Team USA Wins Four Gold Medals in the 2015 Junior and Youth World Championships

May 23, 2015, 9:18 a.m. (ET)

(NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN) – USA Boxing’s future female stars made a resounding statement at the 2015 Junior and Youth Women’s World Championships this week in New Taipei City, Taiwan. The American squad won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the second edition of the event with more than half of the 15-member team claiming hardware in Taiwan. Led by team captain and reigning Youth Olympic champion Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.), the United States team nearly doubled their medal output from the previous edition of the event in 2013.

In addition to a dominating gold medal performance from Gonzalez, junior boxers Heaven Garcia (El Monte, Calif.), Zhane Crockett (Toledo, Ohio), and lightweight Guadalupe Gutierrez (Sacramento, Calif.) all won world titles in their debuts on world stage. Two more American junior boxers, bantamweight Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and welterweight Kylie Hall (Fresno, Calif.) also claimed silver medals in Taipei. Youth athletes Ariel Arismendez (Tolleson, Ariz.) and Iesha Kenney (Alexandria, Va.) each won bronze medals at the event following impressive runs through the tournament.

A historic Youth Olympic gold medalist and 2013 Junior World Champion, Gonzalez entered the event as the tournament favorite but the pressure didn’t deter the 18-year-old Olympic hopeful. Gonzalez was the first American boxer to enter the ring for the United States in Taipei and, in fitting fashion, she closed the event for her American squad on Saturday night with another dominating performance. Gonzalez took on Sweden’s Stephanie Thour in the lightweight finale for the youth division gold medal. She opened the bout showing off her boxing skill and elusiveness before unleashing her patented, pressure attack. Gonzalez closed the show in her typical fashion and won the four round bout by a wide, unanimous decision. The win marked Gonzalez’s fifth of the tournament and earned her coveted lightweight gold. Gonzalez’s victory makes her the first American female boxer to win both a junior and youth world title and she will now focus her eyes on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Yet, she has some business to attend to outside of the ring first. Shortly after returning home from Taiwan, Gonzalez will celebrate her high school graduation.

A fellow southern California native opened championship day for Team USA on Saturday. Light flyweight Garcia faced off with India’s Soniya in her junior division gold medal bout. The 14-year-old spitfire has impressed throughout the week in Taipei, winning three strong victories en route to Saturday’s finale. The Indian boxer tried to outmaneuver the hard charging American but she wasn’t able to evade Garcia’s shots.  The American high school student pulled out a 2-1 decision over Soniya in the light flyweight contest to win her first world championship and the opening gold medal of the day for the United States.

Featherweight Crockett took the ring for her third bout of the tournament in a final round match-up with two-time Russian national champion Liudmilla Vorontsova. Crockett wasted no time in the three round bout, letting her shots flow freely and landing strong right hands in the first round. The entertaining bout continued in to the third round with boxers laying it all on the line for the gold medal. Crockett won the second split decision of the day for Team USA to take featherweight gold in her world championships debut.

Gutierrez earned the final gold medal of the early session in her lightweight bout with Kosovo’s Donjeta Sadiku. Competing for the third time in Taipei, Gutierrez once again showcased her unique but aggressive style in the lightweight finale. She simply would not be denied and went on to win the first unanimous decision of the junior finals for her United States squad. The 3-0 win earned Gutierrezjunior division lightweight gold.

Ramirez entered the finals fresh off an impressive TKO victory in Friday’s semifinals, but she didn’t enjoy the same success in the bantamweight championship bout with India’s Sakshi. The Indian boxer claimed a 3-0 decision over Ramirez in the contest, giving the American a hard-earned silver medal.

Hall competed in the final junior bout of the tournament for the United States in a welterweight clash with Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets. Hall kept the bout close throughout the three rounds, but Ryabets pulled out a split decision win in the contest. Hall received a silver medal for her showing in Taipei.

Team USA’s three gold medal performance in the junior division put the American squad in second place in the junior team standings behind only powerhouse Russia. The eight medal performance by the United States squad eclipses the five medals won in the inaugural event in 2013. Both Gonzalez and Kenney earned hardware in both the 2013 and 2015 events, each winning medals of the same color in the two tournaments. The eight medals won by the United States team at the 2015 Junior and Youth Women’s World Championships is the most by a U.S. squad at any world championship event in recent history.

Christy Halbert (Nashville, Tenn.), Kay Koroma (Burke, Va.), Don Fain (Reno, Nev.), Caroline Barry (Boulder, Colo.), and Arthur James (Anaheim, Calif.) guided the successful American team at the 2015 Junior and Youth Women’s World Championships. Dr. Larry Lovelace (Oklahoma City, Okla.) served as the team physician and elite boxer and former national champion Dara Shen (Alexandria, Va.) assisted the squad as the team tutor and translator.

U.S. Results
106 lbs/junior: Heaven Garcia, El Monte, Calif./USA dec. Soniya, IND, 2-1
119 lbs/junior: Sakshi, IND, dec. Yarisel Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev./USA 3-0
125 lbs/junior: Zhane Crockett, Toledo, Ohio/USA dec. Liudmilla Vorontsova, RUS, 2-1
132 lbs/junior: Guadalupe Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif./USA dec. Donjeta Sadiku, KOS, 3-0
145 lbs/junior: Nadezhda Ryabets dec. Kylie Hall, Fresno, Calif./USA, 2-1
132 lbs/youth: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA dec. Stephanie Thour, SWE, 3-0