The United States Claims Four Gold Medals at the Women's Pan American Championships(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) - The United States closed the 2008 Women's Pan American Championships with a bang on Tuesday, winning four gold medals at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The United States team led the tournament in the number of finalists with nine boxers competing in championship round action.
Three-time light flyweight champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) kicked off the action for her United States, winning her tournament opener. Esparza claimed a convincing 14-2 decision over Brazil's Daniela Suza in the bout to win the light flyweight gold medal.
The United States returned to the winning side in light bantamweight Sacred Downing's (Trenton, N.J.) bout with Loren Capecce of Brazil. The multi-time national champion extended her success to the international level, winning an 11-3 decision over Capecce.
Bantamweight Cynthia Moreno (Phoenix, Ariz.) claimed the third gold medal for the U.S. team in her championship bout with Elisangela Maartinelli of Brazil. Moreno recorded a convincing 17-4 victory over Maartinelli to win her first international gold medal.
Light middleweight Franchon Crews (Capitol Heights, Md.) closed the event for the United States team and she did so in victorious fashion. The reigning middleweight champion claimed her first international title at her new light middleweight class with an 11-4 victory over Andreia Bandeira of Brazil.
Flyweight Cheryl Houlihan (Santee, Calif.) didn't enjoy the same success in her championship bout with Mandy Bujold of Canada. Houlihan and Bujold battled to a 2-2 tiebreaker in their three-round contest, but Bujold pulled out the decision on her 4-3 raw punch count edge. Featherweight Jody Ann Weller (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and lightweight Carrie Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) settled for silver medals with Weller dropping an 8-0 decision to Brazil's Tayna Cardoso and Barry losing a close 16-14 bout to Brazils' Adriana Araujo. Light welterweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) claimed a silver medal as well following her 16-5 loss to two-time World Championship medalist Katie Dunn of Canada. Welterweight Vanessa Jackson (Columbus, Ohio) also fell to a Canadian veteran, dropping a 4-0 decision to former World Champion Mary Spencer.
Middleweight Meredith Della Giustina (Versailles, Ky.) joins the finalists in winning a bronze medal to bring the U.S. medal count to 11. Heavyweight Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) was unopposed in the tournament. The 11 medals won by the United States is an all-time high and tops the seven medals won in 2007.
The U.S. team was led by Christy Halbert (Brentwood, Tenn.), Ray Kerwick (Spokane, Wash.) and Daniel Vassar (Spokane, Wash.).