(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – With all nine male Olympians having moved on to the professional ranks, a new generation of boxing stars will look to claim the top spots in their respective weight divisions at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships, April 1-6, in Spokane, Wash. The first national championship event following the Olympic Games always showcases new faces as the road to the next Olympic Games begins. The 2013 event will be no exception with young boxers emerging from the Junior Olympic program and returning athletes who fell short in their bid for the 2012 Olympic Games all taking the ring in Spokane.
With the headgear coming off for the first time in the elite men’s division, the action is guaranteed to be intense from start to finish. Ten athletes from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing are scheduled to compete in the upcoming national championships, including event gold medalists Eros Correa (San Jose, Calif.) and newly renamed Cam F. Awesome (formerly Lenroy Thompson). Correa could face off with Olympic Trials silver medalist Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) in tournament action. Simpson enters the tournament fresh off his gold medal in international competition at the Independence Cup. Fellow Chicago native Kenneth Sims, Jr., is now the man to watch in the lightweight division, and he enjoyed success of his own at the first international event of the year, taking silver in the Independence Cup. Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Dennis Galarza (Orlando, Fla.) both competed in the Olympic Trials in the bantamweight division, but Feliciano has chosen to move up to the lightweight class in 2013. Olympic Trials representatives David Carlton (Cincinnati, Ohio), George Rincon (Carrollton, Texas), Damon Allen (Philadelphia, Pa.), and O’Jayland Brown (Sacramento, Calif.) are all back for another run at gold as well.
Two more National PAL Championships and Independence Cup medalists will join Simpson and Sims in vying for additional hardware in Spokane. Light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) both claimed silver medals in the recent Independence Cup and the pair is hoping to add a USA Boxing national title to their list of accomplishments.
Yet the elite athletes aren’t the only male boxers with their eyes on Rio, several youth boxers have shown great promise and are looking forward to the stage that the USA Boxing National Championships grants its participants. Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.) has enjoyed quite the run over the last six months, winning the National PAL Championships just days after his 17th birthday. A two-time Junior Olympic national champion, Lubin enjoyed an outstanding showing in his international debut, defeating Olympic bronze medalist Yasniel Toledo Lopez of Cuba, on his way to a gold medal at the Independence Cup. Due to the AIBA rule changes, Lubin’s age will require he compete in the youth division. Lubin is one eight reigning Junior Olympic champions slated to compete in Spokane. Light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas), flyweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), bantamweight Efren Lopez (Fresno, Calif.), lightweights Christian Bermudez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Maliek Montgomery (Macon, Ga.), light heavyweight Elvis Figueroa (New Haven, Conn.), and heavyweight John Luna (Milwaukee, Wis.) will all join Lubin in Spokane for their first USA Boxing National Championships.
The complete list of brackets for all of the divisions at the USA Boxing National Championships will be available on Sunday night following the tournament draw. 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.
Those not able to make it to Spokane can watch all of the tournament action via the event livestream at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Boxing/Watch-Live. Prior to the start of competition, the full tournament can be purchased for $19.95, and once event action begins, the price will be $29.95.
The USA Boxing National Championships is the premier Olympic-style boxing event in the United States. Former champions include Cassius Clay, Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya and Andre Ward. All nine of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team won the event en route to London.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).