(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) –Team USA added a fifth member to their Olympic boxing team on Tuesday evening as light welterweight Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) qualified his spot in London. Herring won his third bout in four days to qualify the light welterweight division for the United States squad. Heavyweight Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) notched his second win of the tournament to advance to the semifinal round but has not officially qualified his spot yet.
The United States Marine Corps Sergeant faced off with Yoelvis Hernandez of Venezuela in light welterweight quarterfinal action with the winner earning a berth in London and the loser going home empty handed. The bout was a close contest throughout the nine minutes of action with Herring taking the critical first round lead by a 5-3 margin. Hernandez pulled it to a 7-6 margin with only the final round remaining, but Herring refused to give up his lead and his Olympic dream. He staved off a late comeback, winning a 12-10 final decision and a berth on the 2012 Olympic Team.
“I can actually say that hard work pays off,” Herring said after his bout. “I turned a dream into a reality, especially since about a year ago, not too many people gave me a chance.”
Hunter recorded his second straight convincing victory of the tournament, defeating Figueroa by a 25-7 margin. Once again, Hunter enjoyed a big first round, taking a 10-4 lead after one. He continued to pour on the points in the second, claiming an 18-6 advantage as the final round begin. Hunter went on to win the bout 25-7 to join Herring and Browne in the semifinals. As his weight division requires a top three finish, he is not qualified for the Olympic Games with Tuesday’s victory.
Herring is the second of three Olympic Trials winners to qualify his spot at the Americas Qualifier after falling short at the 2011 World Championships, the first international qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics. Herring earned his spot at the Americas Qualifier by winning the 2012 USA Boxing National Championships in the deepest weight class in the tournament. A two-time Armed Forces National Champion, Herring won a silver medal for the United States at the 2010 World Military Championships.
He is a member of the Marine Corps boxing team led by Head Coach Jesse Revelo, and has served two tours of duty in service to the United States. The United States has never failed to qualify the light welterweight division with the most recent Olympic medal in the weight class coming at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney with a silver medal performance by Ricardo Williams.
Team USA now has five qualified athletes with Herring joining flyweight Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio), bantamweight Joseph Diaz, Jr. (S. El Monte, Calif.), welterweight Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) and light heavyweight Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.).
Lightweight Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) and middleweight Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio) will look to join them when they take the ring for their qualifying bouts on Wednesday. Ramirez will take on Alejandro Rynn of Canada while Gausha battles Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo. Super heavyweight Dominic Breazale (Alhambra, Calif.) will compete in Wednesday’s action as well, facing home nation boxer Gidelson Silva of Brazil. As Breazale must place in the top three with Hunter, Wednesday’s bout will not be his qualifying contest.
141 lbs: Jamel Herring, Coram, N.Y./USA dec. Yoelvis Hernandez, VEN, 12-10
201 lbs: Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) dec. Marcio Figueroa, VEN, 25-7