(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The United States Boxing Team has been eliminated from contention at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico following losses by the final four competitors on Monday. Flyweight John Franklin (Colorado Springs, Colo.), lightweight Toka Kahn Clary (Providence, R.I.), light heavyweight Jeffery Spencer (Fort Carson, Colo.), and super heavyweight Danny Kelly (Washington DC) all dropped their quarterfinal contests in Monday’s quarterfinal action at the Guadalajara Expo Arena.
Franklin was the first U.S. competitor to take the ring, battling Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez in his first Pan American Games bout. Ramirez took the early lead, holding a 6-1 advantage after the first round. Ramirez extended his edge to an 11-2 margin after the second round and the referee stopped the contest in third stanza to give the Cuban the victory.
Franklin admitted that he struggled to adapt to the Cuban’s unique style. “I wanted to go forward with my hands up and just try to execute that, but when I got in there, the guy was elusive. He was very slick and his punches came from all over the place. I couldn’t really D it up the way I wanted to,” Franklin said. “My coaches wanted me to throw the right uppercut because he kept leaning every time I jabbed. He just out-smarted me today. He felt stronger than me today and that’s not something I’m used to. It kind of threw me off.”
Kelly was the second American boxer to compete in the day’s afternoon action as he battled Colombia’s Isaias Mena in super heavyweight action. The contest was the closest of the day for the U.S. squad with Kelly and Mena boxing to a 4-4 tie after the first round. The Colombian boxer grabbed a slim 8-7 advantage in the second stanza, and Kelly wasn’t able to take the lead over the final three minutes. Mena won a 13-11 final decision over Kelly, eliminating him from the tournament.
“I pretty much wanted to stay behind my jab. He threw the straight right hand a couple times. I followed behind instead of cutting the ring off,” Kelly said of Mena. “I think I won it because in the last round he didn’t hit me with any punches. I started off slow. I beat myself.”
Kahn Clary took on Brazil’s Robson Conceicao in the first U.S. contest of the evening session, and he wasn’t able to record the first victory for the American squad. Kahn Clary trailed 7-2 after the first and faced an 18-5 deficit after the second stanza. The place was slower in the third round, but Kahn Clary dropped a 21-6 final decision to Conceicao in their lightweight quarterfinal contest.
“I was surprised at the way he came at me. I didn't think he would jump at me like that. When I watched him fight, he came out a little slower. But when he jumped at me, it changed my game plan. I had to go to a different game plan. When that happened, I couldn't let my hands go and I couldn't find a rhythm,” Kahn Clary said of Conceicao. “I didn't feel he was better than me. He was a strong fighter, but I didn't feel he was better than me. I just didn't feel I had the experience to adapt to his style. It just wasn't my night. I felt like I had the faster hands and the better footwork and I really wasn't using it that much.”
Spencer closed the night in a tough bout with reigning World Champion Julio de la Cruz of Cuba. Like many of his U.S. teammates, Spencer fell behind early in the bout. De la Cruz outscored Spencer 7-1 in each of the first two rounds en route to a 19-2 final decision. The loss ended Spencer’s Pan American Games and eliminated Team USA from contention in Guadalajara.
“Our plan was to stay low and box him, but after the first round, they had me down 1-7. I kind of got discouraged with the score, but it was my fault for not executing our game plan,” Spencer said. “It's a learning process. Everything that happens in boxing is a learning process. I just take it as a learning experience and move on.”
Coaches Gloria Peek (Richmond, Va.), Bruce Kawano (Pearl City, Hawaii) and Charles Leverette (Fort Carson, Colo.) led Team USA at the 2011 Pan American Games.
For a full schedule and live results from the boxing competition at the 2011 Pan American Games, go to: http://info.guadalajara2011.org.mx/ENG/ZZ/[email protected]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ENG.htm.
114 lbs/male: Robeisy Ramirez, CUB, stopped John Franklin, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, RSC-3
132 lbs/male: Robson Conceicao, BRA, dec. Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I./USA, 21-6
178 lbs/male: Julio de la Cruz, CUB, dec. Jeffery Spencer, Fountain, Colo./USA, 19-2
201+ lbs/male: Isaias Mena, COL, dec. Danny Kelly, Washington DC/USA, 13-11