U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Boxing Weight Class Previews for the Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight and Super Heavyweight Divisions

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The four largest weight division showcase a great deal of talent, but only four boxers will emerge with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Boxing crown. 1984 Olympic bronze medalist and former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield (Atlanta, Ga.) will make the trip to Houston to see the boxers looking to follow in his large footsteps.

Middleweight/165 lbs/75 kg

The middleweight division boasts four current or former national champions, including 2007 U.S. Championships titlist Fernando Guerrero (Salisbury, Md.). Guerrero joins 2006 National Champion and two-time Golden Gloves winner Daniel Jacobs (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the talented field. Jacobs is looking to return to the top of the medal podium after a U.S. Championships loss to 2007 Golden Gloves champion Shawn Porter (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio). Porter is coming back to national competition following an appearance at the 2007 Pan American Games. Two-time junior Olympic champion Dominic Wade (Largo, Md.) will be competing in his first Olympic Team Trials in his opening year in the senior division. 2005 U.S. Championships silver medallist Jonathan Nelson (Little Rock, Ark.) and two-time U.S. Championships bronze medallist Shawn Estrada (Downey, Calif.) will both look to step to the top of the medal stand in Houston as well. Angel Santos (Newark, N.J.) and the U.S. Army’s Zacheus Hardwick (Fort Carson, Colo.) close out the middleweight bracket.

Light heavyweight/178 lbs/81 kg

Two-time national champion Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) will take the ring in Houston less than a month after taking home a bronze medal from the 2007 Pan American Games. With only 40 bouts and four years of boxing experience, Downs has risen to the top of the sport. Yet he will face tough competition from seven boxers looking to knock him off the top of the medal stand. 2006 National PAL Champion Yathomas Riley (San Diego, Calif.) hopes to record his first victory over Downs in Houston while 2007 National Golden Gloves champion Siju Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.) is looking to add the title of U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion to his resume. 2004 Golden Gloves champion DeRae Crane (Davenport, Iowa) plans to take home his second title when he competes in Houston. Cymone Kearney (Oakland, Calif.) is competing in his first Olympic Team Trials, but hopes to utilize the experience of teammate and surrogate big brother, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward. The U.S. Army’s Jeffrey Spencer (Fort Carson, Colo.), Nicholas Swan (Great Falls, Mont.), and Angel Concepcion (E. Orange, N.J.) are the final three light heavyweights competing in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Heavyweight/201 lbs/91 kg

2007 U.S. Championships gold medallist and Golden Gloves champion Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) has enjoyed a breakout year and he hopes to continue his success at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 2006 National Champion Adam Willett (Bellport, N.Y.) will battle a difficult shoulder injury in addition to his opponents in Houston. He hopes to overcome the disadvantage to take home another championship. Two-time U.S. Championships silver medallist James Zimmerman (San Jose, Calif.) has fallen just short of gold in his last two attempts, but he will look to take his first gold at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 2006 U.S. Championships bronze medallist David Carey (Anchorage, Alaska) is the second towering heavyweight to advance to Olympic Trials action, joining the tall Wilder. The U.S. Army’s Joe Guzman (Fort Carson, Colo.), Anthony Tettis (Ridgway, Pa.), Aleco Lawton (Orlando, Fla.); and Quantis Graves (Cut Off, La.) make up the final four heavyweight competitors.

Super heavyweight/201+ lbs/91+ kg

2004 Olympic runner-up Mike Wilson (Central Point, Ore.) is back for a second run in 2008. The two-time national champion recently competed in his first Pan American Games. 2007 National Champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) knocked off Wilson in the finals of the 2007 U.S. Championships, pulling out a one-point decision over the veteran. Both could face a stiff challenge from 2007 National Golden Gloves champion Nathaniel James (Malden, Mass./NMU). James has enjoyed a tremendous weight loss over the past year, increasing his speed and agility in the ring. The United States Army has two boxers competing in the super heavyweight division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. William Moore (Fort Carson, Colo.) and Andrew Shepherd (Fort Carson, Colo.) will both represent the World Class Athlete Program in Houston. Lenroy Thompson (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), Josh Parsons (Barboursville, W. Va.), and Kimdo Bethel (Albany, N.Y.) will round out the super heavyweight division.

The Olympic Trials is a double elimination tournament featuring eight boxers in each of the 11 Olympic-style weight divisions. If a boxer loses, they will drop into the challengers’ bracket and have the opportunity to box their way out to meet the winners’ bracket champion. The final round will feature a match-up between the champion of the winners’ bracket and the challengers’ bracket titlist. The winners’ bracket victor will have to win only once to earn the Olympic berth while the challengers’ bracket champion will have to win both match-ups between the two competitors. First round action will kick off Monday, August 20 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas and run through Sunday, August 26.

USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Article posted on 16.08.2007

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