(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – A trio of American athletes will compete for gold at the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games following semifinal victories in Tuesday’s action. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), 2012 U.S. Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and male lightweight Cresencio Ramos (San Antonio, Texas) all claimed wins in their tournament openers at the Yubileiny Sports Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia to move on to the finals. Five more U.S. boxers dropped their semifinal contests on Tuesday to claim bronze medals in the international event.
Esparza faced off with Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova in flyweight action during Tuesday’s evening session in St. Petersburg. The Olympic medalist won a 2-1 decision over Petrova in their semifinal contest to move on to the championship bout. She will face home nation boxer Olesya Gladkova in the flyweight finale on Thursday.
Her Olympic teammate enjoyed a semifinal victory in Tuesday’s competition as well. Underwood faced off with familiar foe and fellow Olympian Natasha Jonas of England in her semifinal match-up. The American won a 2-1 decision over Jonas in their contest to join Esparza in the championship round. She will battle a Russian boxer in final round action as well, taking on Anastasia Belyakova for lightweight gold.
Team USA’s male lightweight representative advanced to the final round with a victory in Tuesday’s afternoon action. Ramos won a 2-1 decision over Kyrgyzstan’s Adlilet Bekeev in their semifinal showdown to earn his berth in the championship bout. He will also face a Russian foe in his championship bout, taking on Viacheslav Shipunov on Thursday for lightweight gold.
Light flyweight Leopaldo Martinez (Laredo, Texas) dropped a 3-0 decision to Russia’s Valentin Chebochakov in the first semifinal bout of the day for the United States squad.
In the bantamweight division, Stephen Fulton, Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa.) battled 2007 World Champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia in his semifinal match-up on Tuesday afternoon. He was unable to overcome the Russian’s large edge in experience, losing a 3-0 decision to the former gold medalist.
Light welterweight Nicholas Jefferson (Tacoma, Wash.) won his tournament opener in Sunday’s action, but couldn’t duplicate his performance in Tuesday’s semifinal competition. He fell by a 2-1 split decision to Ukraine’s Aleksandr Grechiha to take light welterweight bronze.
Welterweight Tony Losey (Wichita, Kansas) lost by a TKO-I in the third round of his bout with Azerbaijan’s Elnur Suleymanov after the contest was halted to due to Losey’s bloody nose.
Heavyweight Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) was the final male member of the United States squad to compete in World Combat Games action, taking part in a showdown with Ukraine’s Arseniy Azizov on Tuesday afternoon. Temple dropped a 3-0 decision to Azizov in their semifinal match-up in St. Petersburg.
The World Combat Games is a multi-sport event featuring over 1300 boxers competing in 15 different disciplines. The event promotes the values of self-control, determination and technical mastery, integrating elements of culture, wisdom and friendship to create an elite sports competition in the art of combat.
Bienvendio “Benny” Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Andrews Soto (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Daniel Soto (Kissimmee, Fla.) are serving as the United States coaches in Russia with Dr. Kenneth Kurt (Franksville, Wis.) joining the squad as the Team Physician.
108 lbs/male: Valentin Chebochakov, RUS, dec. Leopaldo Martinez, Laredo, Texas/USA, 3-0
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA dec. Stoyka Petrova, BUL, 2-1
123 lbs/male: Sergey Vodopyanov, RUS, dec. Stephen Fulton, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa./USA, 3-0
132 lbs/male: Cresencio Ramos, San Antonio, Texas/USA dec. Adilet Bekeev, KGZ, 2-1
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash./USA dec. Natasha Jonas, ENG, 2-1
141 lbs/male: Aleksandr Greghiha, UKR, dec. Nicholas Jefferson, Tacoma, Wash./USA, 2-1
152 lbs/male: Elnur Suleymanov, AZE, won on TKO over Tony Losey, Wichita, Kansas/USA, TKOI-3 (2:24)
201 lbs/male: Arseniy Azizov, UKR, dec. Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo./USA, 3-0