Twenty Olympic Hopefuls Earn Final Round Berths

The pathway to the podium continued in Chattanooga on Thursday with 20 semifinal round bouts at the WSB and World Championships Team Trial in Chattanooga, Tenn. Forty boxers with Olympic aspirations battled it out for a spot in the event finals with the 20 victors moving one win closer to their dream.

The night got off to a quick start in the two light flyweight semifinal contests with two top boxers moving on to the final round. Joshua Franco (San Antonio, Texas) claimed silver at the recent elite national championships but he’s looking to move in to the gold medal position following his unanimous decision win over Melik Elliston (Denver, Colo.) in their semifinal contest. In the opposite ring, youth national champion Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas) enjoyed a smooth transition in to the elite ranks with a 3-0 victory in his bout with Alfredo Mojica (Dallas, Texas).

2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion Eros Correa (San Jose, Calif.) is making another run at the Olympic Games and he claimed a big win in his semifinal round bout. Correa won a unanimous decision victory over two-time national champion Malik Jackson (Washington DC) to advance to the flyweight finale where he will face Brent Venegas III (Stockton, Calif.). Venegas moved on to the battle of northern California bragging rights with a 3-0 win over Isaac Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas) in their semifinal contest.

Bantamweight Elijah Pierce (Lawrenceville, Ga.) kicked off a string of victories for the state of Georgia with a 2-1 decision over Kevin Ford (St. Louis, Mo.) in their semifinal showdown. Pierce will take on Francisco Martinez (Dallas, Texas) in the championship bout following Martinez’s unanimous decision victory in his bout with Dewayne Beamon (Goldsboro, N.C.) on the opposite side of the bracket.

The lightweight division will feature one of the most anticipated bouts of the tournament as 2014 National Golden Gloves champion Maliek Montgomery (Macon, Ga.) and youth national champion Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.) face off for the WSB and World Championships Team Trial title. Montgomery advanced to the final round with a unanimous decision over Brannon Terry (Little Rock, Ark.) while Balderas defeated Jesus Vasquez (Englewood, Colo.) by a 3-0 margin to clinch his spot in the championship bout.

Towering light welterweight Tra-Kwon Pettis (Atlanta, Ga.) added another win for the peach state in his semifinal bout with youth national champion Jonathan Navarro (Los Angeles, Calif.). Pettis pulled out a 2-1 decision in their bout to earn the first spot in the light welterweight finale. In the second light welterweight semifinal, Tyrek Irby (Oxon Hill, Md.) defeated 2012 Olympic Trials participant Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) by split decision to join Pettis in the final round.

Two-time national champion Jose Alday (Odessa, Texas) was the first reigning titlist to move on to Friday’s final, claiming a 3-0 win over Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.) in welterweight action. Alday will take on Brian Ceballo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the final round following the New Yorker’s unanimous decision victory over Carlos Monroe (Snellville, Ga.)

Alday’s two-year USA Boxing teammate LeShawn Rodriquez (Shirley, N.Y.) also earned a berth in tomorrow’s final round action. Rodriquez faced Chordelle Booker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in a rematch of the USA Boxing National Championships middleweight final round bout. Rodriquez once again took the victory, winning a 2-1 decision in the sequel. In the opposite ring, Anthony Campbell (Covington, Tenn.) enjoyed another win in his home state. Campbell defeated Javier Martinez (Milwaukee, Wis.) by a 3-0 score to move on to the finals.

Two exciting bouts highlighted the light heavyweight semifinal round. 2012 Olympic Training Partner Steven Nelson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) got a taste of the Olympic Games in London but he is hoping to fulfill his own Olympic dream in Rio de Janeiro. Nelson moved one step closer with a unanimous decision win over hard charging Sidney Wheeler (Dalton, Ga.) in their semifinal match-up. Nelson boxed his way to a 3-0 decision and a spot in the finals with Julio Campusano (Roxbury, Mass.). Campusano advanced to championship night with a unanimous decision win of his own over Joshua Balbuena (Smyrna, Ga.).

Heavyweight national champion Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) didn’t need long to punch his ticket for the finals, stopping Hakim Tito Lopez (Lithonia Ga.) at the 1:06 mark of the first round. The heavy-handed Temple will take on Adrian Taylor (Dallas, Texas) tomorrow night for heavyweight gold. Taylor took a 2-1 victory over Vaughn Williams (Greenville, S.C.) in the second heavyweight semifinal bout to join Temple in the final round.

Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) closed the night in his typical unique fashion, winning a 3-0 decision over Frankie Bolton (East Point, Ga.). Awesome gave Bolton two standing eight counts on his way to the first final round berth. Brandon Glanton (Ellenwood, Ga.) took the final victory of semifinal night, winning a unanimous decision in his contest with fellow Georgia native Austin Joseph (Atlanta, Ga.). Awesome and Glanton will battle in the last bout of the tournament on Friday.

The boxers who fell in semifinal action will compete in consolation bouts on Friday at noon ET to determine the third place spot while the finalists kick off championship night at 7 p.m. ET at the Chattanooga Convention Center. All of the bouts will be streamed live under the watch live tab on USA Boxing’s website, www.usaboxing.org.

The winners of the WSB and World Championships Team Trial will receive the first berth in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing as well as earning the opportunity to compete in World Series of Boxing competition and the chance to qualify for the 2015 World Championships, both of which will serve as international qualifying elements for the Rio Olympics.

A full championship night bout sheet is attached.

Thursday’s Semifinal Results

108 lbs: Nico Hernandez, Wichita, Kansas dec. Alfredo Mojica, Dallas, Texas, 3-0
108 lbs: Joshua Franco, San Antonio, Texas dec. Melik Elliston, Denver, Colo., 3-0
114 lbs: Eros Correa, San Jose, Calif., dec. Malik Jackson, Washington DC, 3-0
114 lbs: Brent Venegas III, Stockton, Calif., dec., Isaac Rodriguez, San Antonio, Texas, 3-0
123 lbs: Francisco Martinez, Dallas, Texas dec. Dewayne Beamon, Goldsboro, N.C., 3-0
123 lbs: Elijah Pierce, Lawrenceville, Ga., dec. Kevin Ford, St. Louis, Mo., 2-1
132 lbs: Maliek Montgomery, Macon, Ga., dec. Brannon Terry, Little Rock, Ark., 3-0
132 lbs: Carlos Balderas, Santa Maria, Calif., dec. Jesus Vasquez, Englewood, Colo., 3-0
141 lbs: Tra-Kwon Pettis, Atlanta, Ga., dec. Jonathan Navarro, Los Angeles, Calif., 2-1
141 lbs: Tyrek Irby, Oxon Hill, Md., dec. Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis., 2-1
152 lbs: Jose Alday, Odessa, Texas dec. Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Pa., 3-0
152 lbs: Brian Ceballo, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Carlos Monroe, Snellville, Ga., 3-0
165 lbs: LeShawn Rodriquez, Medford, N.Y., dec. Chordelle Booker, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2-1
165 lbs: Anthony Campbell, Covington, Tenn., dec. Javier Martinez, Milwaukee, Wis., 3-0
178 lbs: Steven Nelson, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. Sidney Wheeler, Dalton, Ga., 3-0
178 lbs: Julio Campusano, Roxbury, Mass., dec. Joshua Balbuena, Smyrna, Ga., 3-0
201 lbs: Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Hakim Tito Lopez, Lithonia, Ga., KO-1 (1:06)
201 lbs: Adrian Taylor, Dallas, Texas dec. Vaughn Williams, Greenville, S.C., 2-1
201+ lbs: Brandon Glanton, Ellenwood, Ga., dec. Austin Joseph, Atlanta, Ga., 3-0

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