Heaven Garcia practices boxing at the United States Olympic Training Center on Aug. 9, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Some of the United States’ top young boxers were crowned world champions at the AIBA Youth World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, this week, including Heaven Garcia at 51 kg.
Garcia, who is set to compete at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 to be held Oct. 6-18, won her second world title and first as a youth boxer. The 18-year-old from El Monte, California, was the junior world champion in 2015.
Garcia fought off Kazakhstan’s Zhansaya Abdraimova, who knocked her out of the tournament in the quarterfinals last year, with a 3-2 decision in the semifinals then defeated India’s Anamika Urang, the 2018 Asian Confederation silver medalist, in the title bout on Friday. Garcia is one of four boxers who will represent the U.S. at the Youth Olympic Games.
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Also on Friday, Hawaii’s Asa Stevens became the first flyweight youth world champion for the U.S. since Shakur Stevenson in 2014 when he defeated England’s Ivan Price, the 2018 European champion. Stevenson went on to make the 2016 Olympic team and win silver there.
On Thursday, Iyana Verduzco, also known as “Right Hook Roxy,” won the world title at 54 kg. by beating Aizada Yeslyamgali, also a 2018 Asian Confederation silver medalist. This was Verduzco’s world championship debut although the 16-year-old Los Angeles native has won multiple national titles.
At 57 kg. Isamary Aquino, of Universal City, Texas, won her second Youth World Championship bronze medal.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.