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Four United States Boxers Win Gold Medals at the 2014 Elite Women’s Continental Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico
by Julie Goldsticker
September 28, 2014


(SEPT 28) (COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Four American boxers earned the top spot on the medal stand with final round victories on Saturday at the 2014 Elite Women’s Continental Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) both added new hardware to their trophy cases with championship round wins at the Pan American Volleyball Complex. Returning welterweight champion Danyelle Wolf (San Diego, Calif.) defended her title and international newcomer Krystal Dixon (New Rochelle, N.Y.) claimed the heavyweight crown with final round wins. In addition to the four gold medals, bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), featherweight Tiara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.), and light welterweight Destiny Chearino (Warwick, R.I.) each won silver medals in the event. 

Esparza opened final round competition for the United States team in a flyweight bout with Brazil’s Clelia Costa. The two faced off on Mexican soil just two months ago at the Pan American Olympic Festival and Esparza looked to repeat her unanimous decision victory in the rematch. The international veteran put on another strong performance, defeating Costa by a 3-0 margin to win the first gold medal of the night for the United States. 

Her fellow Olympic medalist took on Canada’s Arine Forti in the middleweight finale and as a Michigan native, Shields is quite familiar with boxers from the United States’ northern neighbor. She claimed another win over the Canadian squad with a unanimous decision victory over Forti in the middleweight championship bout. The 2014 Elite Women’s Continental Championships title is the first for Shields after missing the event last year due to her age.   

Wolf was competing in her second straight continental championship in Mexico and she used that experience to her advantage in her bout with Canada’s Myriam da Silva. The two boxers had already battled twice in 2014 with Da Silva claiming victories in both USA vs. Canada duel meetings. Yet Wolf had something new in store in the third bout and she pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Canadian for her second consecutive continental championship. 

Dixon was one of two U.S. boxers making their Elite Women’s Continental Championships debut in Mexico and she made her experience memorable with a gold medal victory. She took the third U.S. win of the night over Canada, claiming a 3-0 decision over Vanessa Lepage for her first international gold medal. 

Cruz enjoyed a dominating victory in her semifinal bout but the momentum didn’t carry over to her championship round contest with Argentina’s Leonela Sanchez. The American bantamweight lost a 3-0 decision to Sanchez and will return home with a silver medal. 

Brown battled in an ugly contest with Brazil’s Taynna Cardoso in featherweight final round action. The reigning world champion tried to keep the bout clean, but at the end of four rounds, the judges gave the decision to Cardoso by a 2-1 margin. 

Chearino was competing in her first continental championship event and she enjoyed her first international win earlier in the tournament. She wasn’t able to take a second victory in the light welterweight finale, losing a 3-0 decision to host nation boxer Esmerelda Falcon of Mexico. She takes home a silver medal for her strong effort in Mexico. 

Team USA’s Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and light heavyweight Heidi Henriksen (St. Louis Park, Minn.) won bronze medals in the event. 

Coaches Benny Roman (New York, N.Y.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.), and Juan Estrada (San Diego, Calif.) led the U.S. team at the Women’s Continental Championships in Guadalajara. 

Saturday’s Championship Round Results

112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. Clelia Costa, BRA, 3-0

119 lbs: Leonela Sanchez, ARG, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, 3-0 

125 lbs: Taynna Cardoso, BRA, dec. Tiara Brown, Fort Myers, Fla./USA, 2-1

141 lbs: Esmerelda Falcon, MEX, dec. Destiny Chearino, Warwick, R.I./USA, 3-0

152 lbs: Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif./USA dec. Myriam da Silva, 3-1

165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Ariane Forti, CAN, 3-0

178+ lbs: Krystal Dixon, New Rochelle, N.Y./USA, dec. Vanessa Lepage, CAN, 3-0


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