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The United States’ Top Female Boxers Begin the Historic Run Toward the Olympic Debut
by Julie Goldsticker
June 14, 2011


(JUNE 14) COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – With just over a year until the Olympic debut of women’s boxing, a talented group of women will descend on Colorado Springs for the 2011 USA Boxing National Championships. For the first-time ever, one event will serve as a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for both male and female athletes with the top four finishers in the three female Olympic weight classes and 10 men’s divisions clinching the critical qualifying spots. Both the participant numbers and talent level on the women’s rosters reflect the importance of the tournament with a record-breaking 36 athletes slated to compete in the female lightweight division.

The defending champions in the three Olympic weight divisions are back to defend their titles in 2011 with flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) competing for her sixth straight national championship, lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) boxing for her fifth title and middleweight Tiffanie Hearn (Louisville, Ky.) vying for her second consecutive middleweight crown and third overall. Esparza could become only the third female boxer in history to win six straight national championships should she win gold in Colorado Springs.

Yet the trio will face stiff competition from every direction. Esparza will look to avenge a recent loss to 2010 National PAL Champion Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and could face a rematch of her 2010 final round victory over Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.). Former bantamweight national champion Cynthia Moreno (Guadalupe, Ariz.) and 2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.) will both look to make noise in the flyweight division as well.

The jam-packed lightweight division boasts five former national champions in addition to 2010 National PAL Champion Stephanie Han (El Paso, Texas) all vying for one spot atop the medal stand. Underwood could face four-time titlist Caroline Barry (Boulder, Colo.), former featherweight national champions Melissa Parker (Camp Lejeune, N.C.) and Jody Ann Weller (Pomona, N.Y.), as well as 2010 bantamweight gold medalist Lauren Fisher (Dania, Fla.) in a busy week in Colorado Springs.

The middleweight division will showcase tremendous talent as well with numerous former or current titlists converging in the final Olympic weight division. Hearn could face a strong test from four-time national champion Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) in a rematch from their Pan Am Box-offs showdown. Former light heavyweight champion Tika Hemingway (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and defending heavyweight titlist Denise Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.) have both moved down to the middleweight division for a run at London and will make their national debut at the new weight class in Colorado Springs. 2009 USA Boxing National Championships gold medalist Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.) rounds out a strong group of former titlists.

One defending national champion has returned outside of the Olympic weight divisions with light welterweight titlist and 2010 Women’s World Championships bronze medalist Cashmere Jackson (Cleveland, Ohio) looking to defend her crown in the 2011 event.

All three Olympic weight divisions will open action on Monday for the preliminary bouts at the Colorado Springs Christian School. The athletes in the three female weight divisions will need to earn berths in Thursday’s semifinal action to clinch their spots in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing. Two sessions per day will be contested Monday-Wednesday with boxing at noon and 6 p.m. prior to Thursday’s lone semifinal session beginning 2 p.m. session on Thursday. The consolation bouts in all of the weight divisions will be contested at 4 p.m. on Friday in the final action at the Colorado Springs Christian School. The event will close with a bang as the competition moves to the historic City Auditorium and the women’s non-Olympic bouts take place at 2 p.m. and the 13 Olympic weight division contests will begin at 6 p.m.

2011 USA Boxing National Championships tickets are only $15 before June 20 and will run $20 after June and can be purchased through ticketswest.com. The USA Boxing National Championships have been held annually since 1888, making it the longest running amateur boxing tournament in the United States, and the event consistently showcases future Olympians and future World Champions. Former champions include Muhammad Ali (as Cassius Clay). Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Andre Ward.

2011 USA Boxing National Championships Female Athletes by Weight Class

Light flyweight/106 lbs (Six Boxers)

Natalie Gonzalez, New Rochelle, N.Y.

Elizabeth Rodriguez, Gilroy, Calif.

Lisa Ha, Honolulu, Hawaii

Vanessa Guzman, Chula Vista, Calif.

Marina Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev.

Amy Sowers, Bozeman, Mont.

Flyweight/112 lbs (22 Boxers) - Olympic

Tyreishia Douglas, Baltimore, Md. (2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist)

Noemi Bosques, Pinellas Park, Fla.

Megan Rembold, Oswego, Ill.

Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas (Five-time National Champion)

Alicia Avila, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jamie Mitchell, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Bernice Hernandez, Las Vegas, Nev.

Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y. (2010 National PAL Champion)

LaTonya King, Harrison, Mich.

Heather Han, El Paso, Texas

Rhonda McGee, Vacaville, Calif.

Nicole Pasillas, Aurora, Colo.

Autumn Anderson, Bellevue, Neb.

Paola Estrada, Palmdale, Calif.

Cassandra Mendoza, Greeley, Colo.

Alex Love, Monroe, Wash. (2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist)

Cynthia Moreno, Guadalupe, Ariz. (2008 National Champion)

Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga.

Virgina 'Ginny' Fuchs, Baton Rouge, La.

Tiffany Perez, Hammond, Ind.

Ashlee Reyes, San Antonio, Texas

Maryguenn Vellinga, Salt Lake City, Utah

Bantamweight/119 lbs (12 Boxers)

Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass.

Rayleen Williams, Lincoln, Del.

Rosa Rodriguez, Miami, Fla.

Tiffany Griffin, Chicago, Ill.

Shanice Herron, St. Louis, Mo.

Shanne Ruelas, Fresno, Calif.

Bryonna Jumandig, Tacoma, Wash.

Haley Pasion, Waipahu, Hawaii

Nephateria Miller, New Haven, Conn.

Lindsay Bartels, Omaha, Neb.

Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass.
Erica Rosenburg, Fountain, Colo.

Featherweight/125 lbs (10 Boxers)

Heather Hardy, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Alecia DeFrank, Rickey, Fla.

Ronica Rodriguez, Lansing, Mich.

Carissa Casey Morton, San Francisco, Calif.

Lori Argumedo, Commerce City, Calif.

Andrea Peters, Ft. Carson, Colo.

Elizabeth Leddy, Portland, Maine (2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist)

Kristen McKnight, Angien, N.C.

Asia Stevenson, Washington, D.C.

Emily Dagman, Jasper, TN

Lightweight/132 lbs (36 Boxers) - Olympic

Comel Chandler, Brooklyn, New York

Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla.

N'yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio

Marianne Kraus, Indianola, Iowa

Jeanelle Leal, Corpus Christi, Texas

Earnestine Wesley, Garland, Texas

Amorena Baca, Denver, Colo.

Jayli Fimbres, Newton, N.D.

Brenda Gutierrez, Sacramento, Calif.

Maira Madrigal, Wenataliee, Wash.

Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif.

Caroline Barry, Boulder, Colo. (Four-time National Champion)

Melissa Parker, Camp Lejeune, N.C. (2009 National Champion)

Mikaela Mayer, Marquette, Mich.

Stephanie Han, El Paso, Texas (2010 National PAL Champion)

Queen Underwood, Tacoma, Wash. (Four-time National Champion)

Jody-Ann Weller, Pomona, N.Y. (2010 Featherweight National Champion)

Darina Mims, Greensboro, N.C.

Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla.

Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y.

Storm Chandler, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Robin Conroy, Wilmington, N.C.

Stefanie Taylor, West Hills, Calif.

Jasmedh Rosales, Los Angeles, Calif.

Micaela Arce, Reno, Nev.

Rita Martinez, Las Cruces, N.M.

Madeline Guzman, Perth Amboy, N.J.

Jessie Owens, Virginia Beach, Va.

Amber Smith, Ft. Worth, Texas

Selina Barrios, San Antonio, Texas

Alecia Gutierrez, Chicago, Ill.

Ishika Lay, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Takesha Edward, Houston, Texas

Lauren Fisher, Dania, Fla. (2010 Bantamweight National Champion)

Sherry Whetten, Tucson, Ariz.

Kymmberli Stowe, Millersville, Pa.

Light welterweight/141 lbs (12 Boxers)

Kathleen Walsh, Rankankama, N.Y.

Samantha Griffith, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Rebecca Laborde, Tampa, Fla.

Cashmere Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio (2010 USA Boxing National Champion)

Jessica McCaskill, St. Louis, Mo.

Urbana Hernandez, El Paso, Texas

Ariel Beck, Deer Lodge, Mont.

Luvisa Matali, Denver, Colo.

Griselda Madrigal, Wenataliee, Wash.

Rachell Wehrle, Stafford, Va.

Kendra Macon, Charlotte, N.C.

Kristin Gearhart, Oak Park, Ill.

Welterweight/152 lbs (Seven Boxers)

LaTarishia Fountain, Flushing, N.Y.

Christine Poulauskis, Oakland Park, Fla.

Amournix Stamp, Milwaukee, Wis.

Lindsey Soderberg, Holt, Mich.

Faith Franco, Duarte, Calif.

Jen Johnson, Kalispell, Mont.

Diona Wigand, Lexington, Ky.

Middleweight/165 lbs (21 boxers) - Olympic

Christina Jenson, Centereach, N.Y.

Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md. (Four-time National Champion)

Heather Bassett, Jackson, Tenn.

Audrey Drew, Dallas, Texas

Tara Weisshaar, Burlington, Colo.

Amy Castillo, Bakersfield, Calif.

Fallon Farrar, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif.

Raven Barnes, Marquette, Mich.

Kalita Marsh, Smithfield, N.C.

Denise Rico, Los Angeles, Calif. (2010 USA Boxing National Champion)

Alyssa DeFazio, Peoria, Ariz. (2009 National Champion)

Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky. (2010 Heavyweight National Champion)

Dara Shen, Fairfax, Va.

Melinda Levasseur, Magnolia, Del.

Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. (2009 Light Heavyweight National Champion)

LaTeisha Darden, Wilmington, N.C.

Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif.

Maria Dominguez, Wouchula, Fla.

Jennifer Egan, Mohopac, N.Y.

Marie Ybarra, Greeley, Colo.

Light heavyweight/178 lbs (1 Boxer)

Kimberly Olech, Canton, Ohio

Heavyweight/178+ (3 Boxers)

Natalie Pacheco, Bronx, N.Y.

Charnita Johnson, Columbus, Ohio

Natacia Manuma, Mililoni, Hawaii

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).



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