(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The 24 female athletes who competed in the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing will always hold their own place in boxing and Olympic history and 17 of those ladies are returning to Northern Quest Resort & Casino and Spokane, Wash., for the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships, April 1-6. The roster of women slated to compete in Spokane boasts a fantastic list of nationally and internationally experienced athletes. All three female Olympians are back in 2013, including gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas). Lightweight Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will enjoy the opportunity to return to her home state for a second major national tournament.
Yet the three Olympians aren’t the only talented females taking the ring in Spokane once again. Reigning world champion Tiara Brown (Hyattsville, Md.) dropped down to the featherweight division after competing in the Olympic Trials at the lightweight class. Brown became only the third female world champion in USA Boxing history last spring at the 2012 World Championships.
Two Olympic Trials middleweight participants enjoyed international success as well after changing weight classes for the 2012 National and World Championships. Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) moved down to the welterweight class while Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) stepped up to the light heavyweight division. Both ladies, who will be competing at the middleweight class in the 2013 event, won silver medals at the 2012 World Championships.
Two additional Olympic Trials participants won world championships hardware after moving up in weight following the Olympic Trials. Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) has chosen to stay at her new bantamweight division after winning a bronze medal at the recent World Championships. Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) is ranked number one in the world at the light welterweight class, but she is slated to return to the jam-packed lightweight division for the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships. Fans may recognize Mayer from the national Dr. Pepper commercial featuring her one of a kind story.
Olympic Trials participants N’yteeyah Sherman (Fairlawn, Ohio) and Lisa Porter (Valley Village, Calif.) will join Brown, Underwood, Mayer, and former national champion Melissa Parker (Spring, Texas) in the talent-laden lightweight division.
Esparza could face fellow Olympic Trials participant Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) in their flyweight division with former flyweight trials competitor Taversha Norwood (Oxnard, Calif.) moving up to the featherweight class for the national championships.
The elite ladies aren’t the only talented women gearing up for the 2013 USA Boxing National Championships, the youth division will also feature some future stars and potential Olympians. The new AIBA rules dictate changes to the age groups, including the addition of the youth division for athletes born in 1995 and 1996. The youth division, which is making its debut at the USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, will include historic Olympic Champion Shields and her fellow 2012 National PAL Champion Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.). Ellis and her brother, Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) won the PAL Championships together in October, but Rashida will now take the ring in the youth division in Spokane. Three younger boxers will be moving up an age group after winning Junior Olympic titles in 2012. Light flyweights Marisol Lopez (Stratford, Calif.) and Monica Van Pelt (Toledo, Ohio) as well as welterweight Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.) are all hoping to add another national title to their resumes at the USA Boxing National Championships.
USA Boxing has been holding the men’s and women’s national championships together since 2005, prior to that time, the events were held separately. Northern Quest enjoys a space in the history of women’s boxing and Olympic history, having held the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing in early 2012.
The 2013 USA Boxing National Championships is being hosted by the Northern Quest Resort & Casino in conjunction with The Hub Sports Center and the Spokane Sports Commission. Athletes will arrive on March 30 and 31 with competition running from April 1-6. Tickets, which start at only $5, are on sale now through the Northern Quest box office and can be purchased at www.northernquest.com.
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).