Ten Olympic Hopefuls Keep Their Rio Dreams Alive


While the winners bracket athletes enjoyed the first of two rest days, the challengers bracket competitors battled it out to advance in the Olympic Trials for Men’s Boxing on Thursday night. Ten boxers avoided elimination with victories at the Silver Legacy Grande Exposition Hall tonight.

Pablo Ramirez (Weslaco, Texas) claimed the first victory of the night in his light flyweight contest with Nicholas Scaturchio (Hartsdale, N.Y.). Ramirez won a 3-0 decision over Scaturchio in the match-up to advance on to the challengers bracket finale on Friday. He will face two-time USA Boxing national champion Leroy Davila (Princeton, N.J.) to advance on to the light flyweight finale.

A defending Olympic Trials champion fell in Thursday’s flyweight competition. 2012 light flyweight titlist Eros Correa (San Jose, Calif.) faced off with 2014 National Golden Gloves champion Christian Carto (Deptford, N.J.) in Thursday’s challengers bracket action. Carto pulled out a 2-1 decision over Correa in the contest and will return tomorrow in a match-up with 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist Antonio Vargas.

The bantamweight division featured a highly entertaining match-up between WSB and World Team Trial champion Francisco Martinez (Dallas, Texas) and 2015 National Golden Gloves titlist Ruben Villa (Salinas, Calif.). Martinez came out firing early but Villa looked to answer as the momentum swung throughout the contest. With the loud support of his family and friends cheering him on, Villa was named the victor by unanimous decision. He will take on Efren Lopez (Fresno, Calif.) in Friday’s challengers bracket finals.

Despite the bout not being an Olympic Trials contest, the two boxers put on a show in the lightweight division.  Bruce Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Elijah Pierce (Oklahoma City, Okla.) battled for the remaining spot in the lightweight division challengers bracket finale and the two boxers left it all in the ring. At the end of three hard-fought rounds, Carrington won the bout by a 2-1 margin. He returns to the ring on Friday in a contest with Maliek Montgomery (Macon, Ga.)

In the same path that his brother and 2008 Olympian Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) followed, light welterweight Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.) is continuing his march through the challengers bracket. Russell faced off with Jamaine Ortiz-Rodriguez (Worcester, Mass.) in his third challengers bracket bout. He took a unanimous decision over Ortiz-Rodriguez to earn his spot in the light welterweight challengers bracket finale with Rahim Gonzales (Sylmar, Calif.).

Friday’s welterweight division bout showcased a match-up between Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Ferdinand Kerobyan (N. Hollywood, Calif.).  Kroll advanced on in the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Kerobyan in the bout and will battle WSB and World Team Trial champion Brian Ceballo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in Friday’s challengers bracket finals.

Two-time USA Boxing national champion Leshawn Rodriquez (Medford, N.Y.) and WSB and World Team Trial gold medalist Anthony Campbell (Covington, Tenn.) battled to keep their Olympic dreams alive in the middleweight division. Only one could advance on to Friday’s action and that athlete was Rodriquez with a 2-1 decision.

In the light heavyweight division, Joseph George (Houston, Texas) punched his ticket for the challengers bracket finals with a 3-0 win over Miguel Teo (Framingham, Mass.) in their bout on Thursday. George will challenge Elvis Figueroa (New Haven, Conn.) in Friday’s action.

WSB and World Team Trial champion and USA Boxing National Champion Joshua Temple (St. Louis, Mo.) remained in tournament contention with a 2-1 win over Brandon Glanton in Thursday’s heavyweight action. He will compete for a spot on championship night in a contest with Derae Crane (St. Louis, Mo.) on Friday.

Brandon Lynch (Albany, N.Y.) claimed the final spot on Friday’s bout sheet with a unanimous decision win over Alante Green (Cleveland, Ohio) in the super heavyweight division. Lynch will have a walkover in Friday’s bout due to Darmani Rock (Philadelphia, Pa.) being unable to compete in Friday’s action.

Four female athletes earned berths on the 2016 Women’s World Championships team with final round wins on Thursday at the Silver Legacy Grande Exposition Hall. 2014 World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will return to World Championships competition in her original weight class – light flyweight. 2012 World Championships bronze medalist Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) will compete in Olympic year world championships competition at the bantamweight division once again. Junior and Youth world champion Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) will look to add an elite world title to her resume at the light welterweight division. Welterweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and two-time Olympic Trials silver medalist Tika Hemingway (Brackenridge, Pa.) each qualified for the world championships on Thursday night as well. The featherweight division will conclude on Friday following Thursday’s semifinal bouts.

The Olympic Trials for Men’s Boxing will move to the Reno Events Center on Friday with challengers bracket final round action beginning at 7 p.m. PT. Friday’s winners will advance to Saturday’s final round action.

Olympic Trials for Men’s Boxing Results

108 lbs/challengers bracket: Pablo Ramirez, Weslaco, Texas, dec. Nicholas Scaturchio, Hartsdale, N.Y., 3-0
114 lbs/challengers bracket: Christian Carto, Deptford, N.J., dec. Eros Correa, San Jose, Calif., 2-1
123 lbs/challengers bracket: Ruben Villa, Salinas, Calif., dec. Francisco Martinez, Dallas, Texas, 3-0
132 lbs/challengers bracket: Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Elijah Pierce, Oklahoma, Okla., 2-1
141 lbs/challengers bracket: Gary Russell, Capitol Heights, Md., dec. Jamaine Ortiz-Rodriguez, Worcester, Mass., 3-0
152 lbs/challengers bracket: Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Penn., dec. Ferdinand Kerobyan, N. Hollywood, Calif., 2-1
165 lbs/challengers bracket: Leshawn Rodriguez, Medford, N.Y., dec. Anthony Campbell, Covington, Tenn., 2-1
178 lbs/challengers bracket: Joseph George, Houston, Texas, dec. Miguel Teo, Framingham, Mass., 3-0
201 lbs/challengers bracket: Joshua Temple, St. Louis, Mo., dec. Brandon Glanton, Atlanta, Ga., 2-1
201+ lbs/challengers bracket: Brandon Lynch, Albany, N.Y., dec. Alante Green, Cleveland, Ohio, 3-0

Women’s World Team Trials Results

106 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas, dec. Jennifer Amato, Kenne, N.H., 3-0
119 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y., dec. Amanda Pavone, Burlington, Mass., 2-1
125 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Stalacia Leggett, San Diego, Calif., dec. Rory Santos, Anchorage, Alaska, 3-0
125 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Melissa Parker, Ft. Carson, Colo., won by TKO over Melody Montes, Kissimmee, Fla., TKO-1
141 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif., won by TKO over Amelia Moore, Millersville, Md., TKO-1
152 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Naomi Graham, Ft. Carson, Colo., dec. Martha Fabela, Oakland, Calif., 2-1
178 lbs/Women’s World Trial: Tika Hemingway, Brackenridge, Penn., dec. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md., 2-1