While the world’s top elite division boxers gear up for the 2016 Olympic Games, young male athletes from across the globe will compete in their first major international competition September 2-14 at the AIBA Junior Men’s World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia. Twelve of the United States’ top junior male boxers will vie for gold in the biennial event which features the top 15 and 16-year-old male boxers in the world. Over 400 athletes from 46 countries have registered to compete in the 13 junior men’s weight divisions at the 2015 edition of the event.
The American squad departed for Russia on Saturday and the team is currently getting acclimated to the time zone and environment in Russia before the general weigh-in on Friday. The 12 boxers representing the United States will be pinweight Jesse Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas), light flyweight Angel Martinez (Rockford, Ill.), flyweight Rey Diaz (N. Las Vegas, Nev.), light bantamweight Otha Jones (Toledo, Ohio), bantamweight Marc Castro (Fresno, Calif.), featherweight Gabriel Flores (Stockton, Calif.), lightweight Harley Mederos (Brooklyn, N.Y.), light welterweight Leon Lawson III (Flint, Mich.), welterweight Jaydon Vigil (Lakewood, Colo.), light middleweight Joseph Spencer (Linden, Mich.), light heavyweight Jared Anderson (Toledo, Ohio), and heavyweight Richard Torrez (Tulare, Calif.).The U.S. team was selected at the 2015 Junior Open with 11 of the tournament’s gold medalists and silver medalist Vigil all competing in the 2015 Junior Men’s World Championships.
Preliminary competition will begin on Friday evening at the Sibur Arena following the official tournament draw. Tournament action will continue in two sessions at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. 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.
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.
The United States won two medals in the last Junior Men’s World Championships in 2013 with Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) claiming gold and Daniel Gonzalez (Moreno Valley, Calif.) taking silver. The AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships, held every two years, dates back to 2001 when it debuted in Baku, Azerbaijan and was called the AIBA Cadet World Championships. With the participation numbers growing each year and the high level of skill shown in the ring, the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships is a premier event on the international competition calendar.
2015 Junior Men’s World Championships United States Team
101 lbs: Jesse Rodriguez, San Antonio, Texas
106 lbs: Angel Martinez, Rockford, Ill.
110 lbs: Rey Diaz, N. Las Vegas, Nev.
114 lbs: Otha Jones, Toledo, Ohio
119 lbs: Marc Castro, Fresno, Calif.
125 lbs: Gabriel Flores, Stockton, Calif.
132 lbs: Harley Mederos, Brooklyn, N.Y.
138 lbs: Leon Lawson III, Flint, Mich.
145 lbs: Jaydon Vigil, Lakewood, Colo.
154 lbs: Joseph Spencer, Linden, Mich.
176 lbs: Jared Anderson, Toledo, Ohio
176+ lbs: Richard Torrez, Tulare, Calif.