Second Day of 2020 Strandja Tournament Complete; 12 Boxers Set to Compete in Quarterfinals

By Brian Taylor, USA Boxing | Jan. 22, 2020, 2:48 p.m. (ET)

The second day of boxing at the 2020 Strandja Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria was filled with highs and lows for Team USA, which finished the day 8-5.

The American team got off to a strong start in the first session, winning five out of their six bouts.

2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for Boxing Champion Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) took to the ring for her first bout of the tournament in impressive fashion, taking all five judges’ cards over Natali Rok of Poland. Fellow flyweight, Christina Cruz (Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.), fought a tough battle until the very last bell against Bulgaria’s Zlatislava Chukanova. In the end, Cruz took the victory by way of a 3-2 decision.

Lightweight duo Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) and Amelia Moore (Alexandria, Va.) made their tournament debuts in winning fashion. Ellis grabbed the unanimous decision against Germany’s Jacqueline Hatcheir, while Moore took four out of the five judges’ cards to defeat Russian Anastasia Esmin.

Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) and Freudis Rojas Jr. (Dallas, Texas) looked to continue putting on strong performances in the welterweight divisions after their victories yesterday. Johnson, who won the trials, took the unanimous decision win against Aidan Walsh of Ireland, while Rojas Jr. suffered an unfortunate cut by his opponent, Wahid Hambli of France, to result in a loss by abandonment.

The second session started with two tough unanimous defeats for middleweights Joseph Hicks (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Javier Martinez (Milwaukee, Wis.) to Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine and Vadzim Pankou of Belarus, respectively.

Heavyweight Darius Fulghum (Houston, Texas) closed out the session on a high note in his international debut. The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing champion won a 4-1 decision over Cristian Razvan Filip of Romani to advance to the next round.

Andrea Medina (San Diego, Calif.) had an impressive international debut against Anastasila Kovalchuk, taking a unanimous decision to advance to the quarterfinals and kick off the third session of the day on a high note.

David Navarro (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Atif Oberlton (Philadelphia, Pa.) put up hard fights against their opponents from the home country, but fell short in split decisions, 4-1 and 3-2, respectively, to end their time at the tournament.

2020 U.S. Olympic Trials for Boxing champion Rahim Gonzales (Las Vegas, Nev.) closed out the night with another unanimous decision victory in his first international tournament representing Team USA, this time over Romania’s Paul Andrei Aradoai to move to the next round of competition.

Team USA will have another busy day tomorrow, as well as all winners from today will return to action tomorrow, along with both men’s flyweight boxers, Anthony Herrera (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Abraham Perez (Albuquerque, N.M.), as well as Naomi Graham (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio). There will be only two sessions contested tomorrow, beginning at 2:00 p.m. local time, with the second session beginning at 7:00 p.m. local time.

Follow all of Team USA’s progress on USA Boxing’s social media channels, as well as by clicking here.

Click here for full results.