(MOBILE, ALA.) – The day that 80 boxers have been waiting and training for finally arrived on Sunday as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing opened competition at the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Ala. The first session of action showcased 20 quarterfinal bouts in the light flyweight, bantamweight, light welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions with all of the day’s winners moving to the semifinals and their opponents dropping into the challengers bracket.
The smallest boxers in the tournament kicked off the tournament with four quarterfinal contests. Three-time national champion Louie Byrd (Denver, Colo.) rebounded from his final round loss at the USA Boxing National Championships with a 23-16 victory over Michael Benedosso (Fort Carson, Colo.) in his tournament opener. 2011 USA Boxing National Champion David Carlton (Cincinnati, Ohio) didn’t enjoy the same success in his Olympic Trials debut. 2005 National Champion Marco Rangel (Scottsdale, Ariz.) won a 21-23 decision over Carlton to advance on in the tournament.
Two-time bantamweight national champion Joseph Diaz, Jr. (El Monte, Calif.) earned his first Olympic Team Trials victory in Sunday’s afternoon action. Diaz took a 30-14 victory over Joe Perez (Fountain, Colo.) in the first bantamweight bout of the event. National Golden Gloves bantamweight champion recorded an opening round win as well, pulling out a 14-12 decision over 2011 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Joet Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.).
In welterweight action, 2011 USA Boxing National Champion Semajay Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) barely pulled out an opening round win, defeating George Rincon (Carrollton, Texas) by a 16-15 margin. His USA Boxing National Championships semifinal foe, Michael Reed (Waldorf, Md.) enjoyed a wider margin in his bout with 2009 National Champion Duran Caferro (Helena, Mont.). Reed took a 26-16 decision to move on to the semifinal round.
The middleweight division showcased two highly anticipated bouts, beginning with a showdown between former teammates and 2011 USA Boxing National Champions Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Chris Pearson (Trotwood, Ohio). Hart used his height and reach advantage to take an 18-6 victory over Pearson. 2010 National Champion Luis Arias (Milwaukee, Wis.) enjoyed the opportunity to avenge his loss from the USA Boxing National Championships in his opening bout. Arias defeated 2011 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Edgar Alvarado, Jr. (San Bernadino, Calif.), 20-16 in the second middleweight bout of the tournament. Alvarado won a one-point decision over Arias at the recent National Championships en route to his silver medal. Antoine Douglas (Burke, Va.) put on an impressive display in his first Olympic Team Trials contest, landing hard shots and giving Damarius Russell (Camp Lejeune, N.C.) multiple eight counts on his way to a 26-14 win.
The bout everyone has been waiting for finally came to fruition in the heavyweight class. 2008 Olympic Team Trials champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) and 2010 USA Boxing Athlete of the Year Steve Geffrard (Boca Raton, Fla.) both recorded opening round wins to set up a bout between the two in Monday’s action. Hunter won a convincing 24-12 decision over Andrew Tabiti (Las Vegas, Nev.) to advance while Geffrard faced off in a closer bout with James Shorter (Elkhart, Ind.) Geffrard pulled out a 24-22 decision to move on to the semifinal round.
U.S. Olympic Team Trials action will recommence at 6 p.m. with bouts in the flyweight, lightweight, welterweight, light heavyweight, and super heavyweight divisions. For the most up to date results, go to www.usaboxing.org .
Sunday Afternoon Results
108 lbs: Eros Correa, San Jose, Calif., dec. Norberto Torres, Orlando, Fla., 20-13
108 lbs: Marco Rangel, Scottsdale, Ariz., dec. David Carlton, Cincinnati, Ohio, 23-21
108 lbs: Louie Byrd, Denver, Colo., dec. Michael Benedosso, Fort Carson, Colo., 23-16
108 lbs: Gregory Outlaw, Glenarden, Md., dec. Santos Vasquez, Sun Valley, Nev., 17-16
123 lbs: Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis., dec. Isaac Torres, Mission, Texas, 23-14
123 lbs: Joseph Diaz, Jr., El Monte, Calif., dec. Joe Perez, Fountain, Colo., 30-14
123 lbs: Tramaine Williams, New Haven, Conn., dec. Joet Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., 14-12
123 lbs: O’Shanique Foster, Orange, Texas dec. Antonio Nieves, Cleveland, Ohio, 16-16 (90-76)
141 lbs: Pedro Sosa, Bronx, N.Y., won on disqualification over Gary Allen Russell, III, Capitol Heights, Md., DQ
141 lbs: Jamel Herring, Camp Lejeune, Fla., dec. Thomas Duquette, Waltham, Mass., 12-12 (66-58)
141 lbs: Semajay Thomas, Chicago, Ill., dec. George Rincon, Carrollton, Texas, 16-15
141 lbs: Michael Reed, Washington, D.C., dec. Duran Caferro, Helena, Mont., 26-16
165 lbs: D’mitrius Ballard, Temple Hills, Md., dec. Martez Jackson, Valdosta, Ga., 20-19
165 lbs: Luis Arias, Milwaukee, Wis., dec. Edgar Alvarado, San Bernadino, Calif., 20-16
165 lbs: Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Chris Pearson, Trotwood, Ohio, 18-6
165 lbs: Antoine Douglas, Burke, Va., dec. Damarius Russell, Camp Lejeune, N.C., 26-14
201 lbs: Jordan Shimmell, Hudsonville, Mich., dec. Robert Jekabson, Chicago, Ill., 24-15
201 lbs: Joseph Williams, Queens, N.Y., dec. Charles Blackwell, Tucson, Ariz., 22-8
201 lbs: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Andrew Tabiti, Las Vegas, Nev., 24-12
201 lbs: Steve Geffrard, Boca Raton, Fla., dec. James Shorter, Elkhart, Ind., 24-22
“I felt real good. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. I was a little jittery, but it goes away. Every fighter gets a little jittery, this is a big stage.”
“I’ve always been a fighter who gets better as the tournament goes on. That performance, I give a B.”
“It felt good (to avenge the loss to Alvarado). That was a bad day. It felt good to come to the Olympic Trials and draw him (Edgar Alvarado Jr.) on the first day and prove that I’m a better fighter.”
“ The fight was good, but I was a little rusty. I haven’t fought since the PAL tournament.
“Training Camp in California was great. I’ve been getting great sparring and I’ve ben training with Amir Khan.”
“I’m going to stay busier, I’ve got to be ten times busier then I was today (against Hunter). Hopefully that fight was the last fight to get the rust off, but like I said, I just have to stay busier.”