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Kenneth Sims, Jr., and Rashidi Ellis Advance on the First Day of Independence Cup Action in the Dominican Republic



(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The 2013 Independence Cup opened competition on Monday and two U.S. boxers kicked off the tournament with first round victories in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Bantamweight Gary Salazar (Fresno, Calif.), lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.), and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) each took the ring in Monday’s preliminary round competition with Sims and Ellis both claiming wins.

Salazar opened the night for the U.S. team in a bout with Puerto Rico’s Hector Marrero Leon in bantamweight action. Marrero Leon pulled out a 17-15 decision over Salazar in the second bout of the tournament, eliminating him from the Independence Cup.

Sims and Ellis enjoyed better outcomes in their tournament openers on Monday night. Sims faced off with home nation boxer Luis Salazar of the Dominican Republic in the lone lightweight bout of the night. Despite a raucous crowd cheering on his opponent, Sims won a tiebreaker victory over Salazar taking the 13-13 bout on his 41-38 total punch count edge and will return to the ring for second round action on Tuesday.

Ellis claimed a wider victory in his welterweight contest with Guatemala’s Carlos Daniel Tobar Romero in the final U.S. bout of opening night. Ellis earned a 19-9 victory over Romero to move on to Wednesday’s semifinals.

Team USA had an eventful day with the general weigh-in, event draw and three U.S. bouts on Monday. The official event draw determined the brackets for all the weight classes, including the eight U.S. athletes competing in the international event.

Three U.S. boxers will join Sims in in tomorrow’s action with light welterweight Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.) boxing in elite international competition for the first time on Tuesday, facing Brazil’s Jhonatan Sodares. The two female team members will take the ring in Tuesday’s preliminary round action as well. Lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) will face Guatemala’s Karen Ismenia Perez Revoloria in her first round bout while middleweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) will take on home nation Gisela Perez of the Dominican Republic.

Light flyweight Leroy Davila (New Brunswick, N.J.) and flyweight Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.) will box on Wednesday after receiving byes into their quarterfinal round. Davila is awaiting an opponent based on tomorrow’s action while Simpson will face Guatemala’s Eddie Valenzuela Barrilla in quarterfinal round competition.

Coaches Ed Rivas (San Antonio, Texas) and Jason Galarza (Orlando, Fla.) are leading the U.S. squad in to action while Dr. Robin Goodfellow (Albion, Mich.) is serving as the squad’s Team Manager and Physician. The U.S. squad is competing in the first multi-nation tournament of 2013 in the Dominican Republic following a preparatory training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

U.S. Results

123 lbs: Hector Marrero Leon, PUR, dec. Gary Salazar, Fresno, Calif./USA, 17-15

132 lbs: Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill./USA dec. Luis Salazar, DOM, 13-13 (41-38)

152 lbs: Rashidi Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA dec. Carlos Daniel Tobar Romero, GUA, 19-9

USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee