USA Boxing is proud to announce three additional 2020 USA Boxing Team members who will represent TEAM USA at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. However, USA Boxing is frustrated and acknowledges the disappointment of the seven boxers and their families who were not allowed to compete for quota spots because of qualifying events canceled by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The seven USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team members Anthony Herrera (men’s 52 kg.), Andrea Medina (women’s 57 kg.), Bruce Carrington (men’s 57 kg.), Charlie Sheehy (men’s 63 kg.), Joseph Hicks (men’s 75 kg.), Rahim Gonzales (men’s 81 kg.) and Darius Fulghum (men’s 91 kg.) will remain part of our Olympic Qualification Team and the USA Boxing family. However, they will not have an opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games. We are proud of how they have represented themselves and continued to work during these times of uncertainty. USA Boxing knows whatever decisions they make about the next chapters of their boxing careers, they will be successful, and we will support them and continue to cheer for them.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) for the sport of boxing was forced to make many difficult decisions in preparation of the 2020 Tokyo Games in July of 2021. USA Boxing would like to provide clarity on how this effected our nine boxers qualified for the upcoming Olympic Games. The following is intended to educate our members who may not be familiar with the Olympic Qualification and Quota allocation process:
• The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has a maximum quota allocation of 11,091 athletes competing in 33 different sports. Of the 11,091 quotas, only 286 quotas are allocated for boxing’s eight male and five female weight classes. The quotas are then subdivided across four Continental Regional Divisions: Asia/Oceana, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The Americas’ 42 National Boxing Federations were granted 49 quota spots for the male and female weight classes and an additional 1 quota spot per weight classes was added in 2021 after the cancelation of the last chance World Qualification event.
• In December 2019, USA Boxing held the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Boxing Trials. This was a culmination of United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and USA Boxing approved selection procedures, which started at our National Championships in Kansas City in December 2016. Through this selection process, USA Boxing identified our Olympic Qualifying Team (OQT) members and alternates in March of 2020.
• Beginning in January 2020, the BTF successfully held continental qualifying events in Africa, Asia/Oceania, and had begun the European Qualifier in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted competitions worldwide and led to mass event suspensions and cancellations, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Americas and European qualifying events were rescheduled for May 2021 and June 2021, respectively. However, the rescheduled Americas qualifying event was canceled in April due to Covid-19.
• Following the cancellation of the Americas and World Qualifiers, the BTF was forced to redesign the quota allocation system; all of the Americas quotas that would have been filled through competition were instead filled through BTF’s world rankings. Importantly, the BTF required that any athlete offered a quota spot to be filled through the ranking system must have been named to his or her country’s team for the Americas Qualifier. This rule made 6 of our original 13 OQT members eligible to qualify through BTF ranking points earned between January 2017 and October 2019.
o Six OQT members earned quota spots through this process: Delante “Tiger” Johnson, Richard Torrez Jr., Virginia “Ginny” Fuch, Rashad Ellis, Oshea Jones and Naomi Graham.
• To account for the cancelled World Qualifier, the BTF announced that each continental region would be allocated thirteen additional quota places (one for each of the eight men’s weight divisions and five female weight divisions to be competed in Tokyo). These quotas by name would be offered without respect to whether the boxer qualified under his or her country’s own internal selection procedures. The quota spots would be issued to boxers who earned BTF ranking points from January 2017 through October 2019.
• On April 28, 2021, the USOPC and USA Boxing sent a request to the BTF asking they reconsider their policy to fill quota spots to specific boxers. USA Boxing and the USOPC acknowledged and fully supported the BTF cancellation of the Americas Qualifier Event scheduled for May 2021, because of the health and safety risks associated with Covid-19. However, we believed allowances should be made for countries who have new boxers put on the team and followed an approved selection process such as USA Boxing and other National Teams in the Americas. USA Boxing requested that a country that had approved OQT selection procedures be allowed to name their current OQT team members to quota allocations earned during 2017-2019 because the BTF process denied boxers who earned their team spots the opportunity to compete for a quota. The BTF denied USOPC and USA Boxing’s request.
• On May 18, 2021, USA Boxing filed an emergency claim with the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) requesting that they consider USA Boxing’s claim that the BTF quota allocation process was unfair and created inequities between Americas boxers and their international peers who had the benefit of competing at continental qualifying events. The claim was denied.
• On June 4, 2021, USA Boxing planned to file an appeal of the original denied claim to CAS. However, after consultation with the USA Boxing attorney it was determined that the court’s decision process (timeline) may take until the middle of July. Based on the information from our attorney and input of the OQT coaching staff and the impacted OQT boxers, it was decided that it was not in the best interest of our boxers’ training schedule and mental and physical health to continue the process through the court system.
• Over the past weekend, USA Boxing learned that the BTF allocated three additional male weight class quotas to Duke Ragan (13-year member of USA Boxing), Keyshawn Davis (14- year member of USA Boxing) and Troy Isle (10- year member of USA Boxing). These quota spots have been accepted by the USOPC and the named boxers will be placed on TEAM USA.
In 45 days, the 2020 Tokyo Games will start. It is critical that USA Boxing provides our boxers with the very best training, without distractions, so they can achieve personal competitive excellence as they fulfill their Olympic dreams to stand at the top of the podium in Tokyo.
USA Boxing boxers, coaches, officials, and families have been required to be flexible and are willing to understand that the pandemic has caused change from the past. This is true with our current Olympic Team. I would like to address some anticipated questions some may have:
• Three Olympic boxers have started their professional boxing careers. Has USA Boxing changed their stance regarding professional participating in the Olympic Games?
o No, USA Boxing has not changed our position that was publicly stated to AIBA in 2016. USA Boxing’s bylaws and all State Boxing Commissions have rules against professional boxers competing against amateur Olympic-style boxers. However, the IOC’s BTF adopted AIBA’s rule allowing professional boxers to compete at the Olympic Games so USA Boxing must follow the international rules, not our National rules.
The three boxers did not compete against any amateur Olympic-style USA Boxing member as a professional to earn their spot in Tokyo. They earned this place through the BTF rankings based on their success competing as amateurs on USA Boxing’s High-Performance Team at major international competitions which took place 2017-2019.
• One of your members was removed from the team and now he is back on the team. How is that possible?
o The action taken while Keshawn was on the team has been settled. He earned his spot to compete in Tokyo through the BTF World quota allocation following his silver medal performances at the 2019 Pan American Games and 2019 Elite Men’s World Championships, and we know he is excited to finish what he started and win an Olympic medal. Our coaching staff is ready to provide him with the tools and preparation he needs to reach that goal, and we look forward to seeing him and his teammates succeed this summer.
• Will USA Boxing change its Olympic Selection Procedures for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?
o No, USA Boxing will continue to follow our bylaws, rules and USOPC selection procedures while complying with the Ted Steven’s Amateur and Olympic Sports Act and the rules of our International Boxing Federation when it comes to international competitions.
• Now that quota allocations have been filled for TEAM USA Boxers, how good is our team?
o USA Boxing’s stated mission is “To promote and grow Olympic-style amateur boxing in the United States and to inspire the tireless pursuit of Olympic gold” and “… achieve sustained competitive excellence, while being “… one team, one nation, going for gold!”
o Additionally, USA Boxing has the largest number of qualified boxers since 2012.
o All the members have had medals at World Competitions at either the youth or elite age divisions level.
o All 9 boxers medaled at the 2019 Pan American Games, which was the best medal count since 1983.
For more information, please refer to the IOC’s BTF’s website at https://boxing.athlete365.org/