(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) - 2008 United States Olympian Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) has made the decision to remain amateur and pursue Olympic medal opportunities for the 2012 London games through USA Boxing. The featherweight representative on the United States team took three months to weigh his options and decided that recommitting to the amateur program is the correct path for him.
"One of the long-term keys to our international success is to retain great young boxers like Raynell so they can compete in the Olympics during the prime years of their ability," USA Boxing Chief Executive Officer Jim Millman said. "We are delighted that Raynell has decided to focus on London and 2012".
Williams joins two-time Olympian and 2007 World Champion Rau'shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) in returning to amateur boxing. The duo can be the first Olympic teammates to compete in two Olympic Games. In addition, top ranked super heavyweight and close friend to Williams, Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) announced that he would be remaining amateur in October.
"I felt like I didn't get a fair decision in Beijing, and I want go back one more time," Williams said. "I hope to get the opportunity to compete in two Olympic Games and my teammates, Rau'shee and Mike, helped convince me to stay amateur."
The 19-year-old Williams was the second youngest member of the United States Olympic Team and survived a bumpy road to a berth in Beijing. After failing to qualify in several attempts, Williams was planning to forgo competing in the final qualifier before his mother convinced him to box in the Midwestern Trials. Williams won the event and went on to earn the featherweight spot on the Olympic team following a trilogy of bouts with hometown boxer, Hylon Williams, Jr.
Known as one of the most fundamentally sound boxers on the U.S. team, Williams enjoyed a successful start to the 2008 Olympics before dropping his second bout to Khedafi Djelkhir in a controversial decision.
The 19-year-old is currently working at the Cuyahoga County Recorders Office in Cleveland and continues to train with his longtime coaches Clint Martin and Donyelle Bell at the S.A.B.A. boxing gym in Cleveland.
Williams will return to action at the USA vs. Ireland Dual, February 26-March 2 in Dublin, Ireland.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States' member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). It is responsible for the selection and management of the United States Olympic Boxing Team, and for the governance and oversight of USA Boxing's national organization of 38,000 members, 1,400 individual boxing clubs, and 1,600 sanctioned events annually.