over Carlos Monroe (Stone Mountain, Ga.).
Twenty-three open division championship bouts and eight junior final contests will take place on the last day of 2012 National PAL Championships action at the Seagate Centre with all the action beginning at 6 p.m.
Friday’s Championship round Results
11-12-year-old/70 lbs: Ray Ray Robinson, Cincinnati, Ohio dec. Judah Rodriguez, Humble, Texas, 14-2
11-12-year-old/75 lbs: Ty’Shaun Humphrey, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Kavon Robertson, Staunton, Va., 9-4
11-12-year-old/80 lbs: Adrian Benton, Cincinnati, Ohio dec. Niasheen Williams, Rochester, N.Y., 8-5
11-12-year-old/85 lbs: Desean Minor, Cincinnati, Ohio dec. Davis Paris, Rochester, N.Y., 17-7
11-12-year-old/95 lbs: Otha Jones, Toledo, Ohio dec. Davelle Smith, 22-6
11-12-year-old/110 lbs: Lorenzo Simpson, Balitmore, Md., dec. Harley Maderos, Brooklyn, N.Y., 19-11
11-12-year-old/114 lbs: Dillon Burrell, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Antonio Grant, Cincinnati, Ohio, 17-14
13-14-year-old/85 lbs: Otha Jones, Toledo, Ohio dec. Rudy Calixto, Delar, Md., 15-8
13-14-year-old/90 lbs: Nicholas Sullivan, Portsmouth, Va., dec. Thomas Blumenfield, Albany, N.Y., 14-5
13-14-year-old/95 lbs: Jody Gauthier II, Opelousas, La., dec. David Davis, Detroit, Mich., 11-7
13-14-year-old/101 lbs: Leon Lawson, Flint, Mich., dec. Jason Pauley, Marmet, W. Va., 20-3
13-14-year-old/106 lbs: Reshati Mati, Staten Island, N.Y., dec. Pedro Marrero, Tampa, Fla., 12-5
13-14-year-old/110 lbs: Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va., dec. Ivan Franco Calixto, Delar, Md.,16-12
13-14-year-old/114 lbs: Brandon Lee, Coachella, Calif., dec. Israel Garcia, Oxnard, Calif., Oxnard, Calif., 12-4
13-14-year-old/119 lbs: Michael Dutchover, Midland, Texas, dec. Christian White, Detroit, Mich., 9-8
13-14-year-old/125 lbs: Michael Nelson, Mansfield, Ohio dec. Sebastian Fundora, Tampa, Fla., 9-8
13-14-year-old/132 lbs: Mykquan Williams, E. Hartford, Conn., dec. James Denson, Jr., Akron, Ohio, 11-5
13-14-year-old/145 lbs: Janelson Figueroa, Detroit, Mich., dec. Charles Conwell, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 14-12
Friday’s semifinal results
15-16-year-old/101 lbs: Geovanny Martinez, Chicago, Ill., dec. Jimmy Serra, Paterson, N.J., 24-22
15-16-year-old/101 lbs: Saul Bravo, Santa Ana, Calif., dec. George Hammond IV, Shawnee, Kansas, 11-5
15-16-year-old/106 lbs: Bruce Cardington, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Samari Harte, 23-9
15-16-year-old/106 lbs: Cortez Todd, Detroit, Mich., dec. Keshawn Williams,
15-16-year-old/110 lbs: Tyrone Arzeno, Allentown, Pa., dec. Lawon Conner, Chicago, Ill., 15-3
15-16-year-old/114 lbs: Lawerence Newton, Deerfield Beach, Fla., stopped Sahim Cherry, Pleasantville, N.J., RSC-1
15-16-year-old/114 lbs: Carlos Balderas, Santa Monica, Calif., dec. Dallas Holden, Atlantic City, N.J., 19-8
15-16-year-old/132 lbs: Nasir Jones, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Lajuan Bright, Atlantic City, N.J., 8-8 (26-24)
15-16-year-old/138 lbs: Mark Dawson, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Larry Anderson, Joilet, Ill., 26-24
15-16-year-old/138 lbs: Dagoberto Mederos, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Zakery Rollins, Zanesville, Ohio, 8-7
15-16-year-old female/154 lbs: Dazzlin Turner, Cleveland Heights, Ohio stopped Jessica Balli, Port St. Lucie, Fla., RSC-2
15-16-year-old/154 lbs: Malik Hawkins, Baltimore, Md., dec. Jafet Medrano, Columbus, Ohio, 10-4
15-16-year-old/154 lbs: Alexis Rocha, Santa Ana, Calif., dec. Chase Calloway, St. Joseph, Mo., RSC-3
Open male/123 lbs: Dennis Galarza, Orlando, Fla., dec. Antwan Robinson, Baltimore, Md., 25-14
Open male/123 lbs: Gary Salazar, Fresno, Calif., dec. D’Andres Hockerson, Rochester, N.Y., 36-21
Open male/132 lbs: Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill., dec. Tommy Logan, Winter Haven, Fla., 19-12
Open male/132 lbs: Malik Montgomery, Macon, Ga., dec. Lavias Williams, Rochester, N.Y., 36-33
Open male/141 lbs: Julian Rodriguez, Paterson, N.J., dec. Damon Allen, Philadelphia, Pa., 19-14
Open male/141 lbs: Erickson Lubin, Orlando, Fla., dec. Kevin Johnson, Las Vegas, Nev., 18-11
Open male/152 lbs: Patrick Day, Freeport, N.Y., dec. Chardale Booker, Brooklyn, N.Y., 20-14
Open male/152 lbs: Rashidi Ellis, Lynn, Mass., dec. Jamontay Clark, Cincinnati, Ohio, 15-13
Open male/165 lbs: Daniel Valdivia, Tulare, Calif., dec. Carlos Monroe, Stone Mountain, Ga., 18-18 (60-59)
Open male/165 lbs: Peter Reyes, Long Island City, N.Y., dec. Leshawn Rodriguez, Shirley, N.Y., 22-21
Open female/165 lbs: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., 24-16
Open female/165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., stopped Dara Shen, Alexandria, Va., RSC-3 (:46)