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BOXING: Team USA Opens Women’s Pan American Championships Action in Impressive Fashion

Oct. 05, 2008, 2:38 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - Women's Pan American Championships action opened on Friday, October 3 at the Haguaramas Convention Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The United States team enjoyed a strong first two days of action, recording five victories against only one loss.

Former Pan American Championships gold medalist Cheryl Houlihan (Santee, Calif.) opened the action for the United States team, holding Ecuador's Miaria Arcos scoreless in the contest to win a 14-0 decision. Light welterweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) followed Houlihan's victory with a double digit win of her own, claiming a 13-2 decision over home country boxer Wendy Allen of Trinidad. Late entrant Vanessa Jackson (Columbus, Ohio) completed the trifecta for the opening day, winning a 17-2 victory over Ecuador's Celinda Mejia in welterweight action to keep the United States undefeated on Friday.

The bouts were closer for all three U.S. boxers taking the ring on day two of competition in Port of Spain. International veteran Sacred Downing (Trenton, N.J.) continued the winning streak in her light bantamweight bout with Jeimy Gomez of the Dominican Republic, winning a 6-2 victory over Gomez to advance on in the tournament. Featherweight Jody Ann Weller (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won an exciting comeback decision in her bout with Trinidad's own Jamila Jones. Despite facing a 4-1 deficit as the fourth round began, Weller held Jones scoreless over the final two minutes while scoring four points of her own to win a 5-4 decision. Middleweight Meredith Della Giustina (Versailles, N.Y.) suffered the lone loss for the U.S. team, dropping a 16-10 decision to Trinidad's Chimere Taylor.
Four U.S. boxers will take the ring on Sunday with bantamweight Cynthia Moreno (Phoenix, Ariz.) taking on Ecuador's Liseth Loma; lightweight Carrie Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) facing Canada's Jennifer McConnell, and Underwood returning to the ring for a match-up with Nadias Ballot. Defending champion Franchon Crews (Capitol Heights, Md.) will compete in her first international bout at her new light middleweight division to take on Ecuador's Veronica Anguasha.

The U.S. team is being led by Christy Halbert (Brentwood, Tenn.), Ray Kerwick (Spokane, Wash.) and Daniel Vassar (Spokane, Wash.).
Saturday, October 4

114 lbs/52 lbs: Sacred Downing, Trenton, N.J. dec. Jeimy Gomez, DOM, 6-2
125 lbs/57 kg: Jody Ann Weller, Brooklyn, N.Y. dec. Jamila Jones, TRI, 5-4
165 lbs/75 kg: Chimere Taylor, TRI, dec. Meredith Della Giustina, Versailles, Ky., 16-10

Friday, October 3
110 lbs/50 kg: Cheryl Houlihan, Santee, Calif., dec. Miaria Arcos, ECU, 14-0
138 lbs/63 kg: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Wendy Allen, TRI, 13-2
145 lbs/66 kg: Vanessa Jackson, Columbus, Ohio, dec. Celinda Mejia, ECU, 17-2