2013 National Championships to Feature New Rules and Age Groups

March 19, 2013, 1:34 p.m. (ET)

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The 2013 USA Boxing National Championships will be an event unprecedented in the tournament’s prestigious history. For the first time, the nation’s premier Olympic-style boxing event will showcase five different divisions in men’s and women’s action with new age groups being introduced in to national action. The 400-plus boxers currently registered for the tournament will be broken up into the men’s and women’s elite, men’s and women’s youth and men’s senior divisions for the week-long tournament in Spokane, Wash.

The winners in the men’s elite division, which will include boxers ages 19-40, will advance to the 2013 AIBA Men’s World Championships, the first major international event of the new quadrennial. Following the recent rule changes made by AIBA, the elite male participants will box without headgear, mirroring what they will see at the World Championships and subsequent international events. The men’s elite competitors will be the only athletes to box without headgear.

The women’s elite division will also feature boxers in the 19-40 age range with the competitor list including returning Olympians Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.), a reigning World Champion and seven current or former World Championships medalists. While the ladies won’t compete in a World Championships event in 2013, the winners will enjoy elite level international competitions later in the year.  

The youth division in both men’s and women’s competition is being introduced to the USA Boxing National Championships for the first time. The younger age class includes athletes born in 1995 and 1996, and the youth division will feature some of the most talented athletes in USA Boxing’s ranks, including 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.). In the past, USA Boxing has held an Under 19 National Championships event, but the participants were eligible to compete in USA Boxing National Championships as well.

The final division will be the men’s senior division, which will include competitors that are the same age as the men’s elite contestants, but have chosen to continue to compete with headgear. The winners in the men’s senior division will be crowned national champions, but will not advance to international competition.

The headgear removal and the new age groups aren’t the only major changes to the sport, AIBA has also chosen to move to a 10-point must system, similar to what is used in professional boxing. Olympic-style boxing has used computerized scoring since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.

Over 400 boxers have registered for the tournament with online registration running through Friday, March 22. A full list of registered athletes will be released following the completion of registration, and a current list can be found at www.usaboxing.org.

The 2013 USA Boxing National Championships is being hosted by the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in conjunction with The Hub Sports Center and the Spokane Sports Commission. Athletes will arrive on March 30 and 31 with competition running from April 1-6. Tickets, which start at only $5, are on sale now through the Northern Quest box office and can be purchased at www.northernquest.com.  Full session passes are available for purchase at $100 through March 22 as well.