Shakur Stevenson and Darmani Rock Take Preliminary Wins at the Youth Olympics
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The first day of boxing competition at the Youth Olympic Games took various turns for the three American athletes scheduled to box on Saturday at the International Expo Centre in Nanjing, China. Male flyweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) boxed his way to a unanimous decision in his first round bout while female middleweight Martha Fabela (Oakland, Calif.) found herself on the opposite site of a 3-0 score. Super heavyweight Darmani Rock (Philadelphia, Pa.) was prepared to compete in his opening bout on Saturday but his opponent didn’t seem to have the same mindset.
Stevenson took on European Junior Champion Daniel Asenov of Bulgaria in his first round match-up in Nanjing, facing off with his fellow flyweight for the first time. The 17-year-old American high school student wasn’t the least bit fazed by the Olympic atmosphere surrounding him and boxed beautifully in his opening bout of the tournament. He used his height and reach advantage to win all three rounds on each judge’s scorecards and move on to Sunday’s semifinal round competition. Stevenson’s next bout will be a rematch from the recent Youth World Championships final round contest as he takes on Great Britain’s Muhammad Ali. The British boxer has had quite a few public comments about his loss to Stevenson and the changes he plans to make in the rematch so Sunday’s bout promises great action. The two are scheduled to compete at approximately 3:45 p.m. local time (3:45 a.m. ET).
Fabela competed in the first bout of the event for the United States team, giving her the designation as the first American female boxer ever to compete in the Youth Olympic Games. Unlike Stevenson, she faced off with a familiar competitor in her first round bout, battling 2014 Youth Olympic Games qualifier silver medalist Caitlin Parker of Australia. Fabela lost to her at the qualifying event in April and she suffered the same fate in Saturday’s match, dropping a 3-0 decision to Parker. She will compete again on Monday in the ranking bouts, facing Davina Michel of France to determine the fifth place spot.
Rock presented himself at the morning weigh-in for Saturday’s bouts, but his opponent Kevin Espindola of Argentina did not do the same. Therefore Rock won his opening bout on walkover to move on to a semifinal contest with Youth World Championships bronze medalist Marat Kerimkhanov. As the two boxers were on opposite sides of the bracket at the Youth World Championships, this will be the first meeting between them. They are scheduled to compete in the final bout of Sunday’s action at approximately 9:45 p.m. local time (9:45 a.m. ET).
Female lightweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) enjoyed a first round bye on Saturday, but she will take on a stiff test in her semifinal bout on Sunday. Gonzalez’s semifinal bout features a Youth Olympic Games qualifier quarterfinal rematch with 2013 Youth World Champion Agnes Alexiusson. Gonzalez won the first contest by a 2-0 margin but Alexiusson will certainly be looking to avenge that loss when they meet tomorrow. Their bout will be the first U.S. contest of the day at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET).
All of the Youth Olympic Games action is being streamed live and archived at www.olympic.tv. Simply select the boxing window to watch the action live or click on the magnifying class icon on the left side of the screen and type in the name of the boxer you are looking to watch to view an archived bout. All of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games action can also be viewed on a tablet or smart phone by downloading the free Olympic TV app.
United States Preliminary Round Results
114 lbs/male: Shakur Stevenson, Newark, N.J./USA dec. Daniel Asenov, BUL, 3-0
165 lbs/female: Caitlin Parker, AUS dec. Martha Fabela, Oakland, Calif./USA, 3-0
201+ lbs/male: Darmani Rock, Philadelphia, Pa./USA won on walkover over Kevin Espindola, ARG, W/O