(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – While one squad of athletes competes in the Elite Men’s World Championships in Kazakhstan, a second U.S. team will box in neighboring Russia at the SportAccord World Combat Games. A mixed squad of nine athletes will represent the United States in the multi-sport event in St. Petersburg, Russia, October 18-26. Over 1300 athletes from across the world are scheduled to participate in 15 different martial and combat sports in the second edition of the event.
The three female members of the U.S. squad possess the majority of the team’s international experience with 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and 2012 Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) both competing in their second international event of the year. Esparza and Underwood have been training full-time at the Olympic Training Center with USA Boxing International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque as members of USA Boxing’s resident program. Middleweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) is also no stranger to the international arena and she returns to global competition at the World Combat Games.
The six male members of the U.S. squad all claimed silver medals at the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships in April to earn their berths in the international tournament. Light flyweight Leopoldo Martinez (Laredo, Texas), bantamweight Stephen Fulton Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa.), lightweight Cresencio Ramos (San Antonio, Texas), light welterweight Nicholas Jefferson (Tacoma, Wash.), welterweight Tony Losey (Wichita, Kansas), and heavyweight Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) will compete alongside the experienced trio of women in Russia.
The 15 Martial Arts and Combat Sports included in the World Combat Games are aikido, boxing, fencing, judo, jujitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, muaythai, sambo, Ssavate, sumo, taekwondo, wrestling, and wushu. The SportAccord World Combat Games promote the values of self-control, determination and technical mastery, integrating elements of culture, wisdom and friendship to create an elite sports competition in the art of combat.
In addition to the eight days of tournament competition, the Combat Games will feature a cultural program reflecting the ancient traditions of martial arts as well as the social and cultural values of the 15 sports and the event as a whole. Topics will deal with the cultural dimensions of the martial arts and their social value and contribution to society.
The United States team will travel to Russia on October 16, arriving in St. Petersburg prior to the opening ceremony on October 18. The three days of boxing competition will begin with quarterfinal round competition on October 20. Semifinal round action will take place on October 22 and the championship bouts will be contested on October 24 prior to the United States team returning home on October 25.
In the first year following the 2012 Olympic Games, USA Boxing’s athletes have already won 75 medals in international action and the nine boxers competing in St. Petersburg plan to add to that total at the World Combat Games.
Bienvendio “Benny” Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Andrews Soto (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Daniel Soto (Kissimmee, Fla.) will serve as the United States coaches in Russia with Dr. Kenneth Kurt (Franksville, Wis.) joining the squad as the Team Physician.
108 lbs/male: Leopoldo Martinez, Laredo, Texas
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas (2012 Olympic bronze medalist)
123 lbs/male: Stephen Fulton, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa.
132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash. (2012 Olympian)
132 lbs/male: Cresencio Ramos, San Antonio, Texas
141 lbs/male: Nicholas Jefferson, Tacoma, Wash.
152 lbs/male: Tony Losey, Wichita, Kansas
165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md.
201 lbs/male: Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo.
Coach: Bienvenido “Benny” Roman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Coach: Andrews Soto, Phoenix, Ariz.
Coach: Daniel Soto, Kissimmee, Fla.
Team Physician: Dr. Kenneth Kurt, Franksville, Wis.