(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Seventeen-year-old Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.) officially introduced himself to the international boxing scene on Thursday night as the Florida teenager upset 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yasniel Toledo Lopez of Cuba. Lubin headlined an outstanding day for the United States men as all five of them advanced to the finals of the 2013 Independence Cup with semifinal victories in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Flyweight Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.), lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) moved on to the finals with victories in afternoon action with Lubin and light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) taking wins in the evening session. The two American female competitors fell in semifinal action but lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and middleweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) both won bronze medals at the international event.
Lubin was the final U.S. competitor to take the ring in Thursday’s action and he capped a great day of boxing with an upset victory over the much more experienced and decorated Cuban. Despite Lopez’s impressive resume, which includes an Olympic bronze medal, World Championships silver medal and a Pan American Games title, Lubin was not intimidated by his semifinal foe. The high school junior won a 20-17 decision over Lopez to join his four teammates in Friday’s finals. He will compete for gold in a bout with Puerto Rico's Jose Rafael Lopez Rosario on Friday.
Davila battled Peru’s Issac Nerrera Huaman in the first U.S. bout of the evening session for a spot in the light flyweight final round contest. It was the American boxer who emerged victorious in the semifinal bout as Davila defeated Huaman, 12-6, to claim his spot in the championship bout. Davila will face Yovvany Veitia Soto of Cuba in final round action on Friday.
Simpson claimed his berth in the finals by the slimmest of margins in a flyweight bout with the Dominican Republic’s Jose Luis Rodriguez. After three rounds of action, the two boxers were tied at 6-6 and the total punch count was deadlocked at 22-22. The bout then went to the judges’ poll and the judges awarded the bout to Simpson on his 3-2 edge. Simpson will face a second straight Dominican boxer as he battles Hector Luis Garcia in the finals. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico both fielded two teams for the Independence Cup.
Sims continued his tremendous run at the 2013 Independence Cup, winning his fourth straight bout to move on to the lightweight final. He won a 16-10 decision over Venezuela’s Luis Torres in the semifinal contest to advance to championship night. He will compete for his fifth win of the tournament in a bout with Cuba’s Ivanonate Louit in Friday’s final round action.
Ellis claimed the third victory of the afternoon for his U.S. squad in a welterweight contest with the Dominican Republic’s Joan Daniel Santos. He won an 18-11 decision over the host nation boxer to advance to the finals. The 19-year-old will face a tough test in his championship bout as he challenges reigning light welterweight Olympic gold medalist Roniel Iglesias of Cuba. Iglesais won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games before taking gold in London. He has moved up to the welterweight division since his gold medal performance at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Underwood fell just one point short of advancing to the final round, dropping a 10-9 decision to Puerto Rico’s Kiria Tapia in lightweight semifinal action. Miller dropped her semifinal contest to the Dominican Republic’s Yenebier Guillen, losing 15-9 in afternoon action. Despite the loss, Miller takes home a bronze medal from the 2013 Independence Cup.
Friday’s final round action will begin at 3 p.m. ET and Team USA will compete for five gold medals in their first multi-nation event of 2013. Seven of the eight U.S. team members will return home with hardware from the 2013 Independence Cup.
Coaches Ed Rivas (San Antonio, Texas) and Jason Galarza (Orlando, Fla.) are leading the U.S. delegation in the Dominican Republic.
108 lbs/male: Leroy Davila, New Brunswick, N.J./USA dec. Issac Nerrera Huaman, PER, 12-6
114 lbs/male: Shawn Simpson, Chicago, Ill./USA dec. Jose Luis Rodriguez, DOM, 6-6 (22-22) 3-2 judges poll
132 lbs/male: Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill./USA, dec. Luis Torres, VEN, 16-10
132 lbs/female: Kiria Tapia, PUR, dec. Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash./USA, 10-9
141 lbs/male: Erickson Lubin, Kissimmee, Fla./USA dec. Yasniel Toledo Lopez, CUB, 20-17
152 lbs/male: Rashidi Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA dec. Joan Daniel Santos, DOM, 18-11
165 lbs/female: Yenebier Guillen, dec. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif./USA,15-9