(PHILADELPHIA, PA.) – The United States and Puerto Rico faced off in world boxing dual action on Saturday night at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., with four United States Olympians taking the ring for one of their final bouts before the 2008 Olympic Games.
Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) returned to his Latin Legend form with a dominating performance in his contest with Bryan Aquino (Puerto Rico), winning a third round stoppage. Yanez took over from the opening bell, dropping Aquino to the canvas in the first round, and using his hand speed and superior skill to pile up a 9-0 lead after the first. He continued to dominate in the second, adding to his point total while holding Aquino scoreless en route to a 14-0 lead at the midway point. Yanez kept his foot on the gas into the third, winning the stoppage victory at the 1:06 mark of the round.
In the first flyweight bout, Bruno Escalante (Waimanalo, Hawaii) faced off with Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez in a razor-tight contest. The bout was close from the opening bell with Escalante and Gonzalez boxing to a 4-4 tie after the first. Gonzalez grabbed the lead in second round of action, taking an 8-6 advantage at the halfway mark. Escalante chipped away at his lead in the third, pulling the bout to a 10-all tie as the fourth round began. The final two minutes couldn’t break the tie as the bout was deadlocked at 16 as the bell rang. With the total punch count tied at 37, the decision went to a judges’ poll and Gonzalez claimed the win on a 2-1 judges’ poll advantage.
2007 World Champion Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) was the third U.S. boxer to climb through the ropes, facing off with Carlos Ortiz of Puerto Rico. Warren emerged from the corner blazing, scoring with quick combinations and dropping Ortiz to take an 11-2 lead after the first round. He continued his onslaught in the second, adding to his point total with quick shots to claim a 17-3 advantage after four rounds of boxing. Warren kept Ortiz from landing a single scoring blow in the third while landing six of his own to win a mandatory stoppage victory at the 1:08 mark of round.
In bantamweight action, David Clark (San Diego, Calif.) came into the ring looking for an international win following a long string of close losses and he accomplished his mission, winning a 29-24 decision over Puerto Rico’s Hector Marrero. It was Marrero grabbing the first lead, claiming a 5-4 advantage after the first. Yet Clark stole the momentum in the second round, letting loose with a barrage of punches, scoring 14 points to take an 18-10 advantage after the second. Clark’s pace slowed slightly in the third, but he wouldn’t relinquish his lead. He took a strong 23-16 edge into final round of boxing and held on over the final two minutes to win the 29-24 final victory.
2008 National Champion Robert Rodriguez (Evans, Colo.) continued the U.S. winning streak in his featherweight bout with Jorge Maysonet of Puerto Rico. Rodriguez enjoyed a quick start in the contest, moving out to an 11-7 lead after the first two minutes of boxing. He kept piling on the points throughout the second round, and his efforts earned Rodriguez a 20-16 lead in the fast-paced bout. Yet Maysonet chipped away at Rodriguez’s lead in the third, pulling the bout to a 25-25 tie as the final round began. Rodriguez refused to be denied, scoring 12 points in the final two minutes to win a 37-30 final decision and the fourth win of the night for the U.S. team.
Brooklyn Olympian Sadam Ali took the ring to loud support from a vocal contingent on hand for his lightweight match-up with Puerto Rico’s Reynaldo Ojeda. Ali took the first lead and never let it go, scoring early and often throughout the four rounds. He grabbed an 11-5 decision after one round, but really began to pour on the points in the second. Ali landed 16 scoring blows in the second round to take a commanding 27-9 edge at the halfway mark. He nearly recorded the mandatory stoppage win in the third but Ojeda managed to keep his lead under 20 to push the bout to the final round. Yet Ali pushed his advantage to 20 in the fourth to win a 40-20 final decision.
Light welterweight Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.) took the record for United States Olympians to 4-0 with a stoppage win over Luis Gonzalez of Puerto Rico in their match-up. Following a slow-paced first round in which Molina kept Gonzalez from scoring a blow, the Los Angeles native turned up the heat in the second. He more than doubled his five point first round lead in the third, taking a 13-1 edge after four minutes of boxing. Molina kept up the pressure in the third, pushing his lead to 24-4 in the final seconds of the round to win the mandatory stoppage win at the 1:53 mark.
2008 National Champion Javontae Starks (Minneapolis, Minn.) claimed his first major international win in his welterweight contest with Ricardo Reyes of Puerto Rico. The bout was close through the first round with Starks holding a slim 8-5 advantage following two minutes of boxing. He continued to dictate the action in the second, pushing his lead to a 17-7 at the midway point. The trend continued in the third with Starks once again adding nine points to his total, and he enjoyed a 26-10 edge as the final round began. He held on through the final two minutes to win a 32-14 final decision.
In middleweight action, 2008 National Champion Luis Arias (Milwaukee, Wis.) kept the U.S. winning streak rolling, taking a third round retirement victory over Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo. Arias took the first lead in the contest, dropping Collazo to the canvas and moving out to a 7-3 advantage at the end of one round. He continued to control the action in the second, taking a 13-9 lead after four minutes of boxing. Yet the Puerto Rican coaches decided they had seen enough in the third, throwing in the towel to give Arias the win at the :03 mark of the third round.
Puerto Rico notched their second victory of the night in light heavyweight action as 2008 Olympian Carlos Negron won a third round stoppage outscored victory over Siju Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.). Negron led from the opening bell, enjoying a 22-6 lead after two rounds of boxing. He added four points to his total in the third stanza to win the third round stoppage at the :24 mark of the contest.
The super heavyweight division closed the action as Kimdo Bethel (Albany, N.Y.) faced off with Puerto Rico’s Juan Jacob. Bethel took the early lead in the bout and pushed it to a 15-1 advantage after two rounds. Jacob quickly grew frustrated and began to foul Bethel, but he refused to lose focus and he went on to a win a 28-5 decision.
The United States recorded nine victories to two for Puerto Rico on the evening, giving them the overall dual victory.
2004 Olympic Coach Anthony Bradley (Philadelphia, Pa.) and 2008 Olympic coaches Willy Price (Peshtigo, Wis.) and Robert Martin (Washington DC) led the team in Philadelphia.
106 lbs/48 kg: Luis Yanez, Duncanville, Texas/USA stopped Bryan Aquino, Puerto Rico, RSCO-3 (1:06)
112 lbs/51 kg: Jonathan Gonzalez, Caguas, Puerto Rico, dec. Bruno Escalante, Waimanalo, Hawaii/USA
112 lbs/51 kg: Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA stopped Carlos Ortiz, Puerto Rico, RSCO-3 (1:08)
119 lbs/54 kg: David Clark, San Diego, Calif., dec. Hector Marrero, Puerto Rico, 29-24
125 lbs/57 kg: Robert Rodriguez, Evans, Colo/USA., dec. Jorge Maysonet, Puerto Rico, 37-30
132 lbs/60 kg: Sadam Ali, Brooklyn, N.Y./USA dec. Reynaldo Ojeda, Puerto Rico, 40-20
141 lbs/64 kg: Javier Molina, Commerce, Calif./USA stopped. Luis Gonzalez, Puerto Rico, RSCO-3 (1:53)
152 lbs/69 kg: Javontae Starks, Minneapolis, Minn./USA dec. Ricardo Reyes, Puerto Rico, 32-14
165 lbs/75 kg: Luis Arias, Milwaukee, Wis./USA won on retirement over Enrique Collazo, Puerto Rico, RET-3 (:03)
178 lbs/81 kg: Carlos Negron, Puerto Rico, stopped Siju Shabazz, Las Cruces, N.M./USA, RSCO-3 (:24)
201+ lbs/91+ kg: Kimdo Bethel, Albany, N.Y./USA dec. Juan Jacob, Puerto Rico, 25-8