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2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing Action Continues in Lake Charles

By Ryan Gregory | Dec. 11, 2019, 11:05 p.m. (ET)

LAKE CHARLES – Wednesday evening served as a proving ground for Monday’s winners. Some competitors proved their worth with their second consecutive win while others were relegated to the Challenger’s bracket for one last shot at achieving their dreams. Here’s how it all shook out.

Naomi Graham (Fayetteville, N.C.), the top seed in the women’s 165 lbs. division, looked strong in a unanimous decision victory over Alexis Gomez (South San Francisco, Calif.). Graham advances to face Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio), who defeated Kendra Reeves (Twin Falls, Idaho) by a 4-1 decision. Gomez and Reeves drop to the Challenger’s bracket to face Pasene Asuega (Wilmington, N.C.)and Melody Popravak (Brooklyn, N.Y.), respectively.

“My confidence is raising more and more,” Graham said. “I feel like I can take the whole tournament. I am going to take the whole tournament. It takes a lot of mental recovery. I spend more time on mental than physical right now because the work has been put in already.”

In the women’s 125 lbs. division, the bout between Iyana Verduzco (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Lupe Gutierrez (Sacramento, Calif.) drew the attention and praise of the crowd as the two hammered away at each other with unrelenting blows. Gutierrez, the seven seed, eventually emerged victorious by a 4-1 decision. In the next round, she will meet Andrea Medina (San Diego, Calif.), who defeated top-seeded Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) in a 4-1 decision. Verduzco has a shot at redemption against Melanie Costa (Norton, Mass.) tomorrow, as does Ramirez against Isamary Aquino (Universal City, Texas).

Top-seeded Troy Isley (Alexandra, Va.) continued his dominance of the men’s 165 lbs. division with a convincing unanimous decision victory over Kahshad Elliott (Plainfield, N.J.). Isley will meet Javier Martinez (Milwaukee, Wisc.), who delivered a unanimous decision win of his own against Joseph Hicks (Grand Rapids, Mich.). Hicks will face Antonio Garcia (Anaheim, Calif.) in the Challenger’s bracket and Elliott will take on Francis Hogan (Weymouth, Mass.).

“I’ve won the National Championships two times already,” Isley said. “I’m ready to become an Olympian. I think I’m the best fighter in my weight class, for sure. I’m very confident.”

In the men’s 201+ lbs. division, Jeremiah Milton (Tulsa, Okla.) scored an impressive 4-1 victory over top-seeded Luis Alvarado (Kenosha, Wisc.). On the other side of the bracket, Antonio Mireles (Des Moines, Iowa) pummeled Kenyon Walker (San Antonio, Texas) to win by unanimous decision. Milton and Mireles will meet in the next round as Alvarado and Walker drop to the Challenger’s bracket to face Pryce Taylor(Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Dominic Okopie (Houston, Texas), respectively.

“I’ve been getting better and better,” Milton said. “I have to take my mentality to the next level. It’s not easy to be an Olympian. Only one type of person can be an Olympian.”

Whitney Gomez (Bend, Ore.) put a scare into the women’s 132 lbs. top seed Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.), but eventually fell by unanimous decision. Meeting Ellis in the next round is Kimberly Carlson (Chicago, Ill.), who defeated Amelia Moore (Alexandria, Va.) by a 3-2 decision. Moore will take on Stacia Suttles (Bronx, N.Y.) tomorrow while Gomez will face Jennifer Lopez (Jersey City, N.J.).

An early boost of confidence from a knockdown blow gave Abraham Perez (Albuquerque, N.M.) the momentum he needed to defeat Roscoe Hill (Spring, Texas) by unanimous decision and advance in the men’s 114 lbs. division. He’ll meet Anthony Herrera (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the next round, who advance via walkover. Hill is not done yet as he has a shot against Michael Angeletti (Spring, Texas) tomorrow.

The women’s 112 lbs. top seed Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) emerged with the win in a hard-fought match with Christina Cruz (Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.) by unanimous decision. Joining Fuchs in the next round is Heaven Garcia (Los Angeles, Calif.), who defeated Mariana Gonzalez (Sunnyvale, Calif.), also by unanimous decision. Cruz has a strong competitor in the Challenger’s bracket in Jazezelle Bobadilla (Ewa Beach, Hawaii), as does Gonzalez as she will face Jasmine Hampton(Ann Arbor, Mich.).

“I expected this,” Fuchs said. “I don’t see any girl beating me here. Tina is a great fighter, so that was a tough match for me because we know each other well. I’m just focused on the next fight now. I’m just focused on what’s next.”

Rahim Gonzales (Las Vegas, Nev.) earned his position as top seed in the men’s 178 lbs. division by winning an intense bout with Orville Crooks (Brooklyn, N.Y.) by unanimous decision. Gonzales advances to face two-seed Atif Oberlton (Philadelphia, Pa.), who defeated Chavon Davis (Mansfield, Ohio) in a 4-1 decision. Davis will need to bring the same intensity to tomorrow’s Challenger’s bracket bout with Nasheed Smith (Washington, D.C.). Crooks will have to get past three seed Francis Oran (Allentown, Pa.) to continue in the trials.

The men’s 125 lbs. division eight seed Bruce Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y.) proved his first-round win wasn’t a fluke with a 4-1 decision victory over Jonathan Mansour (La Mesa, Calif.). He will advance, as will Rashiem Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa.), who bested Kevin Montano (Concord, Calif.) in a unanimous decision. Jefferson drops to the Challenger’s bracket to face top seed Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Mansour will have one last shot at continuing in the tournament against David Navarro (Los Angeles, Calif.).

The drama continued in the men’s 201 lbs. division as lower seeds continue to dominate. Eight seed Darius Fulghum (Rosharon, Texas) clinched a spot in the next round with a 4-1 decision win over Najee Lopez (Ellenwood, Ga.). On the other side of the bracket, Jamar Talley (Camden, N.J.) secured a big unanimous decision win over Joshua Edwards (Houston, Texas). Edwards will be up against four seed Brandon Moore (Lakeland, Fla.) in the Challenger’s bracket and Lopez will have to get past Devon Young (Aiken, S.C.).

“I don’t see nobody stopping me,” Talley said. “I’ll take this all the way to the number one seed. I’m gonna be the number one seed by the time we leave here. I promise you. Heart and confidence is the first two-piece, baby. Remember that.”

Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) showed he might be the man to beat in the men’s 152 lbs. division as he dominated in a unanimous decision victory over Marques Valle (Wesley Chapel, Fla.). Lavars Carter (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Kelvin Davis (Norfolk, Va.) fought to determine who would join Johnson in the next round. The two proved to be evenly matched, but Davis emerged with the 3-2 decision win. Carter will take on Morris Young (Chesaning, Mich.) next round and Valle has a 2018 National Championships finals rematch with Freudis Rojas Jr. (Las Vegas, Nev.) with everything on the line this time.

The women’s 152 lbs. top seed Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) continued her winning ways with a unanimous decision victory over Mary Spencer (Boulder, Colo.). Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) will join Jones in the next round, thanks to her 4-1 decision win over Sharahya Moreu (Albuquerque, N.M.). Moreu will be up against Briana Che (Madison, Wisc.) in the Challenger’s bracket and Spencer will take on Jill Stafford (La Mesa, Calif.).

“My confidence has been on ‘10’ since I won gold at the Pan Ams,” Jones said. “I was skyrocketing. She didn’t intimidate me at all. She has been (to the Olympics) in the past, but I’m the future. There’s really no comparison.”

Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) and Charlie Sheehy (Brisbane, Calif.), the one and three seeds, respectively, in the men’s 138 lbs. division both secured 4-1 victories to set up a matchup in the next round. On the losing end was Harley Mederos (New York, NY.) and Dalis Kaleiopu (Waianae, Hawaii). Both drop to the Challenger’s bracket, where Kaleiopu will take on Ernesto Mercado (Pomona, Calif.) and Mederos will face Daniel Garcia (Westminster, Colo.).

Tonight’s losers aren’t out of the tournament completely, but they will have to prove they belong tomorrow in the Challenger’s bracket. Competition begins at 6 p.m. CST at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Follow USA Boxing on social media, as well as the #BoxingTrials20 website, to stay up to date on all the boxing action.