(SPOKANE, WASH.) – The 2015 USA Boxing Elite National Championships concluded with 20 final round bouts at Northern Quest’s Pend Oreile Pavilion on Saturday. The championship bouts held special importance for the elite men with the 10 gold medalists earning Olympic Trials berths. All six finalists in the women’s Olympic weight divisions clinched their Olympic Trials berths with semifinal victories on Friday.
For the third straight year, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 World Champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and two-time USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) battled for flyweight gold at Northern Quest. As usual, the two boxers entertained the crowd with an exciting bout and both pugilists enjoyed strong crowd support. Yet there could only be one champion and Esparza took her record-breaking ninth USA Boxing national championship with a 3-0 decision over Fuchs. Esparza also received the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award for her record-breaking performance. Both boxers clinched Olympic Trials berth with top two finishes in the tournament.
The male flyweights put on a show as well in their championship bout at the Pend Oreile Pavilion. 2013 youth national champion Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.) took his first elite division crown with another strong performance in flyweight competition. Vargas defeated Khalid Twaiti (Brooklyn, N.Y.) on a unanimous decision to win gold and a berth in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
The lightweights took center stage in the next two bouts in Spokane. 2012 USA Boxing national champion Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) claimed gold in the lightweight division in tonight’s action at Northern Quest. Mayer took a unanimous decision win over fellow California native Lisa Porter (Van Nuys, Calif.) to take the title. Both Mayer and Porter will be competing in their second straight Olympic Trials.
Another boxer fresh out of the youth division won gold in his first elite division tournament in the men’s lightweight division. Hector Tanajara (San Antonio, Texas) and defending champion Genaro Gamez (San Diego, Calif.) both stepped in to their ring for their fifth bout of the week on Saturday night. With both boxers’ fathers advising them in the corner, the two battled it out for the lightweight crown. It was youth winning over experience in the match-up as Tanajara won a unanimous decision victory to clinch a berth in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
In contrast to a first-time national champion, 2012 Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) won her eighth USA Boxing National title in the women’s light welterweight division. She took on Nakarri Jones (Tampa, Fla.) in her first light welterweight championship bout in several years. Underwood’s experience advantage was evident through the bout, leading to a TKO at the 1:00 mark of the fourth round and another gold medal for Underwood.
Neither men’s welterweight finalist had advanced to the gold medal bout in a USA Boxing National Championships previously, but Ardreal Holmes (Flint, Mich.) didn’t stop with just a final round berth. He took it one step further on Saturday night. Holmes earned a 3-0 decision over VeShawn Owens (St. Louis Park, Minn.) to win gold and punch his ticket for the Olympic Trials.
Flint enjoyed more success in the women’s middleweight bout between 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2014 World Champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and 2012 World Championships silver medalist Raquel Miller (San Diego, Calif.). The two familiar foes battled for four strong rounds before Shields won a 2-1 victory for her second straight USA Boxing National Championship. Both Shields and Miller will make a return performance at the 2016 Olympic Team Trials.
In men’s light heavyweight competition, WSB and World Championship Team Trials silver medalist Julio Perez Campusano (Roxbury, Mass.) competed in his second straight national tournament finale. He will return home with silver once again following a split decision win by Edward Ortiz (San Antonio, Texas) in their championship round bout. Ortiz takes home the gold medal as well as clinching an Olympic Trials berth.
A third former youth champion won gold in the super heavyweight finale. 2014 Youth World Champion and Youth Olympic silver medalist Darmani Rock (Philadelphia, Pa.) closed his successful transition to the elite division with a unanimous decision over Marlo Moore (Hayward, Calif.) in their final round contest.
Spokane’s own version of Rocky closed the night and the event in yet another fan-friendly contest. Patrick Ferguson (Spokane, Wash.) entered his first national tournament with only 10 bouts of experience but that didn’t stop the hard-charging boxer from knocking off opponent after opponent. He defeated 2014 silver medalist Sardius Simmons (Flint, Mich.) in quarterfinal competition and recorded a TKO in his semifinal contest to move on to Saturday’s finals. With a full pavilion packed with Ferguson supporters, he closed his run at the gold with a unanimous decision win over Vardan Khachatrian (Los Angeles, Calif.) as his fans roar nearly drowned out the sound of the final bell. Yet his amazing week didn’t end with a gold medal and Olympic Trials berth, he also received the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament win for his improbable gold medal performance.
Two light flyweight bouts kicked off final round action on Saturday afternoon and Maureeca Lambert (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) opened the show with a strong performance in her championship match-up with Brittany Delgado (Center Moriches, N.Y.). Lambert stopped Delgado in the third round of their 106-pound bout to take the first gold medal of the tournament.
In men’s light flyweight action, Melik Elliston (Denver, Colo.) clinched a berth in his first Olympic Team Trials with a victory over Pablo Ramirez (Weslaco, Texas). Elliston defeated Ramirez by a 3-0 margin to take the light flyweight championship.
It was a familiar face taking gold in the women’s bantamweight division. Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) won the bantamweight title for the third straight year, earning a TKO victory over Jennifer Chieng (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in their Big Apple showdown.
A second straight New York City boxer claimed gold in the men’s bantamweight division. Christopher Colbert (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won his first USA Boxing National Championship as well as a berth in the Olympic Trials with a 2-1 win over Rudy Garcia (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the fourth bout of the day.
2012 World Champion and 2014 World Championships bronze medalist Tiara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.) defended her featherweight national title in final round action with Ashleigh Moore (Buzzards, Mass.). Brown boxed her way to a unanimous decision victory in the featherweight title bout to once again claim gold.
The men’s light welterweight division featured the first 2015 men’s national champion returning to Olympic Trials action in 2016. Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) competed in the 2012 qualifying event but after suffering a shoulder injury, underwent major surgery before returning to boxing action in 2014. He won his first USA Boxing national title with a unanimous decision win over Eduardo Garcia (Houston, Texas) on Saturday afternoon.
Welterweight Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) won her third straight national championship in a hard fought bout with 2013 youth national champion Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.). Wolf took a split decision victory over Kinchen to successfully defend her title.
It was a different story in the men’s middleweight division where two-time national champion Leshawn Rodriquez (Medford, N.Y.) took on 2014 USA Boxing National Championships welterweight silver medalist Chordelle Booker (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The two battled in an extremely close bout, but at the end of three rounds, an emotional Booker won a 2-1 decision for his USA Boxing national championship and a berth in the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Two women’s bouts in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions closed the early session at Northern Quest. Multi-time national champion Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) racked up another title with the 2015 crown coming in the light heavyweight division. Crews defeated 2014 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Heidi Henriksen (St. Louis Park, Minn.) by a 3-0 score to win gold.
A first-time USA Boxing national champion won the final gold medal of early action. Shadasia Green (Paterson, N.J.) defeated reigning titlist Krystal Dixon (New Rochelle, N.Y.) by unanimous decision to claim the heavyweight championship.
There will be three more Olympic Trials qualifying events for the elite men and two more for the elite women with the locations and dates currently being confirmed. More information on those tournaments will be released as soon as it is available.
Saturday’s Championship Bout Results
106 lbs/female: Maureeca Lambert, Glen Ellyn, Ill., won on TKO over Brittany Delgado, Center Moriches, N.Y., TKO-3 (1:54)
108 lbs/male: Melik Elliston, Denver, Colo., dec. Pablo Ramirez, Weslaco, Texas, 3-0
112 lbs/female: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas dec. Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas, 3-0
114 lbs/male: Antonio Vargas, Kissimmee, Fla., dec. Khalid Twaiti, Denver, Colo., 3-0
119 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., won on TKO over Jennifer Chieng, Brooklyn, N.Y., TKO
123 lbs/male: Christopher Colbert, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Rudy Garcia, Los Angeles, Calif., 2-1
125 lbs/female: Tiara Brown, Fort Myers, Fla., dec. Ashleigh Moore, Buzzards, Mass., 3-0
132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Lisa Porter, Van Nuys, Calif., 3-0
132 lbs/male: Hector Tanajara, San Antonio, Texas dec. Genaro Gamez, San Diego, Calif., 3-0
141 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., won on TKO over Nakarri Jones, Tampa, Fla., TKO-4 (1:00)
141 lbs/male: Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis., dec. Eduardo Garcia, Houston, Texas, 3-0
152 lbs/female: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif., dec. Samantha Kinchen, Lexington, Ky., 2-1
152 lbs/male: Ardreal Holmes, Flint, Mich., dec. VeShawn Owens, St. Louis Park, Minn., 3-0
165 lbs/female: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Raquel Miller, San Diego, Calif., 2-1
165 lbs/male: Chordelle Booker, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Leshawn Rodriquez, Medford, N.Y., 2-1
178 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., dec. Heidi Henriksen, St. Louis Park, Minn., 3-0
178 lbs/male: Edward Ortiz, San Antonio, Texas dec Julio Perez Campusano, Roxbury, Mass., 2-1
178+ lbs/female: Shadasia Green, Paterson, N.J., dec. Krystal Dixon, New Rochelle, N.Y., 3-0
201 lbs/male: Patrick Ferguson, Spokane, Wash., dec. Vardan Khachatrian, Los Angeles, Calif., 3-0
201+ lbs/male: Darmani Rock, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Marlo Moore, Hayward, Calif., 3-0