(MOBILE, ALA.) – A full week of boxing culminated in final round competition on Friday at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing in Mobile, Ala. The champions bracket winners faced off with the challengers bracket victors in 10 bouts of action. The challengers bracket winners were looking to stay alive in the tournament with a victory while the winners bracket athletes hoped to seal their Olympic Trials titles on Friday night.
Eros Correa (San Jose, Calif.) won the first title of the night in his bout with challengers bracket winner Santos Vasquez (Sparks, Nev.). The bout was closely contested throughout with Correa holding a slim 14-12 edge with one round of boxing remaining. He doubled his lead over the final three minutes to win a 22-18 decision and the light flyweight title.
Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) became the first boxer to win three straight U.S. Olympic Team Trials titles on Friday night. Warren defeated a game Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) by a 31-18 margin in their second match-up of the week. Warren led by only two points after the first round but began to build on his lead as both boxers looked for openings in their opponent’s defense. Warren led 14-9 after the second, but both boxers’ hands really began to fly in the final stanza. Despite Simpson’s best efforts, he couldn’t impact Warren’s date with history and the two-time Olympian moved one step closer to becoming the first U.S. boxer ever to compete in three Olympic Games.
The champions bracket winning streak continued in the bantamweight division as Joseph Diaz, Jr. (El Monte, Calif.) punched his ticket for Azerbaijan with a close 17-14 victory over O’Shanique Foster (Orange, Texas). The two were tied at nine with one round remaining and Diaz outscored Foster by a three-point margin in the last round to win the final decision and the bantamweight crown.
Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) joined the first three winners bracket champions in earning a victory on Friday night. Ramirez defeated 2008 Olympian Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio) in their lightweight showdown to advance to take the gold medal. He led by a small one-point margin after the opening stanza and pushed his lead to six after two. Ramirez held on over the final three minutes to take a 21-16 victory and the lightweight title.
In the light welterweight division, one of the biggest surprises of the tournament claimed an Olympic Trials title. The United States Marine Corps’ Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) won the gold medal with a 15-10 decision over Pedro Sosa (Bronx, N.Y.). After a close first round, Herring moved out to an 11-7 lead after two rounds. Sosa couldn’t overcome his deficit and Herring won a 17-14 final to claim the light welterweight title.
Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) won the sixth title of the night in his bout with Amir Imam (Albany, N.Y.). Spence grabbed a three-point advantage after one and extended it to a 17-12 lead with one round of boxing remaining. He held on to his five-point edge over the final three minutes to win a 24-19 decision and win the welterweight gold medal.
Middleweight Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) won the most convincing bout of the evening action in his rematch of the 2010 National Championships finals with Luis Arias (Milwaukee, Wis.). Hart came flying out of the gate before Arias could find his rhythm and took a 16-3 lead after two rounds. He didn’t leave any room for doubt, extending his lead over the final three minutes to win a 21-6 decision and the middleweight title.
The champions bracket continued to roll in the light heavyweight division with Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) winning his showdown with Siju Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.). The trend of close first rounds returned in the light heavyweight class. Browne took a small one point advantage after the opening round and fully grabbed the momentum in the second, enjoying a 12-7 lead with one round remaining. Shabazz made it interesting in the third, pulling to within two but he couldn’t take the lead and Browne won a 14-12 final decision.
Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) won his second straight U.S. Olympic Team Trials championship in convincing fashion in his bout with Joseph Williams (Bronx, N.Y.). Hunter wasted no time getting on the score board, scoring 13 points in the first round to take a commanding 13-3 lead. He held a 21-10 advantage after the second round and went on to win a 28-17 final decision to claim his second straight Olympic Team Trials.
Lenroy Thompson (Lenexa, Kansas) made the night a clean sweep for the champions bracket with a victory over Laron Mitchell (San Francisco, Calif.). Mitchell kept the bout interesting, applying pressure to the moving Thompson. Thompson held a 15-6 lead after the second round and pushed it to a 21-9 final decision to win the super heavyweight championship.
All of tonight’s winners must qualify internationally through the 2011 AIBA World Championships, September 22-October 10 in Baku, Azerbaijan in order to compete in London. The light flyweight through light heavyweight division boxers will need to finish in the top ten while the heavyweight and super heavyweight athletes will have to finish in the top six to officially punch their tickets for London. As all of the champions bracket winners won tonight’s bout, there won’t be any bouts on Saturday.
USA Boxing President Harold Adonis announced Joe Zanders as the Olympic Team Head Coach earlier this week and Zanders enjoyed the chance to meet his team first hand in Mobile.
U.S. Olympic Team Trials Final Round Results
108 lbs: Erros Correa, San Jose, Calif., dec. Santos Vasquez, Sparks, Nev., 22-18
114 lbs: Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio, dec. Shawn Simpson, Chicago Ill., 31-18
123 lbs: Joseph Diaz Jr., El Monte, Calif., dec. O’Shanique Foster, Orange, Texas, 17-14
132 lbs: Jose Ramirez, AvenaI, Calif.., dec. Raynell Williams, Cleveland, Ohio, 21-16
141 lbs: Jamel Herring, Coram, N.Y., dec. Pedro Sosa, Bronx, N.Y., 15-10
152 lbs: Errol Spence, Desoto, Texas dec. Amir Imam, Albany, N.Y., 24-19
165 lbs: Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Luis Arias, Milwaukee, Wis., 21-6
178 lbs: Marcus Browne, Staten Island, N.Y., dec. Siju Shabazz, Las Cruces, N.M., 14-12
201 lbs: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev., dec. Joseph Williams, Queens, N.Y., 28-17
201+ lbs: Lenroy Thompson, Lenexa, Kansas, dec. Laron Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif., 21-9
Source: Julie Goldsticker, USA Boxing