2015 Pan American Games champion Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.) boxed for the first time since his gold medal win in Toronto in the opening bout on Monday. He showed off the skills that earned him international gold in his Olympic Trials debut against Khalid Twaiti (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Vargas took a 3-0 decision over Twaiti in their flyweight bout to move on to the winners bracket semifinals where he will face Eros Correa (San Jose, Calif.)
“I’m one step closer to my goal of winning the Trials and earning my spot in the Olympics,” Vargas said. “He was trying to time me so it was in and out and the jab to the body luring him in. I haven’t fought since the Pan Am Games. I kind of felt it. I’ve been in the ring sparring but it’s not the same as when you have on 10 ounce gloves and the speed. The first day is always the hardest day. As the days go on, I adapt and get better. I’m feeling good.”
Correa, the first of two returning Olympic Trials champions to compete in Reno, won a unanimous decision over Aarkeyse Higdon (Lansing, Mich) in their flyweight match-up. He won the 2012 Olympic Trials at the light flyweight decision before moving up to flyweight for the 2016 event.
Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) is the second returning titlist from 2012 and he also recorded a first round win on Monday at the Grande Exposition Hall. He faced off with Adrian Taylor (Mesquite, Texas) in his new heavyweight division in Monday night. Awesome showed off his new svelte frame in only his second tournament at the heavyweight class. He enjoyed a successful 2016 Olympic Trials opener, taking a 3-0 victory over Taylor. He will face off with reigning national champion Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) on Tuesday. Temple scored an impressive TKO victory in his first bout of the tournament, stopping Hakim Lopez (Lithonia, Ga.)
Middleweight Anthony Campbell (Covington, Tenn.) recorded the first TKO of the tournament in his bout with Trevor Lattimore (Bridgeport, Conn.). Campbell gave Lattimore two standing-eight counts before the referee halted the bout in the second round. He moves on to a Tuesday match-up with two-time Youth National Champion Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) on Tuesday. “I got settled in and just listened to my coach. He said just step to him and use straight punches. Don’t worry about the hooks. You will catch him and may be able to knock him out. I just listened to the game plan,” Campbell said. “I know I’m in tip top shape. Usually I’m tired. I was basically training myself before but now I have a coach that pushes me.”
Conwell advanced to his meeting with Campbell by avenging his loss to two-time national champion Leshawn Rodriquez (Medford, N.Y.) The former youth star won a 2-1 decision over Rodriquez after falling to him at the Men’s Trials Qualifier in September.
He wasn’t the only athlete to enjoy the sweet taste of revenge on Monday at the Olympic Trials. Light welterweight Rahim Gonzales (Sylmar, Calif.) won a 3-0 victory over 2015 USA Boxing National Champion Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) after dropping a decision to Feliciano at the national championships in January.
In the bantamweight division, Efren Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) defeated Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) in their tournament opener, reversing the decision from the final Men’s Trials Qualifier in late October.
One of the most exciting bouts of opening night was a highly anticipated match-up in the light welterweight division as two Men’s Trials Qualifiers Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.) and Jaron Ennis (Philadelphia, Pa.) battled for a spot in the winners bracket semifinals. A Russell brother has competed in three straight Olympic Trials, beginning with 2008 Olympian Gary Russell, Jr. The youngest Russell will have to follow the path his brother traveled out of the challengers bracket following a split decision loss to Ennis.
Olympic Trials competition will continue in two sessions at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Silver Legacy Grande Exposition Hall. Women’s World Team Trial action will begin on Tuesday as well with the female athletes competing in the 1 p.m. session.
108 lbs: Nico Hernandez, Wichita, Kansas dec. D’Angelo Sandate, Thornton, Colo., 3-0
108 lbs: Leroy Davila, Princeton, N.J., dec. Rondarrius Hunter, Atlanta, Ga., 3-0
108 lbs: Nicholas Scaturicho, Hartsdale, N.Y., dec. Pablo Ramirez, Weslaco, Texas, 2-1
108 lbs: Adrian Servin, Phoenix, Ariz., dec. Melik Elliston, Denver, Colo., 2-1
114 lbs: Antonio Vargas, Kissimmee, Fla., dec. Khalid Twaiti, Brooklyn, N.Y., 3-0
114 lbs: Christian Carto, Deptford, N.J., dec. Jay Crenshaw, Houston, Texas, 3-0
114 lbs: Eros Correa, San Jose, Calif., dec. Aarkeyse Higdon, Lansing, Mich., 3-0
114 lbs: Brent Venegas III, Sacramento, Calif., dec. Gilbert Renteria, Houston, Texas, 3-0
123 lbs: Efren Lopez, Fresno, Calif., dec. Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio, 3-0
123 lbs: Ruben Villa, Salinas, Calif., dec. Irvin Gonzalez, Worcester, Mass., 3-0
123 lbs: Shakur Stevenson, Newark, N.J., dec. Mikhail Montgomery, Macon, Ga., 3-0
132 lbs: Elijah Pierce, Oklahoma City, Okla., dec. Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2-1 (not an Olympic Trials bout)
141 lbs: Tyrek Irby, Oxon Hill, Md., dec. Richardson Hitchins, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2-1
141 lbs: Abraham Nova, Albany, N.Y., dec. Jamaine Ortiz-Rodriguez, 2-1
141 lbs: Jaron Ennis, Philadephia, Pa., dec. Gary Russell, Capitol Heights, Md., 2-1
141 lbs: Rahim Gonzales, Sylmar, Calif., dec. Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis., 3-0
152 lbs: Jose Alday, Jr., Odessa, Texas dec. Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Pa, 2-1
152 lbs: Ardreal Holmes, Flint, Mich., dec. Rashid Stevens, Gahanna, Ohio, 3-0
152 lbs: Brian Ceballo, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Mark Dawson, Philadelphia, Pa., 3-0
152 lbs: Vardges Vardanyan, Panorama City, Calif., dec. Ferdinand Kerobyan, 2-1
165 lbs: Charles Conwell, Cleveland Heights, Ohio dec. Leshawn Rodriquez, 2-1
165 lbs: Chordale Booker, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Carlos Monroe, Snellville, Ga., 3-0
165 lbs: Anthony Campbell, Covington, Tenn., dec. Trevor Lattiore, Bridgeport, Conn., TKO-2
165 lbs: Marquis Moore, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. Christopher Ousely, Middleton, Wis., 3-0
178 lbs: Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif., dec. Miguel Teo, Framingham, Mass., 3-0
178 lbs: Steven Nelson, Omaha, Neb., dec. Richard Vansiclen, Seattle, Wash., 2-1
178 lbs: Eric Moon, Marietta, GA., dec. Joseph George, Houston, Texas, 201
178 lbs: Elvis Figueroa, New Haven, Conn., dec. Edward Ortiz, San Antonio, Texas, 2-1
201 lbs: Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Hakim Lopez, Lithonia, Ga., TKO-2
201 lbs: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas dec. Adrian Taylor, Mesquite, Texas, 3-0
201 lbs: Brandon Glanton, Atlanta, Ga., dec. Sardius Simmons, Flint, Mich., 3-0
201 lbs: Derae Crane, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. Patrick Ferguson, Spokane, Wash., 2-1
201+ lbs: Marlo Moore, Hayward, Calif., dec. Nkosi Solomon, Brooklyn, N.Y., 3-0
201+ lbs: Alante Green, Cleveland, Ohio dec. Manase Raikadroka, Inglewood, Calif., 3-0