Four U.S. boxers officially punched their tickets for the 2011 Pan American Games at the second Pan American Games qualifier in Quito, Ecuador. Female flyweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.), female middleweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) and male light heavyweight Jeffrey Spencer (Fort Carson, Colo.) all claimed semifinal victories to move on to final round action.
Crews clinched her berth with a slim 9-8 victory over Venezuela’s Blanca Burgos in the middleweight semifinal on Tuesday evening. The close contest was a stark contrast to Crews’ opening bout of the tournament, in which she blanked her opponent by a 22-0 margin. She will face the Dominican Republic’s Yenebier Guillen in the middleweight championship bout.
Underwood finally made her event debut on Wednesday and she quickly made her presence felt in lightweight semifinal action with Maria Ulpino of Venezuela. The 2010 World Championships bronze medalist stopped Ulpino in the first round of the contest to join Crews in final round competition. Underwood will take on Sandra Bizier of Canada in final round action.
Spencer was the final U.S. boxer to take the ring in Quito, but it didn’t stop him from continuing the U.S. winning streak. The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program member defeated Nicaragua’s Osmar Bravo, 14-7 in their light heavyweight showdown. Spencer will battle the Dominican Republic’s Felix Varela in the light heavyweight final round contest.
After dropping her semifinal bout to Jemyma Betraying, 17-6, on Tuesday, Cruz learned on Thursday morning that Betraying was disqualified due to her participation in professional Muay Thai competition. The disqualification of Betraying advances Cruz on to final round action against Mandy Bujold of Canada and earns her a berth in the Pan American Games.
Due to a presidential order in Ecuador preventing any sport action on Friday, championship round boxing will be contested today to determine the gold medalists in the 13 Olympic weight divisions. Cruz, Underwood, Crews and Spencer join super heavyweight Danny Kelly (Washington DC) in earning berths at the 2011 Pan American Games, October 14-30, in Guadalajara, Mexico. The 2011 event will be the first Pan American Games for women’s boxing, mirroring the addition of the sport to the 2012 Olympic Games. Kelly earned his spot at the first Pan American Games qualifier in April.
Wednesday Semifinal Round Results
Female/132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash./USA stopped Maria Ulpino, VEN, RSC-1
Male/178 lbs: Jeffrey Spencer, Fort Carson, Colo./USA dec. Osmar Bravo (NIC), 14-7
Tuesday Semifinal Round Results
165 lbs/female: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA dec. Blanca Burgos, 9-8
Source: USA Boxing