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Two U.S. Boxers Drop Their Pan American Games Openers in Guadalajara
by Julie Goldsticker
October 22, 2011

     
   
   
   
   

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Team USA endured a rough opening day of action at the 2011 Pan American Games on a historic Friday night in Guadalajara. Female flyweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) became the first female American boxer to compete in the Pan Am Games, but lost a heartbreaking tiebreaker in her quarterfinal contest. Male middleweight Damarius Russell (Camp Lejeune, N.C.) suffered a loss in the first bout of the tournament for his U.S. squad.

Cruz boxed in the second female bout of the tournament in a flyweight contest against Ingrid Valencia of Colombia, and the boxers traded rounds throughout the low scoring affair. Valencia held a 1-0 lead after one but it was Cruz enjoying the momentum in the middle rounds. T

he American held a slim 4-2 lead with one round remaining, but Valencia won the final stanza to push the bout to a 4-4 tie at the final bell. Valencia won the contest on her 29-27 total punch count edge to eliminate Cruz from the Pan American Games. Despite her disappointment, Cruz appreciated the place in history she earned in the first-ever Pan American Games for women’s boxing. “It (being the first U.S. woman to compete in the Pan Am Games) felt good. Tonight was back and forth. I'm very upset right now,” Cruz said.

Head Coach Gloria Peek added, "It is very important in the grand scheme of things because it is profiling women and what they are capable of. You can tell the skill is there. We just fell down on some basic things tonight."

Russell faced an internationally seasoned foe in his first bout of the tournament. He battled 2008 Olympic silver medalist and reigning Pan American Games champion Emilio Correa of Cuba in Friday’s preliminary round action. Correa held a 7-2 lead after the first and blew it open in the second. Russell faced a 20-3 deficit as the final round began, and Correa went on to win a 27-4 decision over the American boxer. The loss eliminates Russell from Pan American Games contention. "I learned one thing tonight. I have to get my hands up. I've got a lot to learn,” Russell said. “This was my mid-40th fight. I learned that this is really a point system game.”

2010 Women’s World Championships bronze medalist Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will be the lone U.S. boxer to compete in Saturday’s action. She will battle Puerto Rico’s Kiria Tapia in lightweight quarterfinal competition.

Terra is showing a live stream of the full duration of the Pan American Games and fans can watch live action at link

Report is for: October 21, 2011
U.S. Results
112 lbs/female: Ingrid Valencia, COL, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, 4-4 (29-27)
165 lbs/male: Emilio Correa, CUB, dec. Damarius Russell, Camp Lejeune, N.C./USA, 27-4. 

 
     
     
   
 
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