Thirteen Young Boxers Win National Titles as the Elite Men Advance on to Their Own Championship Night
(SPOKANE, WASH.) – Friday marked
championship night for 26 young boxers vying for a first-ever youth division
title at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, Wash. The event
moved venues to the Northern Casino Resort & Casino on Friday with elite
men’s action being contested on Friday afternoon and the youth division finals
taking over the ring in evening competition. All of Friday’s early day winners
will compete for a national championship and a spot on the World Championships
team in evening action on Saturday.
Yet Friday night was all about the 17
and 18-year-old competitors with nine men and four women claiming national
titles in youth division final round action. The title of first-ever youth
division champion went to 2012 Junior Olympic National Champion Marisol
Lopez (Stratford, Calif.). Decked out in a Marlen Esparza inspired
American flag bandana, Lopez defeated Monica Suazo (Tucson, Ariz.) by
a unanimous 3-0 margin to claim the first-ever gold youth gold medal in USA
Boxing National Championships action.
The Esparza theme continued in the
second bout of the night between 2012 Junior Olympic National Champion Nico
Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas) and Olympic Training Partner Gilbert
Renteria (Houston, Texas). Renteria, who served as Esparza’s chief
sparring partner for her bronze medal winning performance this past summer in
London, pulled out the split decision, 2-1 over Hernandez to take the light
flyweight gold medal.
Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.)
took the title in the flyweight division, winning a unanimous 3-0 decision over Brent
Venegas III (Elk Grove, Calif.) in their championship bout.
In bantamweight action, it was Jarico
O’Quinn (Lansing, Mich.) taking the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships
youth division title. O’Quinn, who enjoyed a strong week of action in Spokane,
won gold with a unanimous decision win over Francisco Martinez (Dallas,
The lightweight division was deepest in
the tournament with the two final round competitors, Lamont Roach (Upper
Marlboro, Md.) and Genaro Gamez (San Diego, Calif.) each having won
every day of competition to advance to Friday’s action. Yet their performance
in the ring showed no sign of fatigue for either boxer. The two battled hard
throughout and at the end of three rounds, Roach was announced the winner on a
2-1 split decision.
Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) has
previously tested her skills against top boxers in the open division, winning
the 2012 National PAL Title in October, but due to the new rule change
regarding age groups, she is now competing in the youth division. After seeing
her brother fall yesterday in men’s elite action, Ellis buzzed through Marlisa
Stamps (Milwaukee, Wis.) in the youth division female’s lightweight final
on Friday. The 18-year-old won a third round TKO stoppage at the 1:31 mark to
take the title.
In light welterweight competition, it
was another unanimous decision victory in final round action. Alexis
Urbina (Phoenix, Ariz.) took a 3-0 victory over Deville Alexander (Houston,
Texas) to claim the gold medal.
Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.)
wasted no time in her women’s welterweight contest with Taylor Carroll (Monroe,
Mich.). She began firing and landing shots in the opening seconds and didn’t
let up until the referee stopped the bout at the 1:41 mark of the first round,
giving Kinchen the TKO victory and the gold medal.
A second Washington DC area boxer won
youth division gold in the men’s welterweight class. Kareem Martin (Clinton,
Md.) took a unanimous 3-0 decision over Timothy Lee (Las Vegas, Nev.)
in their final round showdown.
The unanimous decision streak continued
in the middleweight class where Alex Rincon (Carrollton, Texas) faced
off with Javier Martinez (Milwaukee, Wis.). Rincon earned a 3-0
decision over Martinez in the middleweight contest to take the middleweight
Elvis Figueroa (New Haven, Conn.)
took the light heavyweight crown in the 12th bout of Friday
evening’s action. He faced off with Michael Barreto (Minneapolis,
Minn.) in the championship bout and won the final decision victory of the youth
division finals. Figueroa’s 3-0 victory earned him the light heavyweight title.
Heavyweight John Luna (Milwaukee,
Wis.) closed the night’s action in thundering fashion in his final round
contest with Alberto Fundora (Milwaukee, Wis.). The towering Luna
fired heavy shots on Fundora, giving him two standing eight counts before the
referee saw fit to halt the bout at the 2:17 mark of the first round of action.
Saturday’s action will feature two
sessions with the senior men’s finals and the elite women’s light flyweight,
bantamweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light heavyweight
championship bouts taking place at 1 p.m. The 6 p.m. session will showcase all
10 elite men’s finals and the elite women’s flyweight, featherweight,
lightweight and middleweight championship contests.
Review full results here and check out Saturday's bout sheets.