(SPOKANE, WASH.) – Boxing fans and tournament participants have all been looking forward to Friday’s semifinal bouts throughout the week of competition and the day’s action did not disappoint. The semifinal round marked the tournament debut for all three 2012 Olympians as well as multiple reigning champions, and both the veterans and previously unheralded competitors put on a show.
2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) set the tone for her Olympic teammates with an impressive third round TKO victory in her bout with Katie Durgin (Boston, Mass.). Esparza gave Durgin two standing eight counts in the third round of their flyweight semifinal contest before the referee halted the bout at the 1:21 mark of the stanza. Esparza’s win sets up a rematch of the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships women’s flyweight final round bout with Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas).
The two women’s lightweight semifinal contests were some of the most highly anticipated bouts in the tournament with all four competitors being former national champions. 2012 Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and 2013 USA Boxing youth national champion Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) stepped through the ropes first in an unprecedented battle between the two. It was experience over youth in the opening semifinal contest as Underwood took a split decision victory over Ellis. In the second women’s lightweight semifinal, Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) faced off with former national champion Melissa Parker (New York, N.Y.) in a rematch from the 2013 National PAL Championships finale. Mayer won a 2-1 decision over Parker to set up another showdown between she and Underwood.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) took the ring for the first time in USA Boxing National Championships action on Friday night in a bout with her London training partner Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.). Shields defeated Miller by a 3-0 margin to move on to final round action. The college freshman will face familiar foe Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) on Saturday night.
2012 World Champion Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) joined her World Championships teammates in the finals with a unanimous decision win over Kristin Carlson (Carol Stream, Ill.) in their featherweight semifinal match-up. Brown will battle Lisa Porter (Valley Village, Calif.) in the featherweight championship bout on Saturday night.
Three reigning champions advanced to their second straight USA Boxing National Championships finale with victories in Friday afternoon competition. Light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) was the first of the trio to punch his ticket for the championship round. He took a 3-0 victory over Domonique Sosa (Humble, Texas) in the first men’s bout of the day to advance to final round contest with Joshua Franco (San Antonio, Texas).
The men’s flyweight finale will feature a rematch of one of the top bouts from the 2013 event with defending champion and 2013 USA Boxing National Championships outstanding boxer Malik Jackson (Washington DC) once again facing 2012 Olympic training partner Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.). Jackson won a split decision over Marshall Sanchez (Houston, Texas) in their semifinal bout while Simpson took a unanimous decision over Aurel Love (Cleveland, Ohio) to earn a shot at redemption.
Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) emerged victorious from his first bout of the tournament with Cassius Chaney (Charlestown, R.I.) in super heavyweight semifinal action. Awesome took a 3-0 decision over Chaney, a newcomer to major national competition, to move on to a championship bout with home state boxer Elvis Garcia (Tacoma, Wash.).
Women’s welterweight champion Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) displayed her usual prowess in her first bout of the tournament. Wolf won a 3-0 decision in dominant fashion over Jobette Nabarro (Keaau, Hawaii) in their semifinal match-up to clinch her berth in the welterweight final with Melissa Kelly (Somerville, Mass.).
USA Knockouts teammates Earl Newman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) faced off in the bout of the afternoon session. Both boxers dropped bombs in the heavyweight semifinal bout filled with wild momentum swings. At the end of the three rounds, it was Temple taking the victory to advance to his second straight USA Boxing National Championships final round bout. He will take on Sardius Simmons (Flint, Mich.), a teammate of Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields in Saturday’s championship action.
Championship round action will be contested at noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Pend Oreille Pavilion at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino.
Friday’s Semifinal Bouts
106 lbs/female: Natalie Gonzalez, New Rochelle, N.Y., dec. Sarah Dawson, Spring, Texas, 3-0
106 lbs/female: Alexandra Love, Seattle, Wash./Army, dec. Maureeca Lambert, Glen Ellyn, Ill., 2-1
108 lbs/male: Leroy Davila, New Brunswick, N.J., dec. Dominique Sosa, Humble, Texas, 3-0
108 lbs/male: Joshua Franco, San Antonio, Texas, dec. Melik Elliston, Denver, Colo., 3-0
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, won on TKO over Katie Durgin, Boston, Mass., TKO-3 (1:21)
112 lbs/female: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas, dec. Ayesha Green, Trenton, N.J., 3-0
114 lbs/male: Malik Jackson, Washington DC, dec. Marshall Sanchez, Houston, Texas, 2-1
114 lbs/male: Shawn Simpson, Chicago, Ill., dec. Aurel Love, Cleveland, Ohio, 3-0
119 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Kathy McPherson, Mesa, Ariz., 3-0
119 lbs/female: Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., dec. Melanie Costa, Norton, Mass., 2-1
123 lbs/male: Sharone Carter, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Ramon Cardenas, San Antonio, Texas, 2-1
123 lbs/male: Jarico O'Quinn, Detroit, Mich., dec. Jesus Vasquez, Englewood, Colo., 2-1
125 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Fort Myers, Fla., dec. Kristin Carlson, Carol Stream, Ill., 3-0
125 lbs/female: Lisa Porter, Valley Village, Calif., dec. Carmen Vargas, Houston, Texas, 3-0
132 lbs/male: Jousce Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., dec. Charles Vasquez Vera, New Port Richey, Fla., 2-1
132 lbs/male: Genaro Gamez, San Diego, Calif., dec. Maliek Montgomery, Macon, Ga., 2-1
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass., 2-1
132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Melissa Parker, New York, N.Y./Army, 2-1
141 lbs/female: Destiny Chearino, Warwick, R.I., dec. Stacey Parker, Aurora, Ill., 3-0
141 lbs/female: Jasmine Singh, Anaheim, Calif., dec. Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif., 2-1
141 lbs/male: Efrain Estrada, Hillsboro, Ore., dec. Thomas Mattice, Cleveland, Ohio, 2-1
141 lbs/male: Abraham Nova, Albany, N.Y., dec. Alfonso Olvera, Tucson, Ariz., 2-1
152 lbs/male: Chordale Booker, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Jeremiah Millett, St. Louis, Mo., 3-0
152 lbs/male: Jose Alday, Odessa, Texas, dec. Timothy Lee, Las Vegas, Nev., 3-0
152 lbs/female: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., dec. Jobette Nabarro, Keaau, Hawaii, 3-0
152 lbs/female: Melissa Kelly, Somerville, Mass., won on walkover over Fallon Farrar, Brooklyn, N.Y./Army, W/O
165 lbs/female: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., 3-0
165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., won on TKO over Krystal Correa, Yonkers, N.Y., TKO-1 (1:04)
165 lbs/male: LeShawn Rodriquez, Shirley, N.Y., dec. Bryan Flores, Playa Vista, Calif., 3-0
165 lbs/male: Anthony Campbell, Covington, Tenn., dec. Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif., 2-1
178 lbs/male: Jasper McCargo, Oakland, Calif., dec. Niko Valdes, Miami, Fla., 2-1
178 lbs/male: Julius Butler, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Dugan Lawton, Tacoma, Wash., 3-0
201 lbs/male: Sardius Simmons, Flint, Mich., dec. Smbat Bagdassarian, Burbank, Calif., 3-0
201 lbs/male: Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Earl Newman, Brooklyn, N.Y., 3-0
201+ lbs/male: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas, dec. Cassius Chaney, Charlestown, R.I., 3-0
201+ lbs/male: Elvis Garcia, Tacoma, Wash., dec. Marcellus Williams, Las Vegas, Nev., 3-0