(MOBILE, ALA.) – The start of U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing is now just one day away and the event excitement began on Saturday evening with the official event draw. The non-seeded boxers in each of the 10 weight classes draw ping pong balls to determine their opening round opponents and spot in the winners bracket. Event competition will begin on Sunday with sessions at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Mobile Civic Center.
Several outstanding bouts are on tap for the opening day of competition at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Two-time Olympian and 2007 World Champion Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) will open his third straight Olympic Trials in a bout against 2011 USA Boxing National Champion John Franklin (Fort Carson, Colo.) Franklin is familiar with the Olympic Trials process as well, having competed in the 2008 event.
Former United States Olympic Education Center teammates and 2011 USA Boxing National Champions Chris Pearson (Trotwood, Ohio) and Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) will battle in opening day competition on Sunday. Hart claimed his 2011 National Championship at the light heavyweight division, but is moving back down to the middleweight class for his Olympic run.
Two Washington DC area boxers will face off in the light heavyweight division as 2011 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Jerry Odom (Bowie, Md.) takes on Shaborn Ryals (Capitol Heights, Md.) in the opening bout of the tournament for both boxers. Ryals enters the tournament fresh off his victory at the Last Chance Qualifier tournament.
The story is similar in the heavyweight division as two Las Vegas natives are slated to compete on opening day as well. 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials super heavyweight champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) is back for a second run at the Olympic Games and he will open competition in a bout with Andrew Tabiti (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Olympic Team Trials action will begin tomorrow with sessions at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. central time and full winners bracket are attached. Results will be disseminated at the end of each session and can be found on USA Boxing’s website at www.usaboxing.org
U.S. Olympic Team Trials Quotes
Semajay Thomas – 2011 USA Boxing Light Welterweight National Champion
On making it to the Olympic Trials
“It feels good to be here. It’s a dream come true. It took a lot of work to get here.”
On what gives him confidence
“I’ve beaten four of the guys already. I’ve trained hard and put the work in.”
On what fans should expect from Semajay
“Skills, intelligence, angles, and speed. I have a lot of styles and I can adjust to a lot of different styles.”
Joseph Diaz – Two-time USA Boxing National Champion
On how it feels to be in the Olympic Trials
“I’m excited. Everyone is coming to win and I’m coming to win. There are going to be some really good fights.”
On the pressure of the Olympic Trials
“I actually don’t feel any more pressure. It just feels like another fight. I am always prepared. It’s just another fight that I have to win.”
On why he will win the tournament
“Because I’m focused and I’ve put a lot of time in the gym. I’m hungry for it, I know everyone else is too, but I’m starving!”
On what he’s most excited for
“To fight the best in the country and hopefully come out on top and represent the U.S. in the 2012 Games.”
Jesse Hart – 2011 National Golden Gloves and USA Boxing National Championships
On how he’s feeling
“I’m feeling good. It is a wonderful feeling to be amongst these great fighters.”
On what it means to finally be at the Olympic Trials
“It means a lot, all the blood, sweat, and tears for this. I give all the glory to God.”
On coming down from light heavyweight to middleweight
“I was originally 165 lbs, but we wanted different work.”
Steve Geffard – 2010 USA Boxing Athlete of the Year
On how long he’s been waiting to go to the Olympic Trials
“I’ve been waiting about seven years, since I started boxing.”
On how he’s feeling
“ I’m definitely 100% ready, it’s the best camp I have had.”
On why it was his best camp yet
“I went to California for about two months and trained at the world famous Wild Card Gym. It allowed me to get world class sparring, and I was away from my family and friends so I could focus.”
On any boxer posing a threat
“No, this is the Olympic Trials. Everyone has been training just as hard as me and I have to look at them all as an equal threat.”
Lenroy Thompson, Two-time Super Heavyweight National Champion
On how it feels to be at the Olympic Trials
“It’s awesome. It’s an honor.”
On what he’s most looking forward to
“Winning. I wish I could win with one fight. I just want to get it over with, I’ve been waiting four years.”
On how his training has been different for the Olympic Trials
“Yes, the last few I didn’t need to participate in so I didn’t take them serious. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring, and sprinting for the first time. I’ve been focused and not partying.”
On any specific opponents he’s focusing on
“No, all of them. If they are here they deserve to be here. I’m not worried about the draw as long as I do my best I should be okay.”
Sunday’s Olympic Team Trials Bout Sheets
1 p.m. session
108 lbs: David Carlton, Cincinnati, Ohio vs. Marco Rangel, Scottsdale, Ariz.
108 lbs: Eros Correa, San Jose, Calif. vs. Norberto Torres, Orlando, Fla.
108 lbs: Gregory Outlaw, Glenarden, Md., vs. Santos Vasquez, Sparks, Nev.
108 lbs: Michael Benedosso, Fort Carson, Colo. vs. Louie Byrd, Denver, Colo.
123 lbs: Joseph Diaz, Jr., El Monte, Calif., vs. Joe Perez, Fountain, Colo.
123 lbs: Isaac Torres, Mission, Texas vs. Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis.
123 lbs: Antonio Nieves, Cleveland, Ohio vs. O’Shanique Foster, Orange, Texas
123 lbs: Tramaine Williams, New Haven, Conn., vs. Joet Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif.
141 lbs: Semajay Thomas, Chicago, Ill., vs. George Rincon, Carrollton, Texas
141 lbs: Pedro Sosa, Bronx, N.Y. vs. Gary Allan Russell III, Capitol Heights, Md.
141 lbs: Michael Reed, Waldorf, Md., vs. Duran Caferro, Helena, Mont.
141 lbs: Jamal Herring, Camp Lejeune, N.C. vs. Thomas Duquette, Waltham, Mass.
165 lbs: Chris Pearson, Trotwood, Ohio vs. Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa.
165 lbs: D’Mitrius Ballard, Temple Hills, Md., vs. Martez Jackson, Valdosta, Ga.
165 lbs: Antoine Douglas, Burke, Va., vs. Damarius Russell, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
165 lbs: Luis Arias, Milwaukee, Wis., vs. Edgar Alvarado, Jr., San Bernadino, Calif.
201 lbs: Jordan Shimmell, Hudsonville, Mich., vs. Robert Jekabson, Chicago, Ill.
201 lbs: Charles Blackwell, Tucson, Ariz., vs. Joseph Williams, Far Rockaway, N.Y.
201 lbs: James Shorter, Elkhart, Ind. vs. Steve Geffrard, Boca Raton, Fla.
201 lbs: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev., vs. Andrew Tabiti, Las Vegas, Nev.
6 p.m. sessionTags: Amateur Boxing
114 lbs: John Franklin, Fort Carson, Colo., vs. Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio
114 lbs: Stephon Young, St. Louis, Mo., vs. Gabriel Montoya, St. Louis, Mo.
114 lbs: Emilio Sanchez, Pacoima, Calif., vs. Shawn Simpson, Chicago, Ill.
114 lbs: Adam Lopez, San Antonio, Texas vs. Oscar Cantu, Kingsville, Texas
132 lbs: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif., vs. Toribio Ramirez, Jr., Bowling Green, Fla.
132 lbs: Erick DeLeon, Lincoln Park, Mich., vs. Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
132 lbs: Damon Allen, Philadelphia, Pa., vs. Raynell Williams, Cleveland, Ohio
132 lbs: Luis Cruz, Bronx, N.Y. vs. Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I.
152 lbs: Errol Spence, Desoto, Texas vs. Samuel Vasquez, Fort Carson, Colo.
152 lbs: Bryant Perrella, Lehigh Acres, Fla., vs. Regis Prograis, Houston, Texas
152 lbs: Willie Jones, Charlotte, N.C., vs. Arturo Trujillo, Easton, Pa.
152 lbs: Amir Imam, Albany, N.Y. vs. Luis Olivares, Glendale, Ariz.
178 lbs: Caleb Plant, Ashland City, Tenn., vs. Jeffery Spencer, Fort Carson, Colo.
178 lbs: Marcus Browne, Staten Island, N.Y., vs. Sean Bettencourt, Stoughton, Mass.
178 lbs: Sijuola Shabazz, Las Cruces, N.M., vs. Robert Brant, Oakdale, Minn.
178 lbs: Shaborn Ryals, Capitol Heights, Md., vs. Jerry Odom, Bowie, Md.
201+ lbs: Jonathan Hamm, St. Paul, Minn., vs. Brett Rather, Las Vegas, Nev.
201+ lbs: Andrew Shepherd, Fort Carson, Colo., vs. O’Jayland Brown, Sacramento, Calif.
201+ lbs: Dominic Breazale, Alhambra, Calif., vs. Donovan Dennis, Davenport, Iowa
201+ lbs: Lenroy Thompson, Lenexa, Kansas vs. Laron Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif