(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Team USA’s four Youth Olympic boxers are soaking up every ounce of the once in a lifetime experience as they prepare for boxing competition to begin this weekend in Nanjing, China. Male flyweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.), female lightweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.), female middleweight Martha Fabela (Oakland, Calif.) and male super heavyweight Darmani Rock (Philadelphia, Pa.) will represent the United States in the second edition of the summer Youth Olympics at the Nanjing International Expo Centre, August 23-27.
The U.S. boxing team arrived in China on Friday and has already acclimated to their new surroundings on the opposite side of the globe. In addition to taking in all of the sights and sounds of the Youth Olympic Games village, the American boxers have been fine-tuning their skills with coach Edward Rivas (Colorado Springs, Colo.). The group is currently splitting their time between the fitness area and track in the village and the boxing training facility approximately 45 minutes away.
The Youth Olympic Games simulate the environment of the Olympics with athletes staying and eating in an Olympic village and interacting with fellow athletes from different countries and varying sports. More than 3500 athletes ranging in age from 14-18 and competing in 28 different sports are in Nanjing for the second edition of the summer Youth Olympic Games.
Although boxing competition has not commenced yet, the American boxers have already become fan favorites to local volunteers and spectators and are participating in the long-time Olympic tradition of exchanging pins. The U.S. boxers are also training with international teams in planned preparation work to maintain their competitive edge prior to Saturday’s action.
The boxing participants will step on the scale for the general weigh-in on Friday in order to be entered in to the official tournament draw at 3 p.m. local time (3 a.m. ET). Preliminary round competition in both the men’s and women’s divisions will take place in three sessions daily on Saturday and Sunday. Monday’s three sessions will feature ranking contests to determine fifth place and the bronze medal winners. The final round bouts in the three women’s weight divisions will be contested on Tuesday and the event will conclude with 10 men’s championship matches on Wednesday at the Nanjing International Expo Centre.
USA Boxing’s four youth Olympians earned their berths in the event based upon their finishes at the Youth World Championships/Youth Olympic Games qualifier this past spring. Stevenson, Gonzalez and Rock all won gold at the event with Fabela taking a bronze medal in the women’s middleweight division.
NBC Olympics and Universal Sports Network have joined forces to show a combined 54.5 hours of 2014 Youth Olympic Games coverage from China, which began with the opening ceremony on Saturday. NBC Sports Network is presenting daily coverage and NBC will air one-hour segments on August 24 and August 31. Information on potential coverage of boxing competition will be disseminated when it is available.
Youth Olympic Games Boxing Competition Schedule
Friday, August 22: General weigh-in and tournament draw
Saturday, August 23: Preliminary bouts (2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.)
Sunday, August 24: Preliminary bouts (2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.)
Monday, August 25: Ranking bouts (2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.)
Tuesday, August 26: Women’s Championship Bouts (4:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, August 27: Men’s Championship Bouts (2 p.m.)
(All times listed above represent the local time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of eastern time)