(NOV 2) MEMPHIS, TENN.- It
took a day longer than she hoped, but lightweight Mikaela Mayer
(Los Angeles, Calif.) achieved her dream of becoming Olympic
Trials champion on Sunday afternoon in Memphis, Tenn. Mayer and
2014 Youth Olympic gold medalist Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora,
Calif.) met in a one-bout event at the Cook Convention Center in
a winner-takes-all showdown.
After enduring a 15-minute shrill
fire alarm, the two boxers stepped in to the ring for the bout.
Mayer clearly made adjustments from their meeting last night and
enjoyed two former Olympic head coaches Al Mitchell and Basheer
Abdullah in her corner. The two boxers made it clear from the
opening seconds that they were both going to leave it all in the
ring, engaging in furious exchanges throughout the first two
rounds. Gonzalez looked to take control in the second, backing
Mayer in to the ropes and landing strong shots. Yet Mayer
changed it up in the third round, utilizing her movement and
reach to attempt to halt Gonzalez's charges. The fourth round
was anyone's ballgame and the two boxers left the judges with a
difficult task as the bout ended. As the officials tallied the
scores, the two boxers and their supporters waited in suspense
until Mayer was announced the winner by a 2-1 decision.
"This is the best feeling I've
ever had in my entire life. It wouldn't be a Mikaela Mayer story
if it didn't end like this. Losing in the finals and falling in
to the challengers bracket, that's how my life has always been.
Perseverance has always been my key word," Mayer said. "Hat's
off to Jajaira, she's definitely one of the toughest opponents
I've had in a long time. I had to rework my entire game plan
yesterday and today. I couldn't just go in and hope that by
doing the same thing, I'd come out with the same outcome. We had
to pick up the movement and pick up the boxing skills. I
couldn't stand in front of her. It was the third round, I
started to pick up my movement and I said let me just have fun
with this, use my boxing skills and have fun with her because
that was the only way that I could pull this off. Making her
miss was the key."
Mayer didn't have much time to adjust from her unanimous
decision loss in Saturday's competition but said she didn't
allow herself to have a pity party.
"I was definitely hurt after last night because I made it to the
finals. It was like a dream come true, all I had was one more
fight and I could take home this Olympic Trials win and I fell
in to the losers bracket. I was very angry and very frustrated
and very sad but I had to pull myself together. It was hard but
I had to pull myself together," Mayer said. "It was late last
night that it changed. Laying there you feel sorry for yourself
for a second but you just have to pull yourself out of it. I had
my whole family here and they've been super supportive. I just
had to remember that I'm the best and that's why I'm here and
that's why I won. I know there's still more to go but this is
the first step. If I didn't take this step, there are no more
steps. I'm the happiest girl alive right now. This is a dream
Mayer joins 2016 Olympic Trials champions Virginia Fuchs (Kemah,
Texas) and Claressa Shields (Flint, MIch.). The trio will now
have to qualify internationally via a continental tournament in
March or the World Championships in May.
Gonzalez holds two pieces of USA Boxing history as not only the
first female Youth Olympic gold medalist from the United States
but also the first American female to win both junior and youth
world boxing championships. Prior to this week, the 18-year-old
hadn't loss since her sixth bout.
Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing Results
132 lbs: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Jajaira
Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., 2-1