Troy Isley and Freddy Rojas Jr. claimed bronze medals while Duke Ragan advanced to the gold-medal bout at the AIBA World Boxing Championships on Thursday in Hamburg, Germany.
Ragan beat India’s Gaurav Bidhuri 5-0 to advance to the 56 kg. final on Saturday, where he will face off against Kairat Yeraliyev on Kazakhstan. Should he win, Ragan, a Cincinnati native, would become the first U.S. man to win a boxing world title since 2007.
“Duke put on a master display of boxing,” U.S. coach Billy Walsh said on a video posted to USA Boxing’s Twitter account.
Isley and Rojas lost their semifinal bouts, but because there is no bronze-medal bout, the semifinal losers each win bronze medals. No American man has medaled at the world boxing championships since Rau’shee Warren won a bronze medal in 2011.
Rojas, of Las Vegas, fell 4-1 to Ikboljon Kholdarov of Uzbekistan in the 64 kg. class.
“We felt Freddy had maybe did enough to win, but unfortunately the judges in a split decision gave it to the Uzbekistani,” Walsh said.
Isley, from Alexandria, Virginia, also fell in a split decision, losing 4-1 to Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak, the European champion, in the 75 kg. class.
Six Americans competed at the world championships this week, all of them taking part in the event for the first time. Fellow American Quinton Randall reached the quarterfinals.
The world championships include 280 athletes who qualified through continental championship tournaments. Eighteen of them are 2016 Olympic medalists.