(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Four of USA Boxing’s most internationally experienced athletes will compete in the 2014 Pan American Olympic Festival this week in Mexico City. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and 2012 Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will reunite for the multi-sport event while multi-time national champion Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will represent Team USA’s male athletes in Mexico.
Awesome and Underwood will both compete in today’s opening round action in Mexico City with bouts against Cuba and Puerto Rico respectively. Awesome will face off with Cuba’s Yoandri Ramos in super heavyweight competition tonight while Underwood takes on a familiar opponent in a lightweight match-up with Kiria Tapia of Puerto Rico. Esparza will open competition in Thursday’s flyweight competition as she battles Brazli’s Clelia Costa. Shields will compete for the first time on Friday, facing home nation boxer Alma Ibarra of Mexico.
All four American boxers have enjoyed an active 2014 in the ring and the Pan American Olympic Festival will provide valuable competitive experience for all of the United States’ representatives. Esparza traveled to Mexico City fresh off her 2014 Women’s Golden Gloves victory in Fort Lauderdale and an international victory in France. Shields and Awesome have recently spent time in the sunshine of south Florida as well and the pair looks forward to showcasing the result of their hard training at the tournament in Mexico City. Underwood has been honing her skills at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and she is ready to return to international action tonight.
Today’s Pan American Olympic Festival boxing competition will feature quarterfinal round bouts with semifinal action on Friday and the championship matches taking place on Saturday. The Pan American Olympic Festival is a multi-sport event featuring approximately 3500 athletes competing in 23 different sports across 10 host cities in Mexico. The boxing competition will take place at Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City with 81 athletes competing in the tournament.
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).