Mayor Lionel Rivera and Local City Leaders to Welcome the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team to Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera will join local city leaders in welcoming the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team to Colorado Springs with a reception on Monday evening at the Penrose House. Rivera joins the El Pomar Foundation, the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and the United States Olympic Committee in hosting the event, which will include over 120 local city and civic leaders..

The team of America’s Best Athletes, which made a year-long move to the Pikes Peak region on September 17, will reside at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs until they depart for Beijing, China, for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Rivera will join Dave Palenchar, Senior Vice President of the El Pomar Foundation, Theo Gregory, El Pomar Foundation Vice President and Alicia McConnell, the USOC Director of Athlete Services and Programs in welcoming the team to Colorado Springs. USA Boxing Chief Executive Officer Jim Millman and USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Dan Campbell will introduce the team to Colorado Springs City and Civic leaders.

The newly recreated resident program is the first in the sport of boxing in over 20 years and provides the unique opportunity for the Olympic boxing team to utilize all of the resources provided at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The boxing team has already begun to incorporate the outstanding OTC facilities into their daily training regimen, including: strength and conditioning, plyometrics, sports science, nutrition and sports medicine as well as the innovative Eye on Performance technology.

The city of Colorado Springs has been an outstanding host for the U.S. Championships, the premier amateur boxing national championship event, for the past five years and now houses the top amateur boxers in the nation.

The team will depart Colorado Springs for Chicago, Ill., on Thursday in preparation for the 2007 AIBA World Championships, October 23-November 3 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team


Weight Class: Light flyweight

Hometown: Duncanville, Texas
Birthdate: October 25, 1988
Height: 5-3
Weight: 106 pounds
Coach: Dennis Rodarte
Club: GTO
Began boxing: 1997

Light flyweight Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) has taken the amateur boxing world by storm since entering the open division in 2006. Yanez, a waiter at a Dallas area restaurant, has won two straight U.S. Championships titles and Golden Gloves championships and recently won a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. He has owned his weight division for the past several years and hasn’t lost a bout in the United States in over five years.


Weight Class: Flyweight
Height: 5-4
Weight: 112 pounds
Born: February 13, 1987, in Cincinnati, Ohio
Lives: Cincinnati, Ohio
Coach: Mike Stafford
Began Boxing: 1995

Flyweight Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) will make history by becoming the first U.S. boxer to compete in two Olympic Games since Davey Lee Armstrong in 1972 and 1976. The youngest male U.S. Olympian in any sport in Athens, Warren made the rare decision to return to amateur boxing after competing in the Olympics. He has controlled the flyweight division in the United States as well as winning bronze at the 2005 World Championships since competing in the 2004 Olympic Games. Known as one of the top amateur boxers in the world, the 20-year-old has his eyes squarely set on gold in Beijing, and dreams of putting his hardware around his mother, Paulette’s neck.


Weight Class: Bantamweight

Height: 5-5
Weight: 119 lbs
Born: June 5, 1988 in Washington D.C.
Lives: Capitol Heights, Md.
Coach: Gary Russell, Sr. and Robert Martin
Began boxing: 1996

Bantamweight Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) grew up in a true boxing family with five of his younger brothers competing as boxers and his father, a former heavyweight, serving as trainer. Russell has memories of boxing gyms from early childhood. Even at that time, he dreamt not of professional stardom but becoming an Olympian. Russell, a two-time national champion, won a bronze medal at the 2005 World Championships at 17-years-old. The 19-year-old suffered a small setback at the Olympic Team Trials, dropping his first bout by a one-point decision before winning six straight to win the Olympic berth. He joins Olympic bronze medalists and professional world champions Evander Holyfield and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who also boxed out of the challengers bracket to take the Olympic spot.


Weight Class: Featherweight

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Birthdate: February 4, 1989
Height: 5-6
Weight: 125 lbs
Coach’s name: Clint Martin
Club name: S.A.B.A.
Began boxing: 2001

Featherweight Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) burst onto the national scene in 2007, peaking at exactly the right time. He claimed his first senior national title at the U.S. Championships in Colorado Springs in June and followed it up with four victories in Houston to take the featherweight Olympic berth. Williams was pushed to a second day of boxing, but came through when it counted, winning the definitive bout to become the second straight Cleveland boxer to win the featherweight spot on the U.S. Olympic team. The 18-year-old enjoys math and hopes to become an accountant when his boxing career is over.


Weight Class: Lightweight

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Birthdate: September 26, 1988
Height: 5-8
Weight: 132 pounds
Coach’s name: Victor Roundtree, Andre Rozier
Began boxing: 1996

Lightweight Sadam Ali (Brooklyn, N.Y.) continues the great heritage of Brooklyn boxers with his berth on the United States Olympic team. Ali made the move up to the lightweight division in 2006 and it was clearly the correct decision with his outstanding week of boxing in Houston. A 2006 Golden Gloves champion at the featherweight class, Ali emerged from the competitive lightweight class at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, winning four straight in Houston. The 19-year-old has been boxing since he was only eight-years-old and says that when he first took up the sport, he didn’t know you got a rest period when the bell rang.


Weight Class: Light welterweight

Hometown: Commerce, California
Birthdate: January 2, 1990
Height: 5-9
Weight: 141 pounds
Coach’s Name: Roberto Luna
Club Name: Commerce Boxing Club
Began Boxing: 1997

Light welterweight Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.) overcame losses at two qualifiers to earn a spot at the U.S. Championships. The former junior champion upset favorite Karl Dargan to win a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing. At only 17-years-old, he won four straight bouts at the Olympic Trials to claim the light welterweight berth. Molina’s skills extend to the class room as well as Molina is an honor student and will continue his education while training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He is a first generation American and has a twin brother named Oscar.


Weight Class: Welterweight

Height: 6-1
Weight: 152 lbs
Born: February 26, 1988 in Providence, R.I.
Lives: Providence, R.I.
Coach: Paul Andrade
Children: daughter Autumn Andrade
Began boxing: 1994

Welterweight Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) took control of his welterweight division in 2005 and still hasn’t let go. A two-time national champion and Golden Gloves titlist, Andrade recently won a silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. The 19-year-old phenom is renoowned for his slick boxing style, ring generalship and impenetrable defense. Known as Boo Boo, to his friends and family, Andrade has a one-year-old daughter named Autumn. Andrade is the second straight U.S. boxer from Providence, R.I. to earn a berth on the U.S. Olympic team.


Weight Class: Middleweight

Weight: 165 pounds
Born: April 1, 1985
Lives: East Los Angeles, California
Coach: Rodrigo Mosquera
Club: Eddie Hevudit
School: East Los Angeles College
Began boxing: 1997

Middleweight Shawn Estrada (Downey, Calif.) won bronze at both the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Championships, but he picked the right time to step to the top of the medal podium. Estrada comes from the mean streets of E. Los Angeles, and used that mental toughness to emerge from a talent-rich middleweight division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He is currently studying fire technology, and plans to become a firefighter following the 2008 Olympic Games. Estrada is also a first generation American, and plans to represent his family well at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


Weight Class: Light heavyweight

Hometown: Knoxville, Tenn.
Birthdate: November 5, 1974
Height: 6-4
Weight: 178 pounds
Coach’s name: Basheer Abdullah
Club name: World Class Athlete Program
Began boxing: 2003
Children: Christen Downs, 9-years-old; Cameron Downs, 7-years-old

Light heavyweight Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) will be the oldest known U.S. boxer when he takes the ring in Beijing. After being volunteered to compete in an Army smoker only four years ago, Downs made a quick ascent to the top of the boxing world. The 32-year-old served a tour in Iraq prior to becoming a member of the Army’s World Class athlete program. Over the past two years, he was has won two U.S. Championships titles as well as a bronze medal at the recent Pan American Games. He is serving as team captain for his second straight major international event after holding the post for the 2007 Pan American Games.


Weight Class: Heavyweight

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Birthdate: October 22, 1985
Height: 6-7
Weight: 198 pounds
Coach’s Name: Jay Deas
Club Name: Skyy Boxing
School: Central High School
Began Boxing: October 19, 2005
Occupation: Budweiser driver and Red Lobster
Do you have any children: Naieya Wilder, 2 years old

Heavyweight Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) took up the sport of boxing less than two years ago in an attempt to create a better life for his two-year-old daughter, Naieya, who suffers from spina bafida. After finding out that he will be having a daughter, Wilder dropped out of school and began working two jobs to support his child. He surprised everyone by taking control of the heavyweight division in 2007. Wilder has enjoyed an outstanding year, winning the Golden Gloves and U.S. Championships prior to claiming an Olympic berth in only his 21st bout.


Weight Class: Super heavyweight

Height: 6-2
Born: July 10, 1988
Lives: Las Vegas, Nev.
Began Boxing: 2002

Super heavyweight Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) made a quick ascent to the top of the sport as well. Hunter advanced to the finals of the 2006 Golden Gloves with only five bouts of experience prior to the winning bronze at the Junior World Championships. Hunter was blessed with boxing skills by his father, Michael Hunter, Sr., a former professional world champion. He has many memories of spending time in the boxing gym with his father as a child when his father served as a sparring partner for Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe.

Article posted on 15.10.2007

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