The USA Squad Learns Their Opening
Round Opponents at the Americas Qualifier
by Julie Godsticker
March 11, 2016
(MAR 11) The United
States team and their fellow competitors learned their road to
Olympic qualification on Friday at the Americas Qualifier in
Buenos Aires, Argentina. All of the American athletes
successfully made weight on Friday night prior to the official
tournament draw at the host hotel. More than 180 athletes from
33 nations in south, central and north America traveled to
Buenos Aires for the Olympic qualifying event.
None of the U.S. team members will compete in opening night
action but three American boxers will step in to the ring for
Saturday's preliminary competition at the Ferial la Rural de
Palermo in Buenos Aires. Light heavyweight Jonathan Esquivel
(Anaheim, Calif.) and super heavyweight Marlo Moore (Hayward,
Calif.) will compete in the early session, facing the Bahamas
Israel Johnson and Canada's Aaron Huggins respectively.
Lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) will take on
Kimberly Gittens from Barbados in evening action.
Three more American boxers will compete in Sunday afternoon's
preliminary competition. Bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark,
N.J.) will open the tournament in a bout with Colombia's Luis
David Vargas while middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland
Heights, Ohio) will battle Alejandro Mora of Uruguay.
Heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will close the day's
action from Team USA in a match with Davon Hamilton of the
On Monday, four U.S. athletes will compete in their first bouts.
Welterweight Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.) will take on Hopkin
Ebanks of the Cayman Islands in the afternoon session. Flyweight
Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) and 2012 Olympic gold medalist
middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will box in
Monday's evening competition. Fuchs will face the winner of an
opening round match between Ecuador and Mexico and Shields will
challenge Panama's Atheyna Byion in her first bout of the
tournament. Pan American Games flyweight champion Antonio Vargas
(Kissimmee, Fla.) will take on the Dominican Republic's Leonel
De Los Santos in evening session as well.
Light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas) and light
welterweight Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.) will be the
final two U.S. boxers to compete in Argentina, opening action on
Wednesday. Hernandez will face the winner of Venezuela and Costa
Rica in the early session while Russell faces the victor of a
bout between Costa Rica and Ecuador in evening competition.
The American team arrived in Buenos Aires on March 2 and spent
their final week of training camp acclimating to their new time
zone and surroundings in Argentina. All 12 Olympic Trials
winners will compete in the continental qualifying event with 25
Olympic spots on the line in Buenos Aires in the 13 Olympic
Kroll, Conwell, Awesome and Moore will all need to place in the
top three to secure their Olympic berths. The third place spot
will be determined by a consolation bout on the same date as the
Hernandez, Fuchs, Vargas, Stevenson, Russell, Shiels and
Esquivel will all need to advance to the tournament finals and
Mayer will need to win gold to earn their spots in the 2016
USA Boxing Women's National Team Head Coach Billy Walsh
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) and coaches Joe Guzman (Colorado
Springs, Colo.), Kay Koroma (Burke, Va.), Benny Roman (Brooklyn,
N.Y.) and Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.) will guide the
American team in Argentina.
The Americas Olympic Qualifier is the first of three qualifying
opportunities for the men and two for the female athletes. The
top four athletes in the Women's World Championships in May will
also advance to the 2016 Olympic Games. The men will have two
additional qualifying events in in June and potentially early
July to determine the final male athletes competing in Brazil.
Lightweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.) qualified for
the 2016 Olympics based upon his finish in the 2015 World Series
of Boxing season and does not need to compete in any qualifying
Watch the entire competition live by heading over to http://tycsports.com.
For full tournament brackets, click here.
Team USA's Opening Bouts
108 lbs: Nico Hernandez, Wichita, Kansas/USA vs. winner of
Venezuela/Costa Rica on March 16
112 lbs/female: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas/USA vs winner of
Ecuador/Mexico on March 14
114 lbs/male: Antonio Vargas, Kissimmee, Fla./USA vs. Leonel De
Los Santos, DOM on March 14
123 lbs/male: Shakur Stevenson, Newark, N.J./USA vs. Luis David
Vargas, COL on March 13
132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA vs.
Kimberly Gittens, BAR on March 12
141 lbs/male: Gary Russell, Capitol Heights, Md./USA vs. Costa
Rica/Ecuador on March 16
152 lbs/male: Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Pa./USA vs. Hopkin
Ebanks, CAY on March 14
165 lbs/female: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA vs. Atheyna
Byion, PAN on March 14
165 lbs/male: Charles Conwell, Cleveland Heights, Ohio/USA vs.
Alejandro More, URU on March 13
178 lbs/male: Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif./USA vs. Israel
Johnson, BAH on March 12
201 lbs/male: Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas/USA vs. Davon
Hamilton, BAH on March 13
201+ lbs/male: Marlo Moore, Hayward, Calif./USA vs. Aaron
Huggins, CAN, on March 12