Team USA to Open Cheo Aponte Action Tonight in Puerto Rico

May 28, 2014, 5:13 p.m. (ET)

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – A mixed squad of elite male and female athletes will compete in the 2014 Cheo Aponte Tournament, May 28-31 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The annual event showcases athletes from north, central and South America in elite tournament action. Eleven United States boxers will box in the 2014 tournament with four women and seven men competing in the event.

Female flyweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), male flyweight Malik Jackson (Washington DC) and male lightweight Genaro Gamez (San Diego, Calif.) will open United States action in tonight’s preliminary round competition. Cruz and Jackson will both take on host nation boxers with Cruz facing Puerto Rico’s Monica Gonzalez and Jackson battling Puerto Rico’s Jesus Garcia. Gamez will take on Brazil’s Max Santos in his tournament debut.

Five American boxers will compete in Thursday’s action in Caguas. Male bantamweight Jarico O’Quinn (Detroit, Mich.) will challenge the Dominican Republic’s Alfredo Santiago. Female lightweight Melissa Parker (Fountain, Colo.) will face off with Guatemala’s Karen Perez with male light welterweight Abraham Nova (Albany, N.Y.) taking on the Bahamas’ Rahshield Williams. Heavyweight Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) will debut in a bout with Brazil’s Juan Nogueira and international veteran Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will face hometown boxer and familiar Gerardo Bisbal of Puerto Rico.  2012 Olympic flyweight bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and male light welterweight Jose Alday (Odessa, Texas) will both take the ring in Friday’s competition, taking on Puerto Rico’s Rose Matos and the winner of a bout between Puerto Rico and Brazil respectively.

Reigning Olympic champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will compete in her first elite division international bout on Saturday in the female middleweight championship bout with the Dominican Republic’s Yenebian Guilla.

USA Boxing International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Luis Gamez (San Diego, Calif.) and Jerrick Jones (Albany, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Puerto Rico with Dr. Lucien Parillo (Wallingford, Conn.) joining the squad as the Team Physician and David Zawacki (Reno, Nev.) serving as the AIBA official.