(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Team USA’s Junior World Championships squad had a busy day on Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia. The 12 boxers joined 372 boxers from 50 other nations at the general weigh-in in the morning before the official tournament draw on Friday afternoon. Heavyweight Richard Torrez (Tulare, Calif.) was the only American boxer to compete on the first day of competition and he set a strong tone for the U.S. squad.
Torrez took on Estonia’s Deniss Laidoner in preliminary action on Friday night at the Sibur Arena in St. Petersburg. He landed strong shots from the opening seconds of the bout, hurting Laidoner throughout the bout and sending him to the canvas. Torrez continued to unload heavy punches until the referee stopped the bout at the 1:07 mark of the first round, giving Torrez the TKO victory. He will face Moldova’s Tudor Grisman in second round action on Tuesday.
Four American boxers will compete in today’s action in Russia. Light flyweight Angel Martinez (Rockford, Ill.) will take on Belarus’ Stsiapan Dziachuk and light welterweight Leon Lawson III (Flint, Mich.) will battle New Zealand’s Ricky-Lee Van Blerck in afternoon competition. Featherweight Gabriel Flores (Stockton, Calif.) and light middleweight Joey Spencer (Linden, Mich.) will box in the evening session, facing Kazakhstan’s Berik Jedibayev and Serbia’s Luka Sumarac.
Three more U.S. athletes will box for the first time in Sunday’s competition in St. Petersburg. Pinweight Jesse Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas) will open the world championships in a bout with Turkmenistan’s Batyr Bayramov on Sunday afternoon with flyweight Rey Diaz (N. Las Vegas, Nev.) facing New Zealand’s Junior Acero and welterweight Jaydon Vigil (Lakewood, Colo.) challenging Israel’s Daniel Levin in the day’s early session.
Bantamweight Marc Castro (Fresno, Calif.) and light heavyweight Jared Anderson (Toledo, Ohio) will both box in Sunday’s evening session. Castro will take on Uzbekistan’s Saidjamishid Jafarov and Anderson will battle Shamsudin Shamilov of Norway in tomorrow’s action.
Light bantamweight Otha Jones (Toledo, Ohio) and lightweight Harley Mederos (Brooklyn, N.Y.) both received first round byes and will step in to the ring for the first time on Monday afternoon. Jones will face England’s Charles Frankham in his tournament opener while Mederos boxes India’s Karan.
The 2015 Junior World Championships will continue in two sessions at 2 p.m. (7 a.m. ET) and 6 p.m. (11 a.m. ET) local time through Wednesday, September 9 before a rest day on September 10. Competition will conclude with semifinal action on September 11 and championship bouts on September 12. The event is being live streamed on the official tournament site – http://stpetersburgboxing.org/online.
Coaches Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.), Jason Spencer (Flint, Mich.) and Gabriel Flores, Sr. (Stockton, Calif.) will lead the United States team in Russia with Dr. Travis Lee (Norfolk, Va.) serving as the team physician.
176+ lbs: Richard Torrez, Tulare, Calif./USA dec. Deniss Laidoner, EST, TKO-1 (1:07)
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).