Kirkland-Sharpe on Friday; USA Boxing National Championships Semifinal Round

LOS ANGELES, June 22 - Top middleweight contender James Kirkland will return to the ring in his home state of Texas on Friday, June 24 and is determined to make a statement against Dennis Sharpe Jr. in their eight-round middleweight in-arena featured bout on a hard-hitting card taking place at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas.

In the eight round televised main event, which headlines TeleFutura's "Sólo Boxeo Tecate, Fort Worth middleweight contender Brian Vera squares off against San Antonio's Eloy Suarez in a good ol' fashioned Texas shootout. The televised co-main event will see unbeaten Florida power puncher Joseph Elegele risk his unbeaten record in an eight round welterweight bout against Dallas' Noel Rodriguez.

This night of world-class professional boxing is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and AT&T. Doors open at 6:30pm CT on fight night and the first bell rings at 7:30pm CT. The TeleFutura broadcast begins at 11:30pm ET / PT (10:30pm CT).

Regular tickets, priced at $10, $20 and $50, are available at If purchased online or by phone, ticket service fees apply. If purchased in advance or on the day of the event at the Dr Pepper Ballpark box office, there are no ticket service fees. Fans can download vouchers for free general admission or upgrade to reserved seating for half price at Free General Admission seating is limited and available on a first come basis.

Fans at home can also be part of the action by participating in Cinturón Tecate and voting for the fighter in the main event who displayed the most character in the ring by sending a text message to 55333. Voting will be open through the end of the weekend.

Exciting knockout artist James "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland (27-1, 24 KO's) stomped everyone in his path at 154 pounds and even after a layoff of two years, he picked up where he left off, stopping Ahsandi Gibbs and Jhon Berrio in emphatic style earlier this year. In April, the Austin native was upset by Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida, a result which stunned the boxing world. The 27-year-old Kirkland has not let the setback deter him, and on June 24, he is back and ready to return to the win column.

Jersey City, New Jersey's Dennis Sharpe (17-7-3, KO's) has consistently faced the best available competition and his June 24 bout against Kirkland is no exception. In fact, in his last seven bouts (which include fights against the likes of Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin, Pawel Wolak and Deandre Latimore), Sharpe's opponents have walked into the ring with a combined 97-3 record. This Friday, he will look to put a severe dent in Kirkland's comeback plans.

A member of the cast of NBC's reality series "The Contender," Brian Vera (18-5, 11 KO's) is on his way to earning contender's status in his boxing life after the show, and once that goal is reached, a world title shot should be too far behind. Owner of a stirring knockout win over Andy Lee in 2008, Vera soon followed that with his most recent victory, a huge win over former World Champion Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora in February. Vera will look to keep his hot streak going against Suarez on the 24th.

Eloy Suarez (11-11-1, 5 KO's) is well known for his toughness, and it's that ability that will serve him well in his June 24 fight with Vera. Celebrating his 10th year as a professional when he steps into the ring for the most important fight of his career, expect him to lay it all on the line in search of victory in this Texas grudge match.

Southpaw standout Joseph Elegele (12-0, 10 KO's) has been on an active path in his professional career, fighting seven times in 2010 and three times thus far in 2011. He hasn't had to work long in those bouts, as nine of his fights have ended with an Elegele knockout win three rounds or less. In his most recent bout, he knocked out Angel Hernandez in two rounds and he is looking forward to his Texas debut on Friday night.

Fellow lefthander Noel Rodriguez (14-2, 5 KO's) turned professional in 2004 and sailed to near the top of the 140-pound weight class until a 12-round decision loss to Francisco Figueroa in a 2007 bout for the NABF title. Discouraged by the defeat, Rodriguez took nearly three years off before returning in 2010 with a decision win over Raul Tovar last November. Now, he is refocused and ready to hand Elegele his first loss and get back on the road to the top.

Tecate, cerveza con carácter, is the largest beer brand to sponsor boxing matches in the U.S. Part of its commitment to make boxing accessible to consumers is the title sponsorship of "Sólo Boxeo Tecate," which creates an opportunity for local fans to witness some of the most exhilarating fights by today's up-and-coming prospects. Additionally, Tecate has been a primary supporter of Golden Boy Promotions' marquee events since 2007, and has launched a variety of initiatives to ensure consumers are part of the boxing experience, including boxer autograph signing sessions, commemorative cans, PPV mail-in rebate offers, and most recently the launch of a mobile museum "Tecate Museo de Boxeo," which showcases decades of the most memorable moments in the sport.

The 2011 USA Boxing National Championships Semifinal Round Bracket is Finalized in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Quarterfinal action concluded with 35 bouts of Olympic-style boxing action on Thursday evening at the Colorado Springs Christian School in Colorado Springs, Colo. Twenty-eight of the 35 victors were competitors in the 13 Olympic-style weight and therefore earned U.S. Olympic Team Trials spots with their wins in Wednesday’s action.

The United States’ Army’s John Franklin (Fort Carson, Colo.) once again advanced to the semifinal round of the USA Boxing National Championships. Franklin faced 2009 National PAL Champion Adam Lopez (San Antonio, Texas) in the opening bout of the night. The contest was close throughout but Franklin pulled out the win, taking a 14-12 decision and a spot in the semifinals. He will take on Emilio Sanchez (Pacoima, Calif.) on Thursday.

The female flyweight division showcased another round of exciting bouts with Wednesday’s winners advancing to the first U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing. The 2010 USA Boxing National Championships finalists, Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.) clinched their trials berths with semifinal wins. Esparza recorded a 25-15 win over former National Champion Cynthia Moreno (Guadalupe, Ariz.) while Douglas defeated Berenice Hernandez (Las Vegas, Nev.). 2010 National PAL Champion Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and Poula Estrada (Palmdale, Calif.) claimed the final two spots in the semifinal round.

2010 USA Boxing National Championships semifinalist Toka Kahn-Clary (Providence, R.I.) earned a berth in his first Olympic Team Trials on Wednesday night. The Liberia native won a 24-19 decision over Divante Jones (N. Augusta, S.C.) in their quarterfinal contest. He will face 2010 National PAL Champion Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) in Thursday’s semifinals.

Two Texas boxers advanced to the semifinal round with victorious performances on Wednesday night. Two-time champion Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) enjoyed an early night, stopping Boston Salmon (Waianae, Hawaii) in the second round of their bout. Regis Prograis (Houston, Texas) battled in a much closer contest in his bout with former USA Boxing National Team member Alex Martin (Chicago, Ill.). Prograis claimed a one-point decision over Martin, 13-12 to move on to a semifinal bout with Luis Olivares (Glendale, Ariz.).

Light heavyweight Siju Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.) took on an opponent from the U.S. Army for the second straight night, taking on Derae Crane (Fort Carson, Colo.) in Wednesday’s quarterfinal competition. Crane’s bout went to a tiebreaker for the second consecutive bout, but he was on the losing end of tonight’s tiebreaker decision. Shabazz pulled out the tiebreaker victory on his 89-87 total punch count edge to advance to a semifinal bout with 2011 Golden Gloves middleweight national champion Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.).

The women’s middleweight division showcased a battle between two, two-time national champions in quarterfinal action as reigning middleweight titlist Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) faced off with former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Hemingway made her national debut at the middleweight division at the 2011 USA Boxing National Championships and faced tough opposition on her first tournament at the new weight class. Hemingway took the early lead in the bout, holding a 10-5 edge after two rounds. She maintained her five-point lead in the third but Hearn looked to chip away at her deficit in the final round. Despite Hemingway having a point taken, Hearn couldn’t overcome her deficit and Hemingway won the bout by a 17-14 margin. She will face 2009 National Champion Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.) in Thursday’s semifinals.

Laron Mitchell (San Francisco, Calif.) pulled the upset of the night, defeating two-time national champion Lenroy Thompson (Uniondale, N.Y.). Mitchell won a 14-12 decision over the top ranked super heavyweight in the nation to advance on to the quarterfinals and earn a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The win is Mitchell’s second straight upset win following a defeat of 2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Danny Kelly (Washington DC) in opening bout action.

One session of semifinal round competition will take place on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Christian School. Thursday’s victors will move on to the finals, which will be contested on Saturday at the City Auditorium.

Wednesday’s Evening Results
Quarterfinal Bouts

112 lbs/female: Poula Estrada, Palmdale, Calif., dec. Alicia Avila, Colorado Springs, Colo., 11-10

112 lbs/female: Tyreishia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Berenice Hernandez, Las Vegas, Nev. 23-14

112 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Nicole Pasillas, Aurora, Colo., 18-6

112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Cynthia Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz., 25-15

114 lbs/male: John Franklin, Fort Carson, Colo., dec. Adam Lopez, San Antonio, Texas, 14-12

114 lbs/male: Oscar Cantu, Kingsville, Texas, dec. Stephon Young, St. Louis, Mo., 22-17

114 lbs/male: Emilio Sanchez, Pacoima, Calif., dec. Shawn Simpson, Chicago, Ill., 25-18

114 lbs/male: Gabriel Montoya, Cheyenne, Wyo., dec. Samuel Rodriguez, Palm Bay, Fla. 30-19

125 lbs/female: Emily Dagnan, Jasper, Tenn., dec. Asia Stevenson, Washington, D.C., 20-18

125 lbs/female: Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Andrea Peters, Fort Carson, Colo., 22-9

125 lbs/female: Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine, dec. Casey Morton Carissa, San Francisco, Calif., 45-26

132 lbs/male: Kenneth Sims Jr., Chicago Ill., dec. Eric Altamirano, Concord, Calif., 27-17

132 lbs/male: Damon Allen, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Raeese Aleem, Muskegon Heights, Mich., 26-25

132 lbs/male: Jose Ramirez, Avenal, Calif., dec. Adam Castillo, Lubbock, Texas, 15-11

132 lbs/male: Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I., dec. Divante Jones, N. Augusta, S.C., 24-19

141 lbs/female: Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Kristin Gearhart, Oak Park, Ill., 13-5

141 lbs/female: Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y., dec. Kendra Macon, Charlotte, N.C., 29-11

141 lbs/female: Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo., dec. Jessica McCaskill, St. Louis, Mo., 14-9

141 lbs/female: Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont., dec. Rachell Wehrl, Stafford, Va., 21-7

152 lbs/male: Errol Spence, DeSoto, Texas, stopped Boston Salmon, Waianae, Hawaii, RSC-2 (2:49)

152 lbs/male: Willie Jones, Charlotte, N.C., dec. William McElroy, Roseville, Mich., 10-9

152 lbs/male: Regis Prograis, Houston, Texas, dec. Alex Martin, Joilet, Ill., 13-12

152 lbs/male: Luis Olivares, Glendale, Ariz., dec. Jeremy Fiorentino, New Windsor, N.Y., 19-15

165 lbs/female: Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda, Heights, Calif., dec. Christina Jensen, Centereach, N.Y., 31-11

165 lbs/female: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa, dec. Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky., 31-11

165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., stopped Audrey Drew, Dallas, Texas, RSC-4 (1:10)

165 lbs/female: Alyssa Defazio, Peoria, Ariz., dec. Dara Shen, Fairfax, Va., 29-10

178 lbs/male: Sean Bettencourt, Stoughton, Mass., dec. Lanell Bellows, Las Vegas, Nev., 14-13

178 lbs/male: Sijoula Shabazz, Las Cruces, N.M. dec. Derae Crane, Colorado Springs, Colo., 16-16 (87-89)

178 lbs/male: Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Maquice Weston, Tacoma, Wash., 14-7

178 lbs/male: Jerry Odom, Bowie, Md., dec. Tony Mack, Plano, Texas, 34-27

201+ lbs/male: Laron Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif., dec. Lenroy Thompson, Lenexa, Kan., 12-10

201+ lbs/male: O’Jayland Brown, Sacramento, Calif., dec. Theron Pappas, Rapid City, S.D., 24-7

201+ lbs/male: Jonathan Hamm, St. Paul, Minn., dec. Trevor Bryan, Albany, N.Y., 17-13

201+ lbs/male: Dominic Breazeale, Anaheim, Calif., dec. Brett Rather, Las Vegas, Nev., 24-21

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 22.06.2011

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