USA Boxing's Elite Women Prepare for the 2012 Continental Championships in Canada

March 19, 2012, 5:07 p.m. (ET)

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – A full squad of USA Boxing’s top female boxers will test their skills against elite women from north, central and south America at the 2012 Women’s Continental Championships, April 4-7, at the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The United States will send a full squad of 10 athletes to the event with the three Olympic Trials champions joining the 2012 USA Boxing National Champions in the seven non-Olympic weight divisions. 

The competition will be the first for flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and middleweight Claressa Shields(Flint, Mich.) since winning gold at the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing in mid-February. The seven reigning national champions who will join the trials trio are: light flyweight Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.), bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), featherweight Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.), light welterweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), welterweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.), light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) and heavyweight Victoria Perez(Ventura, Calif.). 

Six of the seven national champions competed in the Olympic Trials before changing weight classes for the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships with Perez being the lone Continental Championships team member who was not an Olympic Trials participant. Love, Brown and Miller all moved down in weight to vie for spots on the Continental and World Championships squads with Cruz, Mayer, and Crews all jumping up a weight division. 

2000 Olympic Coach Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.), Bruce Kawano (Pearl City, Hawaii) and Gloria Peek (Norfolk, Va.) will serve as the coaching staff for the 2012 Continental Championships with 2008 Olympic Team Manager Joe Smith (Chattanooga, Tenn.) filling the same role in Canada. Dr. Ted Mills (Glen Cove, N.Y.) will join the squad as Team Physician with Patricia Pliner (Janesville, Wis.) working as the AIBA official for the event. 

The 2012 Women’s Continental Championships team will convene at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, March 25-April 1 for a preparatory training camp before traveling to Canada for the event. Preliminary round competition will begin on April 4 prior to quarterfinal action on April 5 and the semifinal round on April 6. Tournament finals will be contested on April 7 and Team USA will return home on Sunday, April 8.

United States’ Women’s Continental Championships Team

106 lbs/48 kg: Alex Love, Monroe, Wash.

112 lbs/51 kg: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas

119 lbs/54 kg: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y.

125 lbs/57 kg: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla.

132 lbs/60 kg: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash.

141 lbs/64 kg: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.

152 lbs/69 kg: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif.

165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich.

178 lbs/81 kg: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md.

178+ lbs/81+ kg: Victoria Perez, Ventura, Calif.

Head Coach: Israel Acosta, Milwaukee, Wis.

Coach: Bruce Kawano, Pearl City, Hawaii

Coach: Gloria Peek, Norfolk, Va.

Team Manager: Joe Smith, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Physician: Dr. Ted Mills, Glen Cove, N.Y.

AIBA official: Patricia Pliner, Janesville, Wis.