(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – 2011 USA Boxing Championships competition rolled into the semifinal round on Thursday with one session at the Colorado Springs Christian School. All of the competitors in 13 Olympic weight classes already had a weight lifted off their shoulders, having earned berths in the U.S. Olympic Trials but that didn’t deter them from chasing a national title.
After three days of upsets, seven reigning national champions made a return trip to championship night. Light flyweight Louie Byrd (Denver, Colo.) is now one win away from his fourth straight national championship. Following a tiebreaker victory in Wednesday’s quarterfinal action, Byrd enjoyed a slightly easier day in Thursday’s semifinals. He took a 17-11 decision to move on to a championship bout with David Carlton (Cincinnati, Ohio) on Saturday night.
Female flyweight national champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will compete for her sixth straight title on Saturday night following her victory over Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) in their semifinal bout. Esparza avenged her loss from their March battle with a 9-3 victory over Cruz in the third battle between the two. Esparza will take on Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.) on Saturday night in a rematch of the 2010 National Championships finale.
Two straight national champions earned final round bouts in the men’s bantamweight and lightweight divisions. 2010 Bantamweight National Champion Joseph Diaz, Jr. (El Monte, Calif.) won a 27-12 decision over Antonio Nieves (Cleveland, Ohio) in their semifinal contest to clinch his spot in the finals for the second straight year. Diaz will vie for another bantamweight crown on Saturday against Joet Gonzlaez (Glendora, Conn.).
Lightweight titlist Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) enjoyed similar success in his semifinal contest with Damon Allen (Philadelphia, Pa.). Ramirez claimed a berth in Saturday’s action with a disqualification victory over Allen. Ramirez will attempt to defend his title against 2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist Toka Kahn-Clary (Providence, R.I.) in the lightweight final.
In women’s lightweight action, four-time titlist Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) got more than she bargained for in her semifinal bout with previously unknown N’yteeyah Sherman (Barberton, Ohio). Sherman, who was competing in her first national tournament, used her height and reach to challenge Underwood. Yet the reigning Queen of the lightweight division pulled out a 23-23 tiebreaker decision on her 116-96 total punch count edge. Underwood will face Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) in her bid for her fifth straight national championship.
Defending female light welterweight national champion Cashmere Jackson (Cleveland, Ohio) is the sole non-Olympic weight class champion to return to championship night. She moves on following a slim 17-16 win over Kathleen Walsh (Rankankama, N.Y.). Jackson will take on Luvisa Matali (Denver, Colo.) in the finals on Saturday afternoon.
Two-time welterweight national champion Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) was the final reigning champion to punch his ticket for finals night. Spence defeated Willie Jones (Charlotte, N.C.) in their semifinal showdown to keep his bid for the three-peat in tact. Spence’s next challenge will come from Luis Olivares (Glendale, Ariz.) as the two battle in the welterweight final.
Two former female middleweight champions will battle it out for the 2011 crown on Saturday in the finals. Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) both claimed semifinal victories on Wednesday. Crews pulled out a 14-13 decision over Tiffanie Ward (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) while DeFazio defeated former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
The tiebreaker streak continued in light heavyweight action when 2011 National Golden Gloves middleweight champion Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) took on 2008 Olympic Training Partner Sijuola Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.). Shabazz came out on the winning end of a tiebreaker in Wednesday’s quarterfinals but it was Hart taking the victory in the semifinals. Hart claimed the win based upon his 66-58 total punch count advantage, which broke a 12-12 tie.
2009 National Champion Jordan Shimell (Hudsonville, Mich.) is making a return to championship night following his 19-7 win over James Shorter (Elkhart, Ind.). He will compete for his second USA Boxing National Championships title in a heavyweight showdown with Andrew Tabiti (Las Vegas, Nev.).
Super heavyweight Laron Mitchell (San Francisco, Calif.) followed up his upset win over Lenroy Thompson (Uniondale, N.Y.) with a 17-14 victory over O’Jayland Brown (Sacramento, Calif.) in the semifinals. Mitchell will aim to continue his winning streak on Saturday night when he battles Jonathan Hamm (St. Paul, Minn.) in the super heavyweight final
Women’s light flyweights Amy Sowers (Bozeman, Mont.) and Marina Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) grabbed the first finals spots with wins in their respective semifinal bouts. Sowers won a 16-10 decision over Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gilroy, Calif.) to advance with Ramirez defeating Lisa Ha (Honolulu, Hawaii), 15-13. In women’s bantamweight action, Amanda Pavone (Burlington, Mass.) both earned semifinal victories and will compete for a national championship on Saturday afternoon. Female featherweight boxers Heather Hardy (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Elizabeth Leddy (Portland, Maine) will face off on Saturday as well following Thursday wins. Amournix Stamp (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Stephanie Taylor (West Hills, Calif.) won the last finals berths and will compete in the welterweight title bout.
The semifinalists who failed to advance will compete in consolation bouts on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Christian School. That will be the last session to take place in the first venue with all of the finals bouts moving to the historic City Auditorium. Women’s non-Olympic bouts will be contested at 2 p.m. and are free and open to the public and the 13 Olympic bouts will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.ticketswest.com. The 6 p.m. session will be webcast live at www.usaboxing.org.
Semifinal Bout Results
106 lbs/female: Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont., dec. Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif., 16-10
106 lbs/female: Marina Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii, 15-13
108 lbs/male: David Carlton, Cincinnati, Ohio, dec. Gregory Outlaw, Glenarden, Md., 16-8
108 lbs/male: Louie Byrd, Denver, Colo., dec. Norberto Torres, Baltimore, Md., 17-11
112 lbs/female: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., 17-11
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., 9-3
114 lbs/male: Oscar Cantu, Kingsville, Texas, won on walkover over, Gabriel Montoya, Cheyenne, Wyo., W/O
114 lbs/male: John Franklin, Fort Carson, Colo., dec. Emilio Sanchez, Pacoima, Calif., 23-22
119 lbs/female: Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., dec. Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb., 29-15
119 lbs/female: Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii, stopped Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn., RSC-3 (1:44)
123 lbs/male: Joseph Diaz Jr., El Monte, Calif., dec. Antonio Nieves, Cleveland, Ohio, 27-12
123 lbs/male: Joet Gonzalez, Glendora, Conn., dec. Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis., 10-8
125 lbs/female: Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., 25-9
125 lbs/female: Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine, dec. Lori Argumedo, Commerce, Calif., 24-10
132 lbs/male: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif., won on disqualification over Damon Allen, Philadelphia, Pa., DQ
132 lbs/male: Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I., dec. Kenneth Sims Jr., Chicago, Ill., 23-22
132 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., 13-7
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio, 23-23 (116-96)
141 lbs/male: Thomas Duquette, Waltham, Mass., won on medical walkover over Gary Allen Russell III, Capitol Heights, Md., Medical W/O
141 lbs/male: Semajay Thomas, Chicago, Ill., wins on disqualification over, Michael Reed, Waldorf, Md.
141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., 17-16
141 lbs/female: Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., dec. Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., 17-11
152 lbs/male: Errol Spence, DeSoto, Texas, dec. Willie Jones, Charlotte, N.C., 21-12
152 lbs/male: Luis Olivares, Glendale, Ariz., dec. Regis Prograis, Houston, Texas, 18-12
152 lbs/female: Amournix Stamp, Milwaukee, Wis., dec. Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif., 7-6
152 lbs/female: Stephanie Taylor, West Hills, Calif., won on walkover over, Diana Wigand, Lexington, Ky., W/O
165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., 14-13
165 lbs/female: Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz., dec. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., 20-14
165 lbs/male: Chris Pearson, Trotwood, Ohio, dec. Antoine Douglas, Burke, Va., 14-7
165 lbs/male: Edgar Alvarado Jr., San Bernadino, Calif., dec. Martez Jackson, Valdosta, Ga., 16-14
178lbs/male: Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Sijuola Shabazz, Las Cruces, N.M., 12-12 (66-58)
178 lbs/male: Jerry Odom, Bowie, Md., stopped Sean Bettencourt, Stoughton, Mass., RSC-3 (2:44)
201 lbs/male: Andrew Tabiti, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Joseph Williams, Far Rockaway, N.Y., 8-8 (47-39)
201 lbs/male: Jordan Shimmell, Hudsonville, Mich., dec. James Shorter, Elkhart, Ind., 19-7
201+ lbs/male: Laron Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif., dec. O’Jayland Brown, Sacramento, Calif., 17-14
201+ lbs/male: Jonathan Hamm, St. Paul, Minn., dec. Dominic Breazeale, Anaheim, Calif., 10-8