(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Three American boxers will compete for a spot in the championship round today at the Men’s Continental Championships in Santiago, Chile, following two United States victories in Saturday’s quarterfinal action. Middleweight LeShawn Rodriquez (Shirley, N.Y.) recorded the biggest victory of the day, defeating an opponent from Olympic-style boxing powerhouse, Cuba, in his second bout of the tournament. Light welterweight Jose Alday (Odessa, Texas) won his tournament opener on Saturday to advance to the semifinals as well. Bantamweight Eduardo Martinez (Aurora, Ill.), welterweight Jamontay Clark (Cincinnati, Ohio) and heavyweight Michael Hilton (Trenton, N.J.) lost their quarterfinal bouts in Saturday’s action, eliminating them from tournament action.
Rodriguez faced off with Cuba’s Yasiel Despaigne in the second session of Saturday’s action, and the international newcomer was not intimidated by the nation on Despaigne’s uniform. He won a 2-1 decision over Despaigne in the quarterfinal contest to move on to the semifinal round and a bout with Colombia’s Jorge Vivas today.
After receiving a first round bye, Alday battled Uruguay’s Eduardo Abreu in quarterfinal competition on Saturday. He advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 decision in their light welterweight contest on Saturday. Alday will take on Argentina’s Alberto Palmetta this afternoon for a spot in the light welterweight finale.
After claiming the first victory of Friday’s action for the United States, Martinez looked to duplicate his win on Saturday but he didn’t enjoy the same success. Martinez dropped a 3-0 decision to Yonni Blanco of Venezuela in the bantamweight quarterfinal.
Clark was the second U.S. boxer to face a Cuban foe on Saturday but he didn’t enjoy the same success with the judges in his bout with Arisnoidys Despaigne. He dropped an unpopular 3-0 decision to Despaigne in the final U.S. bout of the day, eliminating him from the tournament.
Hilton received the second first round bye for the United States squad, setting up a bout with Canada’s Samir ElMais in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The American boxer fell short in the contest, dropping a 3-0 decision to ElMais.
Awesome won his quarterfinal bout on the first day of competition to move on to today’s semifinals where he will face Ronaldo Bermudez of Panama.
The event is the first international ranking tournament for the elite men as they begin their run toward the 2013 AIBA World Championships and beyond. Coaches Bienvenido “Benny” Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Kenneth Sims, Sr. (Chicago, Ill.), Kevin Benford (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Edward "Mike" Murphy (Port Jeff Station, N.Y.) are leading the squad in Chile with Dr. Lucien Parrillo (Wallingford, Conn.) serving as the Team Physician.
For the latest results on the United States squad, follow USA Boxing on twitter @usaboxing.
123 lbs: Yonni Blanco, VEN, dec. Eduardo Martinez, Aurora, Ill./USA, 3-0
141 lbs: Jose Alday, Odessa, Texas/USA dec. Edurado Abreu, URU, 2-1
152 lbs: Arisnoidys Despaigne, CUB, dec. Jamontay Clark, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA,TRI, 3-0
165 lbs: Le’Shawn Rodriquez, Shirley, N.Y./USA dec. Yasiel Despaigne, CUB, 2-1
201 lbs: Samir ELMais, CAN, dec. Michael Hilton, Trenton, N.J./USA, 3-0