Two of the nation's top amateur boxing program faced off in a grudge match at the Fort Carson Event Center in Fort Carson, Colo., on Thursday as the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program battled the United States Olympic Education Center team.
The two storied programs are led by past Olympic coaches with 1996 Head Coach Al Mitchell leading the USOEC boxers and 2004 Olympic Head Coach Basheer Abdullah in command of the Army boxers. The match-ups between the two always feature a friendly rivalry when their two programs go head-to-head and this match-up was no exception.
The two squads faced off in seven entertaining bouts with a strong group of Army fans on hand to root on their athletes. Despite the fan support, it was the USOEC taking the first victory of the night in a competitive bout between Keola McKee (USOEC) and Michael Benedosso (U.S. Army). Yet John Franklin (U.S. Army) grabbed the first victory of the event for his Army squad in his bantamweight bout with Rafael Santos (USOEC). Franklin was also named the Outstanding Boxer of the Event for his performance in the bout.
In lightweight action, Chazz McDowell (USOEC) returned his team to the lead, defeating the much taller, but less experienced Connor Johnson (U.S. Army) in their match-up. The USOEC took home the title in the light welterweight division as well with Ricky Alvarez (USOEC) defeating Dustin Lara (U.S. Army).
Following a brief intermission, the two teams returned to action in the bout of the event as Nathaniel Hicks (U.S. Army) faced off with Manuel Lopez (USOEC). The two slugged it out in an action-packed bout, but the Army claimed the victory, to the delight of the crowd in attendance. Hicks and Lopez received the Outstanding Bout award for their efforts in the contest.
The Marquette boxers quickly ended their losing streak in middleweight action as Jesse Hart (USOEC) emerged victorious over Zachhaeus Hardrick (U.S. Army) in their mathc-up.The event concluded with a highly anticipated super heavyweight match-up between Trevor Bryan (USOEC) and Andrew Shepherd (U.S. Army. It was the younger Bryan who came out with the victory, defeating Shepherd in the final bout of the event.