If not for the global health crisis, the selected members of the 2020 United States Olympic Boxing team would be in Tokyo right now in anticipation of the Summer Olympics.
Instead, the USA Boxing Olympic Qualification team along with a number of hopefuls have reported to a second straight training camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Conspicuously missing from the list, however, is the one boxer the U.S. had pegged as the best shot at claiming gold next summer in Tokyo.
Keyshawn Davis, the number-one ranked lightweight (138-pound) amateur boxer in the world was a glaring omission from the 22-person roster reporting to Olympic City USA in Colorado Springs on Monday. The 21-year old from Norfolk, Virginia was named among the initial 13-person USA Olympic Boxing Qualification team after beating Ernesto Mercado via walkover in the Olympic Trials last December in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
However, Davis was not listed among the 14-member team which reported for camp on June 9. Nor is he among the expanded 22-person squad presently at Olympic City USA through July 28 for the team’s first full training camp on site since mid-March, when the team broke at the start of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has delayed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a full year.
Listed in the 138-pound division is Charlie Sheehy, who dropped a competitive decision to Davis in the Olympic Trials. Sheehy was ousted from the double elimination competition after losing a disputed decision versus Mercado, who—rather than compete with Davis for a place on Team USA—opted to instead represent Nicaragua next year in Tokyo.
That assignment is now left to Sheehy, the current Olympic lightweight alternate who is now listed at number-one for the weight. The 21-year old from Brisbane, California has since participated in each of the sanctioned Team USA training camps and has already gained the confidence of USA Boxing coaches who give him a favorable chance of medalling should he compete in Tokyo.
The question now is if there remains any roadblock to get there.
Shortly after returning home, Davis went on record claiming there was a 70% chance he would forgo the delayed Olympics in favor of turning pro. The gifted amateur—a silver medalist in the 2019 World Amateur Championships at lightweight—reversed course, upon the advice of a more celebrated gym teammate.
Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8KOs) brought in Davis as a sparring partner in preparation for an eventual Silver medal run in the 2016 Rio Olympics. From there, Stevenson went on to turn pro, claiming a featherweight title and now competes as a junior lightweight. He advised Davis to stick it out in the amateurs—even with the year-long delay—insisting that “going to the Olympics makes you a much better fighter. It gives you the experience that really gets you ready for the pros.”
It remains to be seen if Davis continues to heed that advice, after now not participating in two straight camps.
Representatives for Team USA Boxing did not respond to an inquiry from BoxingScene.com seeking comment as this goes to publish.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox