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Day by Day Results of the First Ever U.S. Women's
Olympic Boxing Trials
by Adam Pollack

 February 23, 2012
Photos by Sue TL Fox

WBAN received a special report from Adam Pollack giving an overview of the amateur bouts that took place at the US Olympic Trials, in Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights, from February 13 to February 18, 2012.  On Sunday,  February 12, there was a drawing held  for the boxers.  All 24 boxers took part in this process. [Flyweights] [lightweights] [Middleweights].  [Flash Photo Slideshow of fight photos and behind the scenes]. 
 
  Day 1  

112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas won on a walkover over Cynthia Moreno, Phoenix, Ariz., Esparza was announced to enter the ring, and at that time, she was announced as the winner. 

112 lbs: Alex Love, Monroe, Wash., dec. Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga., 24-15
. This was a nice bout between two quality fighters. Love had the stronger and crisper punches, but Norwood is a good boxer as well.

112 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas, 15-12. Another interesting bout with Fuchs coming forward throwing the harder blows and being more active, but Cruz using her outside style to land the long range blows. Personally, I thought Fuchs won, but Cruz has that stick and move amateur style that makes it easier for the judges to see, which helps with computer scoring.

112 lbs: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Latonya King, Harrison Township, Mich., 34-11
. Both fighters were very fast but southpaw Douglas was stronger and more mature and seemed to have a bit better sense of her range.

132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y., 22-12
. Underwood had early troubles with Aracil's outside awkward style, but came on strong as the bout progressed. Underwood is a nicely skilled boxer with good guard, solid balance, and compact punches. I liked how she calmly worked her way into range. This was actually a difficult bout, despite what the score might show, because Aracil had a style that was tough to look good against.

132 lbs: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif., 27-10. Mayer has a nice outside style, which to me was what outside boxing should be. She moved, but she didn't run. She threw solid quick blows and was sufficiently active. She showed nice poise in there. Porter was game and is a good boxer in her own right.

132 lbs: N'yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio dec. Asia Stevenson, Washington DC, 42-17
. Sherman has nice height and reach and very fast counterpunching ability. Very talented. She knew how to pull the trigger when her opponent was in range. She didn't move much, but was ready to unleash the blows when her opponent gave her the opportunity. Her punches landed solidly as well.

132 lbs: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., dec. Patricia Manuel, Long Beach, Calif., 18-13
. Personally, I thought Manual won this bout. Her punches were so much crisper and heavier. She'll be the far better pro. Brown to me had more of a negative style, with a lot of clinching and smothering and defense, and her punches didn't have as much on them. The referee in this bout should have taken points off Brown.

165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., 31-19
. The star of the tournament thus far has to be 16-year-old Claressa Shields. She made me say "Wow!" She has really really fast hands, and she's game to the core. She doesn't move much, but stands right in range and unleashes a barrage of fast compact punches. She can lead and counter, but her counterpunches are her forte. And wow when she unloads she really gets going, putting punches in bunches. And these punches have sting in them too. But she's an aggressive counterpuncher. She attacks and gets in your range and when you punch she comes back faster, more compact, and with more blows. I have been a fan of Franchon's hard punching pro style, and Crews is very strong, but Shields actually had her backing up, so you know there is some pop in those blows too. Hands down the favorite at 165 based on what I saw from day one. This bout was entertaining and competitive, but really the margin of victory should have been much wider for Shields than the judges had it.

165 lbs: Andrecia Wasson, Centerline, Mich., dec. Dara Shen, Alexandria, Va., 34-9. Wasson is a little bull with strong heavy hands. She was much too strong for Shen.

165 lbs: Tiffanie Hearn, San Diego, Calif., dec. Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., 18-17. The judges got it right, but not by much. Competitive bout by two skilled boxers, but I thought Hearn's blows landed more crisply and cleanly.

165 lbs: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., dec. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., 16-10. This bout was very close and somewhat sloppy. Hemingway was a tad better, but neither fighter really got a rhythm going in this bout. They seemed to neutralize one another. Hemingway was perhaps a tad more experienced with a little faster and sharper punches, with the gamer qualities, so that probably edged it for her.
 
  Day 2  

112 lbs/winners bracket: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas vs. Alex Love, Spokane, Wash.

Love was very game, strong, and aggressive, and certainly she is a good boxer in her own right, but Esparza was too quick, too skilled, and her footwork and fine ring generalship secured her the well-earned victory.

112 lbs/winners bracket: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., vs. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md.

This was a very close and competitive bout. Douglas is a fast and strong southpaw and was the aggressor, showing the gamer qualities, but Cruz is a master of fast footwork and quick outside sharpshooting ability. Douglas could have won this bout if she had been a bit more careful and not attacked quite as often and exposed herself to counters or allowed Cruz to touch her with single shots while they were sparring cautiously at long range between Douglas’ attacks. Defense decided this one for Cruz.

112 lbs/challengers bracket: Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga. Won unopposed.

112 lbs/challengers bracket: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas vs. Latonya King, Harrison Township, Mich.

This was a very close and competitive bout. Southpaw Fuchs had height and reach advantages, and was a tad more aggressive and busy, but King had better footwork and faster hands. They took turns taking leads against one another throughout until Fuchs narrowly edged King. This fight easily could have gone either way.

132 lbs/winners bracket: Queen Underwood, Spokane, Wash., vs. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mayer is a good quality amateur-style boxer with fast hands and good footwork, but Underwood had too much for her. Underwood impressed me even more in this bout than she did the first night. She throws crisp quick and heavy punches that are strong enough to land cleanly and obviously. She moves in consistently but calmly, maintaining a good defensive guard that gives her the confidence and defensive soundness to engage in such a style.

132 lbs/winners bracket: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio vs. Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla.

Sherman used just a bit of footwork to maintain her height and reach advantages, and pulled the trigger on her punches at the right time and often enough and quick enough to keep Brown at the right range. Sherman is good at pumping single shots and then throwing quick combinations. Brown was more of the aggressor and tried to blast in fewer but harder crisper blows that might have been easier for the judges to see land, which, along with the fact that many of Sherman’s blows landed in slapping fashion (particularly the right), perhaps explains why the score was close. However, the overall feel of the bout was that Sherman was in control and she earned the hard-fought decision.

132 lbs/challengers bracket: Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y., vs. Lisa Porter, Northridge, Calif.

Aracil is a tall awkward southpaw who moves around with her hands down below her waist, but she uses her speed and outside boxing well. Still, with her hands down and head up in the air, she is vulnerable to the occasional clean shot, and when Porter drew close, Aracil had no inside game other than to hold. This caused her to draw a warning for the excessive grabbing. Porter was a solid boxer who did her best when pressing the action with speed and ferocity. This was a close bout but ultimately Aracil’s speed and outside boxing narrowly won the day.

132 lbs/challengers bracket: Asia Stevenson, Washington DC vs. Patricia Manuel, Long Beach, Calif.

Stevenson wins via medical disqualification.

165 lbs/winners bracket: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., vs. Andrecia Wasson, Centerline, Mich.

Once again, Claressa Shields showed me that she is the most talented boxer in this tournament. She has blazing fast hands, puts her punches together very well, is very game, and she has the type of pop on her punches that hurt and can make a very strong game bull like Wasson show her respect. Shields asserts herself very well and is always ready to unload. Another very fun and entertaining bout from Shields, for she and Wasson duked it out in exciting fashion. Wasson is a very good fighter as well, but ultimately, Shields had too much height, reach, speed, power, combinations, and condition.

165 lbs/winners bracket: Tiffanie Hearn, San Diego, Calif., vs. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hemingway used her good outside footwork and faster hands to offset the height and reach of the solid Hearn.

165 lbs/challengers bracket: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., vs. Dara Shen, Alexandria, Va. – Crews won on medical disqualification.

165 lbs/challengers bracket: Tiffanie Ward, Hacienda Heights, Calif., vs. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif. – Miller won a decision but I did not see this bout.

 
  Day 3 Challengers’ Bracket Bouts

112 lbs/challengers bracket: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., vs. Taversha Norwood, Marietta, Ga.

Both fighters were southpaws. Douglas was a bit faster and stronger, and seemed bigger too. She was in control for the most part, but really poured it on in the final round, when the referee administered a couple standing eight counts until properly stopping it in the 4th round once Norwood was no longer responding well to the barrage of Douglas’ blows.

112 lbs/challengers bracket: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas vs. Alex Love, Monroe, Wash.

Love had the faster, sharper punches, particularly up close, but southpaw Fuchs had the height and reach advantages and kept her hands moving in a much busier fashion, almost nonstop with straight punches, which kept Fuchs in control of the bout and earned her the victory.

132 lbs/challengers bracket: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., vs. Bertha Aracil, Yonkers, N.Y.

The tall lanky southpaw Aracil was at her best while on the outside, and appeared to be the superior boxer when doing so, but she allowed the shorter Brown to get into range too often, and this made it a closer bout than it should have been. At times, this bout had a certain sloppiness to it, and both fighters seemed slightly drained by the day-after-day boxing. Brown edged it, but this is one that easily could have gone the other way.

132 lbs/challengers bracket: Asia Stevenson, Washington DC vs. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mayer is a fine fighter, exhibiting excellent ring generalship from both the outside and at closer range. Her punches were quick and sharp, landed very solidly, and she had a very high land percentage. Her balance is quite solid and she had nice footwork. Upon the fourth standing eight count of the bout, the referee stopped the contest in the final round in Mayer’s favor.

165 lbs/challengers bracket: Tiffanie Hearn, Louisville, Ky., vs. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md.

This was a fun competitive fight filled with hard punching on both sides combined with a fair amount of brute wrestling tactics that saw two warnings issued to Crews and one to Hearn. Quite frankly, I thought the taller Hearn was the cleaner, more skilled, and effective boxer, but the judges narrowly awarded the decision to Crews.

165 lbs/challengers bracket: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., vs. Andrecia Wasson, Centerline, Mich.

This was a close and competitive bout. Miller used her height, reach, speed, and cagey boxing to narrowly edge Wasson.
 
  Day 4  

112 lbs/winners bracket: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas vs. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y.

This was a tactical and skillful boxing match by two quick and fairly cautious defensively sound boxers. Cruz had the height and reach advantages, but the slightly more aggressive and active Esparza won the very close 13-10 decision.

112 lbs/challengers bracket: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., vs. Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas

Southpaw Fuchs had height, reach, and a busy style, but southpaw Douglas was much faster and had the crisper, harder, cleaner blows, and appeared to be in control throughout the bout. Douglas won 31-19.

The 112-pound challenger’s bracket final between Cruz and Douglas should be a very interesting and competitive contest, for it is a rematch of their earlier bout in the tournament won by Cruz. However, that bout was very close throughout, and with a few adjustments, Douglas could possibly win the rematch. Expect another close decision.

132 lbs/winners bracket: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., vs. N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio

I was looking forward to this bout, and it did not disappoint. This was high quality competition between two skilled and talented athletes. Sherman matched her vast height and reach and active quick style against Underwood’s in and out footwork and crisp compact powerful blows. The bout was close and hotly contested throughout. Sherman might have actually landed more punches but Underwood’s harder blows were more obvious and may well have caught the judges’ eyes more easily. Underwood won the narrow decision 25-24. Again, this was such a really fun and evenly matched contest, perhaps the best of the tournament. I’d love to see a rematch. If they were to meet again, Sherman needs to maintain her range a tad more, watch out for Underwood’s counter right, throw her own right in a bit straighter fashion with the knuckle turned over and follow it with a jab or immediate defense after unleashing it.

132 lbs/challengers bracket: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla., vs. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.

Mayer again impressed me as a well-rounded skilled boxer with solid ring generalship, fluid footwork, nice combinations to the body and head, and a good sense of range. Although more of an outside boxer, Mayer knows how to work up and down to the body and head with solid blows when in closer range. Brown had the heavier blows, which perhaps explains why the judges had the bout a close one, but I did not see it that way. I thought Mayer won much more clearly, but either way, she earned the 23-18 decision.

Mayer vs. Sherman in the challenger’s bracket final should be a very interesting and high quality bout.

165 lbs/winners bracket: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., vs. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The more experienced Hemingway had good footwork and fast hands and an awkward in and out style, and knew how to smother, grab, or bull in when she wanted, which made things somewhat difficult on Shields. Shields was more flat-footed, but she had a slight height and reach advantage, and more importantly, she effectively used her better speed, power, and combinations to keep her ahead throughout. Shields won 23-15, but this bout was not easy on her. She showed definite fatigue in the final round.

To become more of a complete boxer, Shields needs to develop her footwork more, and needs to work on not allowing an opponent to bull her back to the ropes or a corner. She certainly has the talent to do it.

165 lbs/challengers bracket: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., vs. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif.

Miller was faster of hand and foot and matched her speed against the stronger Crews. Miller knows how to clinch and wrestle too. Miller won 26-15.

The challenger’s bracket final, Miller-Hemingway, will be a rematch of the earlier bout won by Hemingway. This should be another tactical bout.

 
  Day 5 Challengers Bracket Finals

112 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., vs. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md.

This was a close and competitive bout, with southpaw Douglas holding the narrow edge against the fleet-footed Cruz through the first 3 rounds just as she did in their prior bout. But this time Douglas boxed smart in the final round, and really found a home for her right hook, finally landing with consistency for the first time in the bout. Perhaps going into the 4th round down by two points also made Cruz change her style, for she was trying to be more aggressive, which left her vulnerable to getting hit more. Douglas won 22-12 but the final score does not indicate just how close this bout was through 3 rounds.

132 lbs: N’yteeyah Sherman, Barberton, Ohio vs. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.

This was another interesting and close competition. Both fighters are outside boxers, but the taller Sherman held her ground more, while Mayer moved about more. Neither ran, but for the most part remained in range and boxed with quick punches. Sherman held the slight edge in the 1st round, but Mayer landed solidly in the 2nd, particularly with her right. She would attack with quick crisp blows and then move a bit again. She continued this in the 3rd round. Sherman seemed less energetic than she did the night before, and was perhaps a bit thrown off by Mayer’s quick style. Mayer brought a slight lead into the final round, which saw both women land well, but Mayer was able to maintain her lead and edge the bout with a 26-25 score. This had to be a heart-breaker for Sherman, losing two bouts in a row by one point.

165 lbs: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., vs. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif.

Hemingway seemed bigger and stronger, and fired the quicker and crisper blows, both as leads or as counters, moving forward or moving back. Tika was also good at clinching a great deal to frustrate Miller’s offense. Hemingway’s style is one which is difficult to get a read on at any given moment, which makes her effective, even though her bouts are not necessarily always aesthetically pleasing. Hemingway 21-6.

 
  Day 6 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Finals – Winner’s Bracket Victor vs. Challenger’s Bracket Victor

 
112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas dec. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., 32-17

This bout felt a bit closer than the final score. Esparza used a fast outside style against southpaw Douglas’ strong and fast blows. Douglas’ punches were harder, but Esparza had very good ring generalship and knew how to work the computer scoring system in poised fashion, boxing smartly throughout, firing very quick punches, bouncing and moving back and forth rapidly, and working her offense with her defense very nicely. She never allowed the game Douglas to garner any real momentum or throw Esparza off her game plan, despite the fact that Douglas was strong and landed some heavy straight lefts and right hooks.

132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., 22-19

Similar to their prior bout, the more aggressive Underwood’s blows were simply crisper and stronger, and she was able to advance into Mayer’s range and land solidly often enough to maintain a slight lead throughout. Mayer used her quick combinations and long range style to keep it close, but it felt as though the more flat-footed Underwood was in control.

165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. 23-18

This was another rematch. The more flat-footed Shields once again used her very fast and strong punches and rapid combinations to offset Hemingway’s attempt to use a spoiler style that included movement in and out combined with bulling, smothering, and clinching and the occasional quick and hard blows. Once again Hemingway used her strength to push Shields back fairly often, but Shields was able to maintain her poise and defense and fire back even when in tight or with her back to the ropes or corners. Shields drew a warning for losing her mouthpiece twice in the 2nd round, but still maintained her lead throughout the bout.

All three bouts were hotly contested and entertaining matchups.

Women's Olympics is not a demonstration sport. They will be competing for actual medals for their countries. Three weight divisions will be contested: 112, 132, and 165. The number of participants will be limited to a total of 12 in each weight division as well. The women's world championships held this year will serve as the qualifier. I think the top 8 from that advance to the Olympics, so your country has to hope for a good draw there. Then I think they have four more spots that are based on criteria of which I am not sure.

 

 

 

 
 

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