Four Advance to Finals of Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament; Banks and Martinez Win Bronze

April 05, 2018, 7:04 p.m. (ET)

Four members of Team USA’s Youth High Performance squad advanced to the finals of the 2018 Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Otha Jones III (Toledo, Ohio) was the first American to advance to tomorrow’s championship bouts following a unanimous decision victory over Taiel Chaves of Argentina. He will be looking for another strong performance in tomorrow’s finale against Bulgarian Ivan Atanasov.

Flyweight Asa Stevens (Waianea, Hawaii) won a split decision victory over Algerian Maouche Hichmen to advance to his first international championship bout. Stevens will step into the ring against Karim Serkebayev of Kazakhstan.

Alexis Espino (Las Vegas, Nev.) took another impressive unanimous decision victory in the semifinals, this time over Bulgarian Ivan Stamenov. The light heavyweight will be in his first international finale against Daniel Luybenov of Bulgaria.

The final American to advance to tomorrow’s championship bouts was heavyweight David Stevens (Reading, Pa.). Stevens won a split decision victory in his first bout of the tournament over Bulgarian Bozhidar Bozhkov. Tomorrow’s championship bout will clinch his first international medal and he will box Arnur Akhmerzhanov of Kazakhstan.

The remaining two members to box today, light flyweight Angel Martinez (Rockford, Ill.) and super heavyweight Drake Banks (Shawnee, Kan.), fell short of advancing to tomorrow’s gold medal bouts. Both will leave Bulgaria with bronze medals, Banks first international medal and Martinez’s second.

Team USA brought a team of eight youth boxers to the third edition of the tournament under the guidance of National Junior and Youth Coach Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and assistant coach Roger Chance (East Orange, N.J.) This tournament is the first international tournament of a busy 2018 for the youth team, with Youth Continental Championships, Youth Olympics and Youth World Championships all taking place in 2018.

Team USA Results

49 kg: Timur Kabdeshov/KAZ, dec. over Angel Martinez, Rockford, Ill./USA, 4-1

52 kg: Asa Stevens, Waianea, Hawaii/USA, dec. over Ivan Stamenov/BUL, 4-1

64 kg: Otha Jones III, Toledo, Ohio/USA, dec. over Taiel Chaves/ARG, 5-0

81 kg: Alexis Espino, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, dec. over Ivan Stamenov/BUL, 5-0

91 kg: David Stevens, Reading, Pa./USA, dec. over Bozhidar Bozhkov/BUL, 4-1

91+ kg: Elsawy Ahmed Awad Elbaz/EGY, dec. over Drake Banks, Swanee, Kan./USA, 5-0