(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Team USA is off to a great start at the 2014 Pan American Olympic Festival with three American boxers claiming opening bout wins on the first two days of competition in Mexico City. Lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and super heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) each earned quarterfinal wins on Wednesday while flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) took a semifinal victory on Thursday in Mexico City. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) while compete in her first bout of the multi-sport event on Friday in a match-up with Mexico’s Alma Ibarra.
Underwood kicked off the tournament in a quarterfinal match-up with an opponent she has faced several times before – Puerto Rico’s Kiria Tapia. Underwood defeated the 2011 Pan American Games champion earlier this year in the Independence Cup and she repeated the feat in Wednesday’s quarterfinal action. The 2012 Olympian took a 2-1 decision over Tapia to move on to a semifinal bout with Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez in today’s action.
Awesome drew Cuba’s Yoandri Ramos in his quarterfinal bout on Wednesday, but his opponent from the boxing powerhouse did not deter the international veteran. He won a unanimous decision over Ramos in their super heavyweight bout on Wednesday to move on to today’s semifinal action. He will face off with Ecuador’s Jorge Quinonez today in the semifinal round.
Esparza enjoyed an off day on Wednesday, but she competed in her semifinal round contest on Thursday in a match-up with Brazil’s Clelia Costa. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist earned a unanimous decision over Costa to set-up a final round bout with host nation boxer Sulem Urbina of Mexico on Saturday.
The Pan American Olympic Festival is a multi-sport event with approximately 3500 athletes competing in 23 sports across Mexico.
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA dec. Clelia Costa, BRA, 3-0
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash./USA dec. Kiria Tapia, PUR, 2-1
201+ lbs/male: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas/USA dec. Yoandri Ramos, CUB, 3-0
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).