Team USA’s final competitor in the WSB/APB Olympic Qualifying Event, light heavyweight
Jonathan Esquivel (Anaheim, Calif.), took on a difficult challenge on Tuesday in Vargas, Venezuela. After winning his opening bout of the tournament, Esquivel drew former world champion and 2004 Olympian Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam of Cameroon in the professional boxer’s tournament debut.
Despite N’Jikam’s extensive professional and amateur resumes, Esquivel was not intimidated by his experienced opponent. He came out looking to land heavy shots and take the bout to the 2004 Olympian. Esquivel got stronger as the bout wore on, winning the third round on two of the judges’ scorecards. Yet N’Jikam was awarded the victory by unanimous decision, taking the match by only one round on each of the judges’ cards. The loss eliminates Esquivel from 2016 Olympic Games contention. The 21-year-old won the light heavyweight title in the 2016 Olympic Trials for Men’s Boxing in December to earn the chance to compete in the Olympic qualifying events.
As Esquivel was the final American boxer remaining in the final Olympic qualifier, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team is now set. Male light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas), male flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.), male bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.), female lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), male lightweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), male light welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.), female middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), and male middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) will represent the United States at the 2016 Olympics. Women’s Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Associate Men’s Coach Kay Koroma (Alexandria, Va.) and Assistant Coach Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.) will serve as the Olympic coaching staff in Rio de Janeiro.
The qualified athletes are currently participating in a multi-nation training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will depart for Rio de Janeiro on July 19 to finalize their Olympic preparations.
Tuesday’s U.S. Result
178 lbs/81 kg: Hassan N’dam N’Jikam, CAM, dec. Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif./USA dec. Spas Genov, BUL, 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). For more information about USA Boxing, go to www.usaboxing.org