(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – USA Boxing has selected the squad that will represent the United States at the 2014 Youth World Championships and Youth Olympic Games Qualifier, April 10-20, at the Armeec Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria. Nine male athletes will compete for gold at the Youth World Championships while female boxers in the three Olympic weight division will vie for spots in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games at the event. The 2014 tournament will be the biggest ever for the youth athletes with over 600 athletes from more than 100 nations slated to compete.
The nine male athletes representing the United States are: light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kanas), flyweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.), bantamweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), lightweight Isidro Ochoa (Fresno, Calif.), light welterweight Jonathan Navarro (Los Angeles, Calif.), welterweight Javier Estrada (Palmdale, Calif.), middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland, Ohio), light heavyweight Sharif Rahman (Las Vegas, Nev.), and super heavyweight Darmani Rock (Philadelphia, Pa.).
The three female athletes competing for a spot in the first Youth Olympic Games to include women’s boxing will be flyweight Caitlin Orosco (Anaheim, Calif.), lightweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) and middleweight Martha Fabela (Oakland, Calif.).
Despite their young age, the United States squad boasts a strong international resume, including three gold medals in 2013 Junior World Championships action. Stevenson not only won a world title in the light bantamweight division at the 2013 Junior Men’s World Championships, but was also named the AIBA Junior Male Boxer of the Year, a first for a United States athlete. Orosco and Gonzalez took gold in the first-ever Women’s Junior and Youth World Championships in 2013 and hope to make history again by qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games with a top four performance in Bulgaria.
Orosco, Gonzalez, Fabela, Conwell and Rock all won gold medals in the recent Youth Continental Championships in Quito, Ecuador earlier this month in preparation for the tournament in Bulgaria. The event was the first major international competition for Fabela, Conwell and Rock, but that didn’t deter the trio from taking the top spot on the medal stand.
With this year’s competition serving as the sole qualifying event for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, 606 boxers from 105 nations have entered the competition. That is a dramatic increase from the 2012 tournament in Yerevan, Armenia in which 367 athletes from 68 countries competed in the Youth World Championships.
The top five male boxers in each weight division will qualify for the Nanjing Youth Olympics while the top four in the three women’s weight categories will earn berths in the historic event in China.Coaches Ed Rivas (Abilene, Texas), David Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), and Willie Moses (Newark, N.J.) will lead the United States team at the international event in Bulgaria.
United States Squad
108 lbs: Nico Hernandez, Wichita, Kansas
114 lbs: Shakur Stevenson, Newark, N.J.
123 lbs: Carlos Balderas, Santa Maria, Calif.
132 lbs: Isidro Ochoa, Fresno, Calif.
141 lbs: Jonathan Navarro, Los Angeles, Calif.
152 lbs: Javier Estrada, Palmdale, Calif.
165 lbs: Charles Conwell, Cleveland, Ohio
178 lbs: Sharif Rahman, Las Vegas, Nev.
201+ lbs: Darmani Rock, Philadelphia, Pa.
112 lbs: Caitlin Orosco, Anaheim, Calif.
132 lbs: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif.
165 lbs: Martha Fabela, Oakland, Calif.
Coach: Ed Rivas, Abilene, Texas
Coach: David Balderas, Santa Maria, Calif.
Coach: Willie Moses, Newark, N.J.
Physician: Dr. Ralph Bohm, Dix Hills, N.Y.