(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Nine U.S. boxers will take the ring to box for gold today at the Women’s Continental Championships in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. Six members of Team USA earned semifinal wins on Saturday to join their three teammates in today’s final round action.
Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) won her long-awaited tournament debut on Saturday in semifinal round competition. She earned a 26-13 decision over Marcia Silva in their bantamweight contest to advance to the finals where she will face Argentina’s Leonola Sanchez
Featherweight Jennifer Hamann (Seattle, Wash.) took the ring for her first international bout on Saturday and she enjoyed an impressive opener in her semifinal round bout with Canada’s Caroline Veyre. Hamann won a 24-14 decision over Veyre to punch her ticket for a final round bout with Argentina’s Karen Carvajal.
2012 U.S. Olympic lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) pulled out the victory in her highly anticipated bout with 2011 Pan Amerian Games champion Kiria Tapia of Puerto Rico. Underwood claimed a 15-13 victory and will battle Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez in the lightweight finale.
Light welterweight Bertha Aracil (Yonkers, N.Y.) enjoyed another dominating victory in her semifinal match-up withMaria Ortega of Bolivia. Aracil’s 21-1 win over Ortega advanced her on to a match-up with Sara Kali of Canada in the final round contest.
Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) won the fifth bout of the night for Team USA in a welterweight contest with Kimbery Gittens of Barbados, taking a 13-4 victory. She will face off with Brazil’s Jessica Carline in the championship bout on Sunday.
The United States squad’s night concluded in middleweight action as Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) faced off with Francelis Carmona of Venezuela. Crews won a 21-11 decision over Carmona to move on to the middleweight championship bout with Yeneiber Guillen of the Dominican Republic. Guillen defeated former world champion Mary Spencer of Canada to join Crews in the finals.
Flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), light heavyweight Tiffanie Hearn (Oxnard, Calif.) and heavyweight Denise Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.) will compete in Sunday’s final round competition as well based upon their semifinal victories earlier in the week.
2000 U.S. Olympic Coach Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.), Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Eugene Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) are serving as the U.S. coaches for the 2013 Women’s Continental Championships.
More than 60 athletes from 15 countries are competing in the event in all 10 women’s weight divisions. The women’s continental championships is the third international event in the last three weeks for USA Boxing with U.S. junior athletes winning a combined 16 medals, including eight gold, in the Prikka and Victory Day Tournaments earlier in the month. The elite men will be the final group to compete with 10 male athletes heading to Puerto Rico on Sunday.
Saturday’s U.S. Results
112 lbs: Tayonis Cedeno, VEN, dec. Elisha Halsted, Philadelphia, Pa./USA, 8-1
119 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA dec. Marcia Silva, BRA, 26-13
125 lbs: Jennifer Hamann, Seattle, Wash./USA dec. Caroline Veyre, CAN, 24-14
132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash./USA dec. Kiria Tapia, PUR, 15-13
141 lbs: Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y./USA dec. Maria Ortega, BOL, 21-1
152 lbs: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif./USA dec. Kimberly Gittens, BAR, 13-4
165 lbs: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA dec. Francelis Carmona, VEN, 21-11