(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – The United States moved their total number of qualified boxers to seven with quarterfinal victories by lightweight Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) and middleweight Terrell Gausha (Cleveland, Ohio) on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro. Super heavyweight Dominic Breazale (Alhambra, Calif.) moved one step closer to qualifying his spot with a win in his quarterfinal bout as well.
In typical Ramirez style, the American lightweight kept the punch count high and pressured his Canadian opponent throughout the three round bout. He held a 6-3 lead after one round despite his domination of the opening three minutes. Ramirez continued to throw combinations throughout the second round, even giving Rynn a rare standing eight count with a body shot late in the round and enjoyed a 14-6 edge as the final round began. He opened the third round with several strong and sharp punches, giving Rynn a second standing eight count in the first minute of the third round. Yet he didn’t rest on his lead over the final two minutes, continuing to pepper Rynn with shots to cause a third standing eight count with 48 seconds remaining in the bout. The 19-year-old clinched a lightweight spot in London with a 23-11 final decision to bring the United States’ qualified count to six.
“I feel great. It’s been a long year for me. I feel amazing and I’m blessed to be in the position that I’m in right now,” Ramirez said. “I’m very excited to represent the U.S., myself, my family and the team in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Now, it’s time to go for the gold and be the Americas champion.”
Gausha pushed Team USA’s winning streak to 10 straight with a 16-5 victory over Puerto Rico’s Enrique Collazo in their middleweight quarterfinal showdown. The American boxer had control from the opening bell, landing sharp, crisp punches while Collazo looked to hold to evade Gausha’s shots. Gausha held a 5-1 lead after one round and it was more of the same in the second round. Collazo didn’t have an answer for Gausha’s skills and precision and faced a 10-3 deficit with one round remaining. He didn’t take his foot of the gas, landing razor-sharp right hands at will over the final three minutes. He went on to win a 16-5 final decision and claim the middleweight spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.
“All the pressure I endured and hard work that I put in has paid off and God is great,” Gausha said. “Dreams really do come true. I grew a lot over the last year and I saw what it took to get to this point so the timing was right for me.”
Breazale competed in the final bout of the night, facing off with home nation boxer Gidelson Silva of Brazil. The two battled to a 4-4 tie after one round with both boxers landing strong shots in the opening stanza. Yet, the second round featured huge momentum swings with Silva winning the early portion of the round and Breazale taking over late, giving Silva a standing eight count in the final minute of the round. He pushed his lead to a six-point margin in the final round to win an 18-12 decision and advance to the semifinals. Breazale can guarantee his spot in London with a win in Friday’s semifinals.
Ramirez has dominated the lightweight division in the United States over the past three years, claiming victories at the USA Boxing National Championships three straight years. The former Starbucks barista continued his run at the U.S. Olympic Trials, defeating a talented group of lightweights including 2008 Olympian Raynell Williams to take the gold medal. Ramirez drew reigning Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomanchenko in his first bout of the 2011 World Championships and failed to qualify after losing a closely-contested match-up to the Ukrainian. He is trained by Armando Mancinas at the Avenal Kings Boxing Club in Avenal, Calif.
Ramirez is the third Olympic Trials winner to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games at the Americas Qualifier, joining light welterweight Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) and light heavyweight Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.).
Gausha is the first of the American boxers to qualify in London that did not also win the Olympic Trials. After winning the 2009 USA Boxing National Championships, Gausha took a break from the national scene but participated in the World Series of Boxing for the Memphis Force and Los Angeles Matadors. He returned to the USA Boxing National Championships in 2012, defeating Olympic Trials winner Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) on a double tiebreaker in the finals to win the gold medal. The victory earned Gausha a spot on the Americas Qualifier team and he took advantage of his moment, clinching a berth on the Olympic Team with two straight double-digit wins in Rio de Janeiro. Gausha is a product of the MLK Premiere Boxing Gym and his trained by Renard Safo in Cleveland, Ohio and is a proud father to four-year-old daughter Ty’era.
Thursday will be an off day for all of the competitors with semifinal action being contested on Friday.
132 lbs: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif./USA dec. Alejandro Rynn, CAN, 23-11
165 lbs: Terrell Gausha, Cleveland, Ohio/USA dec. Enrique Collazo, PUR, 16-5
201+ lbs: Dominic Breazale, Alhambra, Calif./USA dec. Gidelson Silva, BRA, 18-12
U.S. Qualified Athlete Bios
Weight Class: Lightweight/132 lbs
Hometown: Avenal, Calif.
Birthdate: August 12, 1992
Coach: Armando Mancinas
2012 USA BOXING NATIONAL CHAMPION
U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS NATIONAL CHAMPION
2011 USA BOXING NATIONAL CHAMPION
2010 USA BOXING NATIONAL CHAMPION
TWO-TIME JUNIOR OLYMPIC NATIONAL CHAMPION
Weight Class: Middleweight/165 lbs
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Coach's Name: Renard Safo
Club name: MLK Premiere Boxing Club
Did you know: Terrell has a four-year-old daughter named Ty’era
2012 USA BOXING NATIONAL CHAMPION
2009 USA BOXING NATIONAL CHAMPION