Two Southern California Boxers Score
Opening Round Victories at the Americas Olympic Qualifier
by Julie Goldsticker
March 13, 2016
(MAR 13) BUENOS AIRES,
ARGENTINA - Team USA athletes earned two victories on the
opening day of competition for the American squad at the
Americas Olympic Qualifier in Buenos Aires, Argentina on
Saturday. Southern California boxers Jonathan Esquivel (Anaheim,
Calif.) and Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) each recorded
wins on Saturday while Marlo Moore (Hayward, Calif.) fell just
short in his first bout of the tournament, dropping a split
Esquivel knew that he would set the tone for his U.S. team at
the Americas Qualifier in Argentina and he ensured that it was a
winning one in Team USA's opening session on Saturday afternoon.
He scored a unanimous decision victory in the tournament opener
for both he and his United States team, taking a definitive win
on Saturday afternoon at the Ferial la Rural de Palermo in
Esquivel opened the competition against the Bahamas' Israel
Johnson and he refused to allow his opponent one moment of peace
in the three round contest. He continuously split Johnson's
gloves with crisp straight shots and used an effective jab to
control the bout. Esquivel stalked the Bahamian boxer
relentlessly, trapping him in one corner after another and
unloading combinations. The American finished the bout strong,
teeing off with a wide array of shots. Esquivel started the
tournament off with a 3-0 victory over Johnson for his United
States squad. The win advances Esquivel on to a quarterfinal
match-up with home nation boxer Marcos Escudero of Argentina on
Wednesday afternoon. With one victory under his belt, Esquivel
needs two more wins to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
"I felt great. I just got the nerves off and the little tension
you feel right before a fight," Esquivel said. "I was touching
with him with the jab and using feints and then I started to get
comfortable. Touching him with the jab was key. I had it my mind
that I was the first fight for the U.S. and I wanted to get the
Mayer was the lone U.S. boxer to compete in evening action and
she put on a memorable performance in his first bout of the
Americas Olympic Qualifier. She opened the tournament in a bout
with Kimberly Gittens of Barbados in women's lightweight action.
Looking to use her experience advantage to her benefit, Mayer
felt her opponent early but her dominance grew throughout the
bout. Mayer turned up the heat in the final two rounds, giving
Gittens a standing eight count in the third round. She continued
to pour it on over the final stanza. Mayer scored two more
standing eight counts in the fourth, the bout was stopped late
in the final round.
"I got the first one under my belt, it's always the hardest with
the nerves but I feel good. I knew that she wasn't as
experienced as I am so I used this to work on some things and
get comfortable doing them for my tougher fights later in the
week," Mayer said. "The right hand was working. I should have
let it go more. I was hesitant at first because she was long but
once I started using the right hand, that was the key. I was
able to test myself. I know I'm in good shape. I know I have the
strength and skills to be here so it was a little bit of a
confidence booster going in to the rest of the fights."
Mayer will return to action in a quarterfinal bout with Canada's
Caroline Veyre on Monday evening. She must win gold at the
Americas Olympic Qualifier to earn her berth in the 2016
Moore competed late in the early session in a super heavyweight
contest with Canada's Aaron Huggins. The bout was not the
cleanest of contests and it became a wrestling match with both
boxers looking to take control. Moore landed several strong
shots as the momentum swung and he looked to take the edge in
the foul-filled match-up. Despite his strong effort, Moore lost
the bout by a 2-1 decision. The loss eliminates Moore from the
Americas Olympic Qualifier.
"I was working against myself. I was working hard but in the
wrong manner. I kind of crashed at the moment. This is a fight
that I should have easily won with my speed, my ability and my
boxing. I worked against myself, I kind of got flustered in the
sloppiness of the match-up," Moore said. "Instead of calmly
thinking my way through it, I tried to push my way though it.
There's where I went wrong today. I just have to sit on it. I'm
not going to say I'm not disappointed."
Moore will have another opportunity to earn his spot in the
Olympic Games at the World Qualifying Event in Baku, Azerbaijan
in June. "This is something that I've been looking at since I
was 15-years-old so I have to calmly analyze the situation,
perfect it at home and come back," said Moore. "I'll be back for
the World Qualifier. I'm not giving up on this dream."
Despite the disappointing loss, Moore was able to learn from his
participation in the Olympic qualifying event. "Even though you
think you've done everything right. You can't prepare perfectly
for everything. Sometimes you have to go against being so
perfect and that's one of the things I feel like I learned
today. Everything's not always going to be perfect."
Tomorrow's Americas Qualifier competition will feature three
American bouts with bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.)
facing Colombia's Luis David Vargas and heavyweight Cam F.
Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) battling Davon Hamilton of the Bahamas.
Middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) will be
the lone American bout of the evening session as he takes on
Alejandro Mora of Uruguay in the late session.
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.) are leading the
American team in Argentina.
Watch the entire competition live by heading over to http://tycsports.com.
For full tournament brackets, click here.
132 lbs/female: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA won on
TKO over Kimberly Gittens, BAR, TKO-4
178 lbs: Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif./USA dec. Israel
Johnson, BAH, 3-0
201+ lbs: Aaron Huggins, CAN, dec. Marlo Moore, Hayward,