(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Seven American boxers will box in final round action at the Cheo Aponte Tournament tonight in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Female flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), male lightweight Genaro Gamez (San Diego, Calif.), female lightweight Melissa Parker (Fountain, Colo.), male light welterweight Abraham Nova (San Diego, Calif.), male welterweight Jose Alday (Odessa, Texas), female middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), and male super heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will all take the ring for today’s championship bouts.
2012 Olympic bronze medalist Esparza competed in her first bout of the international tournament in Friday’s action and she made quick work of her opening round opponent. Esparza stopped Puerto Rico’s Rose Matos in the second round of their semifinal bout to move on to tonight’s final round bout with Clelia Costa of Brazil.
Parker made her tournament debut in Friday’s semifinal action as well, facing off with Guatemala’s Karen Perez in lightweight competition. The American lightweight won a unanimous decision over Perez, advancing on to showdown with 2011 Pan American Games champion Kiria Tapia of Puerto Rico.
Welterweight Alday received a first round bye as well, opening his tournament competition on Friday in a contest with Brazil’s Arison Tavarez. He pulled out a split decision victory over Tavarez to earn a berth in tonight’s final round bout with Puerto Rico’s Niclaus Flaz.
Nova took his third victory of the tournament on Friday in Caguas, winning a split decision over the Dominican Republic’s Jackson Martinez in their light welterweight match-up. The trio of victories earned Nova a spot in the light welterweight finale with Walter Duarte of Guatemala.
2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) has been patiently waiting for her chance to step into the ring in Puerto Rico and she will get her opportunity tonight. Shields will compete in her first elite international bout since the 2012 Olympic Games in a showdown with Yenebier Guillen of the Dominican Republic in the women’s middleweight championship bout.
Following a walkover win in his first scheduled bout of the tournament, Awesome will take on Mayor Kieshno of the Bahamas in the super heavyweight championship bout. Gamez enjoyed a semifinal walkover win as well and will take on Puerto Rico’s Jose Rosario in Saturday night’s lightweight final round bout.
Female flyweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), male flyweight Malik Jackson (Washington DC) and male light heavyweight Jasper McCargo (Oakland, Calif.) all fell in Friday’s semifinal round action, but will win bronze medals for their efforts in Puerto Rico.
USA Boxing International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Luis Gamez (San Diego, Calif.) and Jerrick Jones (Albany, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Puerto Rico with Dr. Lucien Parillo (Wallingford, Conn.) joining the squad as the Team Physician and David Zawacki (Reno, Nev.) serving as the AIBA official.
Friday’s U.S. Results
112 lbs/male: Orlando Gonzalez, PUR, dec. Malik Jackson, Washington DC/USA, 3-0
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA won on TKO over Rose Matos, PUR, TKO-2
112 lbs/female: Clelia Costa, BRA, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, 2-1
132 lbs/male: Genaro Gamez, San Diego, Calif./USA won on walkover over Maxwell Ortiz, PUR, W/O
132 lbs/female: Melissa Parker, Fountain, Colo./USA dec. Karen Perez, GUA, 3-0
141 lbs/male: Abraham Nova, Albany, N.Y./USA dec. Jackson Martinez, DOM, 2-1
152 lbs/male: Jose Alday, Odessa, Texas/USA dec. Arison Tavarez, BRA, 2-1
178 lbs/male: Luis Aponte, PUR, dec. Jasper McCargo, Oakland, Calif./USA, 2-1
Thursday’s U.S. Results
123 lbs/male: Alfredo Santiago, PUR, dec. Jarico O’Quinn, Detroit, Mich./USA, 2-1
141 lbs/male: Abraham Nova, Albany, N.Y./USA dec. Rashield Williams, BAH, 3-0
201 lbs/male: Juan Noguiera, BRA, dec. Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo./USA, 3-0
201+ lbs/male: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas/USA won on walkover over Gerardo Bisbal, PUR, W/O