Oshae Jones remains red hot after literally having to walk through fire to get to Tokyo.
The 23-year-old Toledo native is the second American boxer to advance to the quarterfinal round of the welterweight bracket following a three-round split decision win over Mexico's Brianda Tamara Cruz.
Jones—whose brother Otha Jones III is a current pro—won on three scorecards (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), overruling two cards in favor of Cruz in their second round bout Tuesday evening at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Deemed the best shot at bringing home a medal for the U.S., Jones continues to make every moment count. She survived a fire to her home this past May, with the blaze destroying $60,000 worth of boxing equipment along with other valuables.
Most of her boxing gear was ultimately replaced, while overcoming such adversity has only further energized her in the ring. Jones—who fights out of Soul City Boxing which also produced 2016 U.S. Olympic middleweight Charles Conwell—jumped out to a fast and purposeful start, working the body as Cruz struggled to keep pace.
An adjustment was made by Cruz in round two, inching in closer and able to land her right hand. Jone was still landing the cleaner punches and often in combination as she extended her lead on three of the five scorecards.
The same trend played out in the third and final round, with Cruz enjoying more success. In fact, it was enough to surprisingly win on four of the five scorecards, forcing Jones to settle for a split decision rather than a unanimous one.
Nevertheless, it still adds up to a win, the second one of the day for the U.S. team as she joins fellow Ohio native Delante Johnson (Cleveland) in the quarterfinals. Johnson moved forward in the men's welterweight division, also by split decision in a minor upset over Kazakhstan's Ablaikhan Zhussupov.
Jones is the first U.S. female fighter to compete at welterweight, which makes its debut with this summer's games. She now has a chance to medal, her fate to be determined in Friday's showdown with Dominican Republic's Maria Moronta.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox