27 Champions are Crowned on Finals Night in Spokane
(SPOKANE, WASH.) – A full week of outstanding boxing action across five newly created divisions culminated with 27 final round contests on Saturday at Northern Quest’s Pend Oreille Pavilion on Saturday in Spokane, Wash. Saturday’s two sessions of Olympic-style boxing competition featured championship bouts in the elite men’s and women’s divisions as well as nine senior men’s contests.
Light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) kicked off the evening session in a championship bout with Leopaldo Martinez (Laredo, Texas). Davila fell just short of gold in 2012, taking silver in the event, but he moved up to the top spot in 2013. The 2012 National PAL Champion and Independence Cup silver medalist took a 3-0 unanimous decision over Martinez to win his first USA Boxing National Championships title and a spot on the AIBA Men’s World Championships team.
2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) has won every USA Boxing National Championships event that she has boxed in, entering 2013 with six gold medals on her resume. U.S. Olympic Team Trials participant Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) hoped to end her run in their flyweight finale on Saturday night. Fuchs, who trains at Esparza’s home gym in the Houston area, wasn’t intimidated by the first Olympic medalist to vie for gold in USA Boxing National Championships action and the two battled in an action packed contest. Yet, at the end of four exciting rounds, Esparza was named the victor by unanimous decision, adding a seventh national title to her ever-growing list of accolades.
The men’s flyweight bout featured an all-action fight between Olympic Trials silver medalist Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) and Malik Jackson (Washington DC) with both boxers swinging hard and often throughout the three rounds. The crowd rose to their feet to applaud the two boxers’ entertaining efforts at the end of nine minutes while the scorecards were totaled, and the announcer pronounced that Jackson had taken the bout on a 2-1 split decision.
The Windy City had more luck in the bantamweight contest between Eduardo Martinez (Aurora, Ill.) and Stephen Fulton, Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa.). Martinez kept the pace high through the rounds of boxing as the two battled it out, and he was named the winner on a 2-1 split decision over Fulton.
The featherweight division had the most competitors in the women’s field and the two females left standing on Saturday faced off in the final round bout. Jennifer Hamann (Seattle, Wash.) and Rianna Rios (Alice, Texas) boxed for gold in the fifth bout of evening competition. Hamann claimed the first title of the event for the host state, winning a 2-1 decision over Rios to win gold.
One of the most highly anticipated bouts of the night was contested in the women’s lightweight division as 2012 U.S. Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) battled reigning featherweight world champion Tiara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.). The momentum swayed between the two elite fighters throughout the eight minutes of competition with both boxers landing strong clean punches. With the strong local support from her sister, nieces and nephews decked out in their Queen Underwood t-shirts, the 2012 Olympian won a split decision victory over Brown, 2-1, to claim her sixth USA Boxing National Championship title.
In the men’s lightweight contest, Underwood’s Independence Cup teammate Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) faced off with Cresencio Ramos (San Antonio, Texas), and the bout got off to an exciting start. Sims sent Ramos to the canvas in the first round to take the early lead in the bout. Despite the slow start, Ramos stayed focused, making the 2012 National PAL Champion earn his victory. Sims accomplished just that, winning a unanimous decision victory to win his first USA Boxing National Championship.
Two newcomers to the elite national scene battled it out in in the light welterweight championship bout with home state boxer Nicholas Jefferson (Tacoma, Wash.) facing Jose Alday (Odessa, Texas) for the gold medal and a spot on the 2013 World Championships team. Alday pulled out the win over the Washington state boxer, winning the bout on a 2-1 split decision for USA Boxing National Championships gold.
Jamontay Clark (Cincinnati, Ohio) took home the gold medal in the men’s welterweight contest. He won a unanimous 3-0 decision over Tony Losey (Wichita, Kansas) in the final round bout to earn his spot on the World Championships team.
Two World Championships silver medalists faced off in the women’s middleweight finale with 2012 welterweight silver medalist Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) taking on light heavyweight silver medalist Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.). Crews took the title over Miller, winning a 3-0 unanimous decision in the middleweight contest.
Leshawn Rodriguez (Shirley, N.Y.) won the middleweight title with a tiebreaker victory over Daniel Thomas (Concord, Calif.) in an east coast-west-coast showdown.
The light heavyweight crown went to Geremias Torres (Holyoke, Mass.) following his final round contest with John Magda (Rutherford, N.J.). Torres won a 3-0 unanimous decision over Magda in the light heavyweight final.
The heavy-hitting Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) took the ring for the heavyweight bout, battling Michael Hilton (Trenton, N.J.) in the second to last bout of the night. Both boxers were swinging for the fences early, looking to land a shot to end the bout. Hilton pulled out the 2-1 victory over Temple to take the heavyweight crown.
The super heavyweight division once again closed the show with former heavyweight national champion Paul Koon (Philadelphia, Pa.) taking on mutli-time national titlist Cam F. Awesome (Kansas City, Kansas). Awesome maintained his hold on the super heavyweight division, winning a unanimous 3-0 decision over Koon to take the final gold medal of the night.
The senior men, who chose to continue to box with headgear, were the first group to the ring in Saturday’s afternoon competition. Flyweight Charles Williams (Colorado Springs, Colo.) opened a great day for the U.S. Army squad, winning the first championship of the day. Williams won the first of two TKOs in his division, taking a third round win over Andrew Moy (San Francisco, Calif.) at the 1:34 mark of the final round.
The second gold medal of the day went to a familiar name in the Olympic-style boxing scene – Gary Russell. The younger brother of 2008 Olympian and promising professional prospect Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) won the bantamweight crown with a 2-1 win over Sharone Carter (St. Louis, Mo.). With his brothers and father all shouting instructions from the corner, Russell claimed a title his older brother won for the first time in 2005.
A St. Louis boxer enjoyed better luck in the third bout of the session as Canton Miller (St. Louis, Mo.) claimed gold in the lightweight division. Miller won the second split decision in a row, defeating Javar Jones (Anderson, Ind.), 2-1.
Reyes Marquez (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took the second win of the afternoon for the U.S. Army squad in his welterweight championship bout with Melquiades Ramirez (Denver, Colo.). Marquez won a 3-0 unanimous decision over Ramirez in the all-Colorado showdown to take the gold medal.
Marquez’ teammate Marquis Moore (Fort Carson, Colo.) didn’t enjoy the same luck in his bout with Christopher Galeano (Bronx, N.Y.) in the middleweight final. Galeano used his height and reach to outbox the charging Moore en route to a 3-0 unanimous decision and middleweight gold.
The U.S. Army returned to the winning side in the light heavyweight championship round bout. 2012 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist and Olympic Training Partner Steven Nelson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) stepped up to the top of the medal podium with a win over Randy Foster (Covington, Ga.). Nelson won a 3-0 decision over Foster to take the light heavyweight crown.
In heavyweight action, Alvin Varmall (Laplace, La.) took the gold medal with a victory over Hakim Lopez (Lithonia, Ga.) in their final round bout. Varmall won a unanimous 3-0 decision in the three-round bout over Lopez to claim the USA Boxing Heavyweight National Championship.
Stephan Shaw (St. Louis, Mo.) put his own stamp on the division in the final senior men’s bout between he and George Faavae. Shaw landed heavy shots throughout the bout before the referee called a halt to the contest at the 2:52 mark, giving Shaw the TKO victory and the gold medal.
Women’s elite round action opened finals competition on Saturday afternoon and it was the light flyweight division that kicked off their championship bouts. Elisha Halstead (Philadelphia, Pa.) took the first of nine gold medals in women’s elite action, defeating Alejandra Mercado (Rockford, Ill.), 2-1 in their championship contest.
2012 World Championships bronze medalist and former national champion Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) faced off with up-and-coming youngster Ayanna Vasquez (Las Cruces, N.M.) in the bantamweight final round bout. Vasquez was not intimidated but the older and more experienced Cruz, making the bout exciting throughout. Yet Cruz used her height and experience to take the match on a 3-0 unanimous decision, adding another national title to her already impressive resume.
Cruz’s fellow Olympic Trials participant and teammate Bertha Aracil (New York, N.Y.) took another national championship for the Big Apple in her bout with Faith Franco (Duarte, Calif.). Aracil won a 3-0 unanimous decision over Franco in the light welterweight contest to win USA Boxing National Championships gold.
In women’s welterweight action, Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) won USA Boxing National Championships gold, defeating 2012 middleweight national champion Fallon Farror (Staten Island, N.Y.) in their final round showdown. Wolf won a wide unanimous decision over Farror in the final round bout to give the California boxer the welterweight title.
The final bout of the afternoon session took place in the light heavyweight division as 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Olympic Trials participants Tiffanie Hearn (Oxnard, Calif.) and Dara Shen (Alexandria, Va.) faced off in the championship contest. Hearn took the bout and the title, winning a 3-0 decision over Shen.