Large Turnout for Recent 1st USA Boxing
Alumni Association Gathering on West Coast!
(October 10th) A large group of past and present amateur boxers, as well as others involved in the sport, recently turned out in force for the first USA Boxing Alumni Association gathering on the West Coast.
The inaugural West Coast gathering of the USA Boxing Alumni Association, held at Fortune Gym in Hollywood (Los Angeles), resulted in memorable storytelling, welcome reunions, even between past foes, in addition to a substantial increase in membership ranks.
In addition to longtime amateur boxing supporter, actor/singer Frank Stallone, along with the Godmother of amateur boxing, Melanie Ley, attending past and present boxers and trainers included Mickey Bey, Alex Ramos, Maureen Shea, Ronnie Essett, Paul Banke, Jorge Hawley, Les Fabri, Frank Vassar, Don Deverges, Michael and Anna Keopuhiwa, Zachary Padilla, Lenny Gargaliano, Tony Lesbeur, Felix Nance, Derrick and Vince Hudson, Rudy Garza, Justine Fortune, Alan Santana, Willie Tubbs, Randy Crippen, Alan Santana, Jacquie Richardson, Steven Stokes, Manny Salcido, Jason and Jeremy Williams, Mike Simms, Jeff Bumpus, current Team USA heavyweight Richard Torres (Tulare, CA), and 2018 Youth World Champion and Los Angeles local Iyana Verduzco. 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Tilman was also in attendance and registered as a new Alumni Association member.
USA Boxing board advisor and fighter liaison, "Iceman" John Scully, was responsible for recruiting most of the attendees.
"The USA Boxing Alumni Association gathering in Hollywood fully demonstrated our mission: Connecting Generations of Champions," said attendee Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. "While former opponents reunited after exiting the ring decades ago, two of today's champions and Team USA members, Richard Torres and Roxy Verduzco, were proudly recognized for their recent success. The Alumni Association wants to thank Fortune Gym for hosting this gathering, and we look forward to connecting with our West Coast members at future events."
Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, --boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans -- the Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing's future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.
The USA Boxing Alumni Association is open to anyone who has a love for boxing and would like to stay connected with amateur boxing. Members are granted access to a wide variety of special events host by the Alumni Association, including Friday evening's USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception.
To join the USA Boxing Alumni Association, simply register at firstname.lastname@example.org for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.
Houston Featherweight Roma Martinez Represents
Next Wave of USA Female Boxers
Out to Make Statement at Summer Youth Olympic Games
October 6-18th, in Buenos Aires 2018!
(October 9th) Houston featherweight Roma Martinez, who represents the next wave of USA female boxers, is currently In Argentina to make a statement at the ongoing Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
The Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 continues through Oct. 18 at Parque Polidesportivo Roca in Argentina.
The 18-year-old Martinez started boxing six years ago, when her step-father came into her life, taking her to a local boxing gym to help keep her out of potential trouble, as well to defend herself.
She is an online student at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, planning to major in business, and Roma has been able to balance her busy schedule for a simple reason. "I don't have much of a social life," she admitted, "so it's easy for me to train and study."
Argentina is the second foreign country she's traveled to having competed last November in India. Although she has a relatively limited amateur career, Martinez has managed to capture top honors at six national events: 2016 USA Boxing Nationals, 2014 & 2015 Batte lf the Universe, 20-15 Women's Golden Glove, 2-15 Junior Olympics Nationals, and 2014 Brown Gloves.
Like many of her Team USA teammates, in addition to opponents from all over the world, Roma hopes she can parlay an impressive performance in Buenos Aires to improve her chances to eventually qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
"The Youth Olympics is the biggest thing in my career because I hope to compete in the 2020 Olympics," Martinez said. "The Youth Olympics is almost as big as the Olympics, only younger athletes compete. I take things one day at a time, but I do have goals to make the Olympics, win a gold medal, and then turn pro and win a world title.
"This is my last youth competition. This December I will move up to Elite Division. There will be a difference in age (of her opponents) and more international competition, but I need that experience to reach my goals."
Roma, she says, is a technical boxer who occasionally brings pressure. Her favorite boxer is the great "Sugar" Ray Leonard and she looks up to Nicola Adams (2012 & 2016 Olympic gold medalist from Great Britain) and Mikaela Mayer (2016 USA Olympian). Roma has taken advantage of sparring sessions with Adams and Mayer, respectively, in Houston and Colorado Springs.
Martinez believes female boxing is on the upswing and she looks forward to its future. "The more top female boxers will mean bigger things for us," Martinez added, "We'll get more TV time and make more money."
Roma credits USA Boxing for her learning how to be disciplined and she's grateful for the outstanding coaching she's received. Martinez plans to travel a lot in the future and when she earns her business degree, Roma is determined to use it to her advantage, owning a restaurant and, possibly, a gym so that she can remain in boxing after she hangs up her gloves way down the road.
2018 Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships has Largest Turnout in USA Boxing History!
(October 8th) The 2018 Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn. will begin tonight with the largest turnout in USA Boxing national tournament history.
After check-in and general weigh-in, a total of 834 boxers and 550 boxers will take part in the weeklong national tournament at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
"We have seen our national tournaments continually grow each event," stated USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee. "Since 2017, USA Boxing has been providing extra opportunities with our regional qualifying tournaments for all boxers, aged 8-40, to step onto the national stage and box the best in the nation."
This marks the second year the Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open has been held in Chattanooga, which saw a total of 645 boxers and 307 coaches participate last year. The first regional qualifying tournament, the 2017 Western Elite Qualifier & Regional Open in Albuquerque, N.M., had 302 boxers and 102 coaches and the 2018 edition had 719 boxers and 482 coaches attend.
With the large turnout in Chattanooga, the opening days of the event will include the addition of a fifth ring to hold the increased number of bouts.
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Ring 1 (click here)
Ring 2 (click here)
Ring 3 (click here)
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Ring 5 (click here)
ABOUT USA BOXING: The mission of USA Boxing shall be to enable United States' athletes and coaches to achieve sustained competitive excellence, develop character, support the sport of boxing, and promote and grow Olympic style boxing in the United States. The responsibility of USA Boxing is not only to produce Olympic gold, but also oversee and govern every aspect of amateur boxing in the United States.
Straight Outta Toledo.... Otha Jones III
Competing at Summer Youth Olympic Games
Buenos Aires 2018, October 6-18th in Argentina!!
(October 4th) Two-time USA National Champion Otha Jones III is heading to Argentina tomorrow to make a statement at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires, October 6-18 in Parque Polidesportivo Roca.
Jones is from the new home of amateur boxing champions, Toledo, Ohio, where the 18-year-old Jones is also making a difference in his community, especially after his brother was shot and killed a few weeks ago while he was riding a bike.
Otha first got interested in boxing after watching a YouTube boxing sensation. "I thought that was cool," light welterweight Jones explained, "so I asked my father to take me to a gym. I soon learned that I was good at it, worked hard, and now I'm heading to the Youth Olympics.
"Fighters at all the gyms in Toledo help each other out. (2017 USA Nationals heavyweight champion) Jared Anderson is my best friend. The first year we trained at the same gym, but I never sparred with him (laughing), because he's too big for me. We're at different gyms now. Six Toledo boxers, five of my teammates, are in the USA Boxing program, including my sister, (welterweight) Oshae Jones, who is on the women's Elite team competing right now in Spain. We all push each other to the limit."
In addition to capturing gold at the last two USA National Championships, he also won top honors at the 2018 Youth Continental Championships, plus a silver medal at the 2018 Emil Jechev Memorial Tournament.
Self-described as an unorthodox boxer-puncher, Jones says he, "Throws punches from all angles. I can box well or sit and fight if I have to."
Jones, who has a 267-11 amateur record, has already traveled and competed in Bulgaria, Hungary and Russia. He's looking forward to experiencing Argentina, where he will live and train for two weeks in an Olympic village atmosphere.
"Making it this far to the Youth Olympic, so far, is the highlight of my career," he said. "I love traveling to different countries to experience and learn about new cultures. My goal is to fight at the 2020 Olympics in Japan and win a gold medal. I need to improve my skills; punch harder and place my punches better.
"After the Olympics, I plan to turn pro. I want to move my family out of the ghetto and get better clothes and meals for everyone.
"I own the Soul City Gym with my brother and dad. A lot of kids in Toledo have nothing to do. We go on social media to tell these kids to come by the gym to get in shape. We are part of a program that feeds these kids. We feel that, the less time on the street, we can help stop the violence, like my brother being killed. We're trying to get kids off the streets and in the gym."
(Otha Jones III in blue)
Jones also noted that he really enjoys training in Colorado Springs, not only because of the outstanding facilities and coaching, but for his peace of mind.
"I thought I was in top shape training in Toledo," Jones added, "but you come here, and the air is different. After training at sea level, you get tired training here. I love it here. There are so many nice buildings and facilities, it's like a small city, only without crime. I can be myself here."
Otha Jones, III is making an impact in and out of the ring, whether he's at home in Toledo, training in Colorado Springs, or competing around the world.
USA Boxing Alumni Association Profile:
1972 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jesse Valdez!
(L-R - Austin Trout, Jesse Valdez, Raphael Marquez and B.J. Flores)
(October 2nd) 1972 Olympic bronze medalist Jesse Valdez, who was an outstanding amateur boxer, never turned pro because he chose security for his family rather than take a risk and parlay his amateur pedigree into a prize fighting career.
Valdez first went to the local Boys' Club when he was 11. The youngest of seven children in a low-income family, headed by his single mother, in which the kids all slept in one bedroom, girls in a bed, boys on the floor, sharing space with cockroaches.
"I started going to the club and I guess I did well because I started beating older and bigger guys," Valdez remembered. One day a coach asked me if I was interested in learning how to box. At 11, USA Boxing people were interested in me, not me the boxer, and they always gave me guidance. Because of my background, I knew I wouldn't be going to college, and these people helped me and gave me guidance.
In 1964, 16-year-old Valdez upset Olympic bronze medalist Quincey Daniels at the National AAU Championship in the welterweight division, and later that year he qualitied for the U.S. Olympic Team as an alternate. Valdez captured a gold medal at the1967 National Golden Gloves in the light middleweight weight class and he added a bronze medal from the prestigious Pan-American Games.
"I wanted to be a better boxer and that (defeating Daniels) also helped me become a better person. I had never traveled outside of Texas before then. I went to the Regionals and Nationals and then I was asked if I wanted to go to East Africa. All I knew about Africa was Tarzan, Jane and Cheetah. In high school, I was offered college scholarships, but my grades were bad because I spent more time out than in school. I didn't have a father figure."
While he served in the U.S. Air Force, Valdez won a gold medal at the 1970 National AAU Championship as a light middleweight and two years later, he became the 1972 National Golden Gloves welterweight champion. A USA Olympic Team alternate for the second time in 1968, the third time was the charm for Valdez, who qualified for the 1972 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team by defeating future world champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.
"My dream came true in 1964," Valdez noted. "I was a USA Olympic Team alternate in 1964 and again in 1968. But in 1972, I wanted to win a gold medal, even though I ended up with bronze."
Valdez became a household name in America because his Olympic fights in Munich, Germany, aired live on ABC Wide World of Sports, the award-winning Saturday afternoon show during the seventies, when legendary announcer Howard Cosell took a shine to Valdez. Unfortunately, Jessie was eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual gold medalist, Emilio Correa, by way of a controversial decision, and Jesse settled for a bronze medal.
The 1972 Olympics, however, is sadly remembered for the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches taken hostage and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group, Black September.
"The Olympic village was built in a circle," Valdez explained. "There were athletes everywhere from all around the world. My roommate and I had a routine after eating. We walked to digest our food and that night we started to walk, when guards with guns and rifles wouldn't let anybody go past them. We didn't know why and didn't speak German. We then asked our coaches what had happened, and they said people were shot that afternoon. Later, we saw what happened on television.
"I was team captain and all the captains from every sport were asked what the athletes wanted to do, continue (competing) or go home. We decided to go on because, if we had stopped, that's what they (terrorists) wanted. The Olympics were halted one day for a memorial recognizing those who had died."
TEAM USA vs. TEAM GERMANY, OCT. 6 & 12 in CHATTANOOGA
Team USA and Team Germany, two of the world's top amateur boxing programs, will meet in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for two separate duels taking place Saturday, October 6 and Friday, Oct. 12, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
The duels will feature some of the top male and female elite boxers as they prepare for the lead up to the Olympics in 2020. The two events will take place alongside this year's Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships, which is expected to have more than 650 boxers, aged 8-40, compete from Oct. 8-13.
After the 1972 Olympics, promoters lined-up to offer Valdez a pro contract, but he quickly turned down all offers having other options as well. He could have remained in the Air Force and been a coach. Instead, he accepted an offer from a Houston television station that wanted to benefit from hiring the Olympic bronze medalist returning home. Valdez became a reporter and the station's ratings immediately went up, but other reporters became jealous and that became a problem for Jesse. At first, he contemplated a return to the Air Force, but Valdez liked working in television and he became a photo journalist until he retired in 2005.
Why not take advantage of his fame as an Olympic bronze medalist and turn pro?
"When I was 14 or 15 there were pros training at the gym I went to after school," Valdez explained, "There was one professional boxer there I really liked and looked up to. He was a world champion, who will remain nameless, and I watched him work out. I'll never forget, he asked me if he could borrow $1.00. I didn't even have a nickel and that really opened my eyes. Here was a world champion asking me for money. It stuck in my mind. I took a job as a reporter because I really needed (medical) benefits.
"I try to go to clubs and help amateurs, but I don't watch pro fights."
USA Boxing Alumni Association
Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, --boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans -- The Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing's future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.
The USA Boxing Alumni Association is open to anyone who has a love for boxing and would like to stay connected with amateur boxing. Members are granted access to a wide variety of special events hosted by the Alumni Association, including its annual USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception.
To join the Alumni Association, simply register at email@example.com for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.
Now 70, the Mexican-American from Houston has never regretted the decision he made nearly a half-century ago, or, of course, his experience at the 1972 Olympics. Jesse Valdez has become a valued speaker for the USA Boxing Alumni Association.
USA vs Germany Duels to Take Place In Chattanooga Alongside Eastern Qualifier World Medalist and Olympic Hopefuls to Step Into the Ring on American Soil!
(September 17th) Two of the world's top amateur boxing powerhouses will meet in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for two separate duels taking place Saturday, October 6 and Friday, Oct. 12, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
The duels will feature some of the top male and female elite boxers from both the United States and Germany, as they prepare for the lead up to the Olympics in 2020. The two events will take place alongside this year's Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships, which is expected to have more than 650 boxers, aged 8-40, compete from Oct. 8-13.
"We are excited to host the German Federation, as they have hosted us numerous times for training camps over the past two years," said USA Boxing High Performance Director Matt Johnson. "This will be a great competition and a great opportunity for USA Boxing to showcase our next generation of Olympic hopefuls on home soil."
Team USA is expected to bring a talented team that will include multiple World Championship medalists, including 2017 Elite World Championship medalists Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.), Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Freudis Rojas Jr. (Las Vegas, Nev.), as well as two-time World Championship medalist Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), 2016 Youth World Champion Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) and 2016 Youth World Championships bronze medalist Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.)
Other boxers anticipated to compete for Team USA include international medalists Khalil Coe (Jersey City, New Jersey), Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.), Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas), Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio), Quinton Randall (Katy, Texas) and Stacia Suttles (Brooklyn, N.Y.). These boxers are subject to change, and a full roster for both teams will be released closer to the start of the duels.
Boxers who are competing at the Eastern Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championships are eligible for an early check-in on Saturday, Oct. 6 for the qualifier and will receive free entrance to that night's duel. Coaches who pre-register for the Qualifier and complete early check-in will also receive free entrance to that night's event.