(HOUSTON, TEXAS) – 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Boxing Challengers’ bracket action concluded with 11 bouts on Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. All of the victors in Friday’s action will advance on to the finals to meet the winners bracket champions on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Article posted on 25.08.2007
One of the surprises of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, light flyweight Malcom Franklin (Rialto, Calif.), moved on to final round action with an 18-11 victory over 2004 Olympic runner-up Diego Hurtado (Reno, Nev.). A close first round ended in a 2-2 tie between the two boxers, but Franklin took control in the second round. He scored five points in the round while holding Hurtado to only one to move out to a 7-3 lead at the halfway mark of the bout. Hurtado pulled the bout to a five-point margin at 11-6 in the third round, and went into the fourth looking to continue his Olympic Trials at least one more night. Yet Franklin only extended his lead, winning the fourth to record an 18-11 final victory. He will battle Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) in final round action. “My game plan was to use my speed and movement and not let him hit me. The last round, I knew I had him. Tomorrow I’m just going to do the best I can,” Franklin said.
A Golden Gloves championship bout rematch was contested in the flyweight division with Qa’id Muhammad (Atlantic City, N.J.) battling Aaron Alafa (Visalia, Calif.) Muhammad avenged an earlier loss to Alafa, winning a 20-14 decision. Muhammad grabbed the early momentum in the bout, taking a 5-2 lead after one round. Both boxers doubled their point totals in the second, giving Muhammad a 10-4 lead at the midway point. His lead grew in the third to give the 18-year-old a commanding 16-9 edge over Alafa as the final round began. He maintained his advantage over the final two minutes to win the final decision. Muhammad will face Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) in final round action on Saturday. “That was the first rematch that I’ve won,” Muhammad said. “The first time I boxed him, I rushed in and wasn’t thinking. My dad said to use my jab and not every bout has to be exciting.”
Two bantamweight stars met in the challengers bracket final with Gary Russell, Jr. (Capitol Heights, Md.) facing off with Ronny Rios (Santa Ana, Calif.). Both boxers threw punches early with Rios grabbing a 7-4 lead after one round. He held a three-point advantage at the end of two as well, taking a 10-7 advantage. Yet Russell came flying back in the third, outscoring Rios to take a one-point advantage into the definitive fourth round. Russell refused to relinquish his lead in the final stanza, and went on to win a 22-19 decision. Russell will battle Roberto Marroquin (Dallas, Texas) in the finals on Saturday. “I was feeling him out in the first two rounds, I’ve never fought him before,” Russell said. “I was only up one going into the last round, I couldn’t do anything but pray and listen to my corner. I’m bothered by my performance, I could have done better. ”
Hometown boxer Hylon Williams, Jr. (Houston, Texas) will live to box another day after a 49-20 victory over Shemuel Pagan (Brooklyn, N.Y.). After a relatively low scoring first round, the punches began to fly in the second round with Williams moving out to a 20-10 advantage. His onslaught continued into the third round with Williams taking a 34-18 lead at the end of three. The hometown boxer never took his foot of the gas and moved out to an impressive 49-20 win over Pagan. A battle of the Williams will take place in the featherweight finals as he will take on Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio). “I tried to stick with the fight plan, the flurries at the end pulled it together. Shemuel was a good boxer but he started to phase down in the last rounds,” Williams said. “I used body shots to slow him down more, I put the flurries and body shots together.”
In lightweight action, Miguel Gonzalez (Cleveland, Ohio) faced off with Jerry Belmontes (Corpus Christi, Texas). Gonzalez grabbed the early lead and never let it go in their four-round bout. He emerged from the first round with a 5-2 advantage, and enjoyed a three-point edge at the halfway mark of the bout as well. Yet Gonzalez took control in the third, more than doubling his lead to enter the fourth round with a strong 15-8 edge. He continued to extend his lead through the final two minutes, going on to win a 21-12 final decision. Gonzalez will battle Sadam Ali (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in final round action on Saturday. “He’s a counter puncher, but wasn’t as tall. I tried to establish my jab because it hasn’t let me down the whole tournament,” Gonzalez said. “He was a little slower so my speed was a big advantage in this bout. Every round, I felt comfortable because of my conditioning. I maintained my pace through the whole bout because I have a championship bout tomorrow and I want to put it all on the line.”
Two Dannys, Dan O’Connor (Framingham, Mass.) and Danny Garcia faced off in the light welterweight challengers bracket final, and it was Garcia winning the 25-19 victory. The two boxers were deadlocked at two after one round, but both athletes began to open up in the second and O’Connor enjoyed a 10-6 advantage at the midway mark. Yet the momentum swung in the third, with Garcia not only eliminating O’Connor’s lead, but moving out to a five-point advantage of his own. Garcia held on over the fourth round and went on to take a 25-19 final decision. Garcia will face off with Javier Molina (Commerce, Calf.) on Saturday. “I’ve never faced him before, my plan was to be stronger and outbox him. I was losing at the end of the second and knew I had to step it up,” Garcia said. “I knew if I ran, he would keep his energy so I just tried to outbox him.”
The welterweight division featured and action-packed battle between Keith Thurman (Oldsmar, Fla.) and Charles Hatley (Dallas, Texas). As usual in the contests between Thurman and Hatley, the bout showcased several twists and momentum changes. Thurman held an early 5-3 lead after the first round, but took command in the second, moving out to a 13-4 edge. Thurman gave Hatley two standing eight counts in the heavy-hitting contest while Hatley gave Thurman a standing eight of his own. The contest went into the fourth round with Thurman holding a 19-10 edge. Hatley came on strong in the fourth round, throwing punches from bell-to-bell with Thurman letting loose as well and Thurman held on to his lead, winning a 23-14 decision. Thurman will take on Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) in Saturday’s action. “My game plan going into the bout was to get up on points from the first round on,” Thurman said. “I was really confident, keeping my hands up and moving. Charles Hatley is a great boxer, I tried to step back and land the upper cut. We have a history of boxing, I love him as a boxer.”
Two familiar foes met in middleweight action with Daniel Jacobs (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Shawn Porter (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) battling for the final middleweight berth in the finals. Jacobs stole the momentum early, riding a strong first round to a 9-4 lead after one. He blew it open in the second, pouring on the points and taking a 20-7 lead at the halfway mark. The trend continued through the final four minutes and Jacobs went on to win a 31-11 final decision. Jacobs will battle Shawn Estrada (Downey, Calif.) in the finals on Saturday. “This is the sixth time boxing him so I knew his style. He couldn’t control the pace. It was a competitive bout, he was a good boxer and I’m glad we could put on a good show,” Jacobs said.
In light heavyweight action, Yathomas Riley (San Diego, Calif.) challenged Angel Concepcion (E. Orange, N.J.) in the light heavyweight challengers bracket final. Concepcion held the lead through the first two rounds, enjoying a 14-9 edge at the midway point. Riley took the lead in the third round, grabbing a 19-18 advantage as the fourth began. He continued to control the action in the final round and went on to win 32-24. Riley will meet Christopher Downs (Fort Carson, Colo.) Saturday night. “I had to go to work the whole four rounds,” Riley said. “When he got the first eight count, he was exhausted and very fatigued. It took me two rounds to feel his style out. I realized I had to turn it up because I was down on points and it was do or die so I had to keep going.”
Pan American Games team member Adam Willett (Bellport, N.Y.) faced Quantis Graves (Cut Off, La.) in the heavyweight division. Graves held Willett scoreless in the first, leading 6-0. Thereafter, Willett scored only one point in each of the proceeding three rounds. Graves had a comfortable 15-2 lead at the end of the third, and went on to win 16-4. He will battle Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) in final round competition on Saturday. “I’ve been sacrificing for seven years, I made the commitment to work hard, he was a good fighter,” Graves said. “I knew if I was to go to Adam, he would counter punch so I stayed on the outside and used my jab. It was a mental thing, I knew if I could beat him mentally, I could beat him physically.”
Kimdo Bethel (Albany, N.Y.) grabbed the last finals berth with a slim 18-17 win over Mike Wilson (Central Point, Ore.). Bethel got off to quick start, holding Wilson scoreless on his way to a 5-0 lead after one. He moved out to a 10-3 lead at the midway point, but Wilson pulled it to a 14-10 bout with two minutes remaining in the contest. Wilson came on strong, and pulled within one, but couldn’t take the lead and Bethel went on to win an 18-17 final decision. “He came a little harder than last time, my strategy was to dance and fight. My right hook was working tonight,” Bethel said.
Final round action will be contested at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Houston, Texas. The winners’ bracket champions need only one win to make the U.S. Olympic team while the challengers bracket victors will be looking to push it to a second bout on Sunday.
Friday’s Challengers Bracket Final Results
Evening Bouts -- August 24
106 lbs/challengers bracket: Malcolm Franklin, Rialto, Calif., dec. Diego Hurtado, Reno, Nev., 18-11
112 lbs/challengers bracket: Qa'id Muhammad, Atlantic City, N.J., dec. Aaron Alafa, Visalia, Calif., 20-14
119 lbs/challengers bracket: Gary Russell, Jr., Capitol Heights, Md., dec. Ronny Rios, Santa Ana, Calif., 22-19
125 lbs/challengers bracket: Hylon Williams, Jr., Houston, Texas, dec. Shemuel Pagan, Brooklyn, N.Y., 49-20
132 lbs/challengers bracket: Miguel Gonzalez, Cleveland, Ohio, dec. Jerry Belmontes, Corpus Christi, Texas, 21-12
141 lbs/challengers bracket: Danny Garcia, Philadelphia, Pa., dec. Dan O'Connor, Framingham, Mass., 25-19
152 lbs/challengers bracket: Keith Thurman, St. Petersburg, Fla., dec. Charles Hatley, Dallas, Texas, 23-14
165 lbs/challengers bracket: Daniel Jacobs, Brooklyn, N.Y., dec. Shawn Porter, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 31-11
178 lbs/challengers bracket: Yathomas Riley, San Diego, Calif., dec. Angel Concepcion, East Orange, N.J., 32-24
201 lbs/challengers bracket: Quantis Graves, Cut Off, La., dec. Adam Willett, Bellport, N.Y., 16-4
201+ lbs/challengers bracket: Kimdo Bethel, Albany, N.Y., dec. Mike Wilson, Central Point, Ore., 18-17
Saturday’s Final Round Bout Sheets
106 lbs: Luis Yanez, Duncanville, Texas vs. Malcolm Franklin, Rialto, Calif.
112 lbs: Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio vs. Qa’id Muhammad, Atlantic City, N.J.
119 lbs: Roberto Marroquin, Dallas, Texas vs. Gary Russell, Jr., Capitol Heights, Md.
125 lbs: Raynell Williams, Cleveland, Ohio vs. Hylon Williams, Houston, Texas
132 lbs: Sadam Ali, Brooklyn, N.Y. vs. Miguel Gonzalez, Cleveland, Ohio
141 lbs: Javier Molina, Commerce, Calif. vs. Danny Garcia, Philadelphia, Pa.
152 lbs: Demetrius Andrade, Providence, R.I. vs. Charles Hatley, Dallas, Texas
165 lbs: Shawn Estrada, Downey, Calif. vs. Daniel Jacobs, Brooklyn, N.Y.
178 lbs: Christopher Downs, Fort Carson, Colo. vs. Yathomas Riley, San Diego, Calif.
201 lbs: Deontay Wilder, Tuscaloosa, Ala. vs. Quantis Graves, Cut Off, La.
201+ lbs: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev. vs. Kimdo Bethel, Albany, N.Y.