Rio 2016 venue: Riocentro – Pavilion 6 (Barra Zone)
Competition dates: August 6-21
Medal events: 13 (10 weight classes for men, 3 for women)
Olympic introduction: 1904 (St. Louis, Missouri)

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be another chance at glory for the U.S. women’s boxing team and an opportunity for the U.S. men to rebound from the London 2012 Olympic Games. Led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and a young, hungry group of male athletes, the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team hopes to bring home multiple medals from Rio. The 2016 Games will feature a single elimination boxing tournament at the Riocentro – Pavilion 6.

The first American female to win Olympic gold in boxing, middleweight Shields will be back for more in Brazil. She has continued her dominance since the London Games, winning two world titles and Pan American Games gold en route to her second Olympics. If she’s successful in returning to the top of the medal stand, she will be the first American boxer – male or female – to win gold medals in back-to-back Olympic Games. She is the only returning Olympian on the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team and will be one of two American women competing at the 2016 Olympics. Lightweight Mikaela Mayer will be making her Olympic debut in Rio after falling just short at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Boxing.

On the men’s side, two youngsters will headline the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. Nineteen-year-old Shakur Stevenson has racked up world titles in junior and youth divisions, and he extended his perfect international record to the elite division with a gold medal at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in March. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials outstanding boxer and 2015 Youth Olympic Games champion will look to fulfill his lifelong goal of winning an Olympic gold medal in Brazil. Additionally, 19-year-old Pan American Games champion Antonio Vargas is known for his aggressive attitude in the ring and hopes to ride that mindset to another international gold medal in Rio. He will celebrate his 20th birthday right after his first bout and hopes to celebrate with another gold medal.

While the men’s squad is smaller than past years with six male athletes competing in Brazil, the full roster is stacked with talent. Middleweight Charles Conwell and light flyweight Nico Hernandez clinched their Rio berths with impressive performances at the Americas Qualifier. Meanwhile, light welterweight Gary Russell followed in the footsteps of his older brother, 2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell, Jr., with a qualifying effort in June at the World Olympic Qualifying Event in Azerbaijan. 

At the Rio 2016 Games, 10 weight classes for men and three for women will be contested. The duration of bouts in Olympic boxing is short: three rounds of three minutes each for men and four rounds of two minutes each for women. In all weight categories, the competition will be held in standard single-elimination form. The draws for the men consist of 18 to 28 participants, depending on the category, while women compete in draws of 12. The winners of each side of the bracket fight for gold, and each of the losers in the semifinals receive a bronze medal

Athletes To Watch
Claressa Shields
Shields owns every major international title possible with victories at the youth and elite women’s world championships, Pan American Games and Olympic Games. She has been the most dominant force in women’s boxing since the conclusion of the London 2012 Games, but her success has only strengthened her drive to make more history in the sport she loves. With only one blemish on her record in her entire boxing career, the reigning Olympic middleweight champion is the favorite to defend her title in Rio.

Shakur Stevenson
Nineteen-year-old phenom Stevenson is well known internationally for his gold-medal victories at the junior and youth world championships, and the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. He boasts a perfect 23-0 international record and made a successful transition to the elite division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Boxing, in which he claimed four victories by unanimous decision and was named the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament. Stevenson added to his winning streak at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in March, impressing the international boxing community on his way to another gold medal. Stevenson dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol and the last American man to win Olympic gold – Andre Ward.

Antonio Vargas 
Nineteen-year-old flyweight Vargas broke onto the international scene with an impressive run at the Pan American Games. The 2015 USA Boxing national champion and former youth titlist defeated Olympians from Puerto Rico and powerhouse Cuba on his way to winning gold at the 2015 Pan American Games. He has endured a few bumps along his road to the 2016 Olympic Games, suffering losses at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and Americas Olympic Qualifier, but he bounced back from both in his typical dynamic fashion to clinch his berth on the 2016 Olympic Team and is more focused than ever heading in to Rio.


  • Middleweight Claressa Shields already owns her spot in the history books as the first American women to win Olympic gold in boxing. She won her first Olympic gold medal at age 17, but is back for a second run at Olympic glory. She is poised for another record-breaking performance with the chance to become the only American boxer – male or female – to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals. The reigning Olympic, Pan American Games and world champion continues to inspire young women across the world as well as her hometown of Flint, Mich., with her story of overcoming adversity through hard work and belief in her self. She is a strong champion for her hometown and all of its struggles and is the leader of the Olympic Boxing Team.

  • Nineteen-year-old Shakur Stevenson has won every major international event possible in the the younger age divisions, becoming the first American male ever to win junior and youth world championships as well as a Youth Olympic Games gold medal. His perfect international record has led many to believe that he will be the athlete to end the 12-year gold-medal drought in American men’s boxing. Stevenson, who began boxing at age 5, has gotten the chance to meet and connect with the United States’ last gold medalist in men’s boxing, Andre Ward, and plans to follow in his footsteps in Rio. He could face the former pupil of American coach Billy Walsh, 2015 world champion Michael Conlan at the 2016 Olympic Games. As Stevenson was too young to compete at last year’s elite men’s world championships, he is eager for the challenge of facing 2012 Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba in Rio. Stevenson is the proud big brother of eight younger siblings and strives daily to be a good role model for his little brothers and sisters, and his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

  • The men’s side of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team will be one of the youngest squads competing in boxing in Brazil. All six male boxers are between 18-20 years old. Middleweight Charles Conwell is the youngest at age 18 and light flyweight Nico Hernandez is the oldest male on the team, having turned 20 in January. The International Boxing Association, changed the minimum age requirement from 17 to 18 for the 2016 Olympic Games.

  • Gary Russell isn’t the only U.S. Olympic boxer with family ties in boxing. Four other male members of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team will have family members in their corners. Nico Hernandez is trained by his father, Lewis while Carlos Balderas’ uncle, David, and father, Xenon, serve as his coaches. Shakur Stevenson’s grandfather, Willie “Wali” Moses, first introduced him to the sport as a child and assists Stevenson along with Coach Kay Koroma, who is like a second father to him. Conwell is trained by his father, Charles Conwell, Sr., along with Roshawn and Otha Jones, who serve as mentors to the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team.

  • Gary Russell is the second Olympian is his family of boxing brothers. His older brother, Gary Russell, Jr., earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, but was unable to compete due to illness before the weigh-in. Little brother Gary Antuanne Russell will represent his three older brothers who all compete in boxing, as well as their trainer-father Gary Russell Sr., when he competes in Brazil. All six of the Russell siblings are named Gary after their father but the five younger brothers all go by their middle names to avoid confusion

  • Despite an intense training and travel schedule, 18-year-old Charles Conwell graduated on time with his senior class at Cleveland Heights High School. Just three months after clinching his middleweight berth at the Americas Olympic Qualifier, Conwell walked across the stage to receive his diploma. His mother, Annette along with staff at Cleveland Heights High School pushed and supported Conwell in both his boxing and academic journey. Education is extremely important in the Conwell household and his mother made it clear that anything less than graduating on time simply wasn’t an option.