Legendary Air Force Academy Boxing Coach
Ed Weichers Coached Perfect Storm!
(Ed Weichers center)
(August 8th) Boxing coach Ed Weichers, a charter member of the USA Boxing Alumni Association, guided the United States Air Force Academy from 1976-2014 to a record of 19 national collegiate boxing team championships.
Coach Weichers' Fighting Falcons' squads produced a remarkable 258 All-America boxers and 97 individual champions. His teams never finished lower than second in the nation for 27 years and he also served as president and vice president of the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA).
Coaching sports at a military school is much different, largely because student-athletes in most cases, especially boxing, are not professional prospects. "Our Cadets were not trained to be elite level amateurs or pros," the now 68-year-old Weichers explained. "In 1976, the cost to put one Cadet through four years at the Academy was $80,000 but, in 2014, the year of my retirement, that figure was $417,000. Cadets are trained to go forward and serve. They fly, fight, win and defend freedoms that we all enjoy. Boxing at the next level is not part of the discussion. I got calls at the time about our boxers going to the next level, fighting in Tough Man Contests, etc. My answer is and has always been consistent: 'You are not trained to be a boxer in the Air Force. Do not jeopardize your pilot qualifications or commission ability with a boxing injury.' The Air Force has an investment in them, and I urged them to go forward and serve. I send them back to the real purpose of the boxing class/program at AFA. It teaches them how to handle press, stress, fear and anxiety. Boxing gives them the self confidence and self esteem to make good decisions in combat under pressure. The ability to handle these pressures and make good decisions are the difference in life and death in combat."
Coach Weichers, of course, attributes a large share of his success to the Cadets, who are intelligent, disciplined and team oriented. All Cadets take a mandatory core curriculum boxing course (10 lessons) their freshman year, followed by an intramural boxing program comprised of 40 squadron teams with a minimum of eight to a maximum of 16 boxers per team.
Not only did Weichers work with this incredible feeder system, the next step was the AFA Wing Open Boxing Championships, in which Cadets voluntarily signed-up to compete in one of 12 divisions to box for the No. 1 spot, earning a roster spot on the AFA Intercollegiate boxing team that competes in regional and national tournaments. The advancing 12 Cadets represented the entire Air Force Academy.
"Bottom line,' Coach Weichers noted, "this formula was a perfect storm. I must give credit to and thank two Physical Education Department heads, Col. Don Peterson and Col. Larry Fariss, and two athletic directors who were instrumental to our support and success, Col. John Clune and Col. Randy Spetman.
"I was blessed with young men who I describe as overachievers. Cadets are tenacious. We built on an individual sport with a team concept. I had great assistant coaches, the best training facilities, and an environment of being surrounded by quality people in all phases."
After he retired as head boxing coach at the Air Force Academy, Weichers led Team USA in 2014 and 2015 to five medals, including two golds, at the Pan American Games in Toronto.
"The plan was to hire Billy Walsh, who was the head coach of Team Ireland," Weichers added. "I committed to sponsor Coach Walsh upon his arrival and make his transition smooth. I did that and Coach Walsh and I have become good friends. He is the correct man for the job, and he brings a great resume and reputation. He has helped turn the program around and created a winning culture. Team USA is back, ranked among the top 10 in the world, and that is a direct result of Coach Walsh."
USA Boxing Alumni Association
Created to champion lifelong, mutually beneficial relationships 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.
Weichers joined the USA Boxing Alumni Association because he is a huge supporter of John Brown, former President and current Vice President of USA Boxing.
"John had the idea or concept (to form the alumni association) and I looked at the purpose and thought it would be a way to honor and recognize those who contributed over the years," Weichers remarked. "I hope that successful professionals from the past and present recognize those who contributed over the years. I also hope that they remember their roots were with USA Boxing and give back. We all had help and our start and success did not happen alone. Be humble and grateful and give back."
Weichers is high on Team USA, especially its overall potential in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, saying, "We're solid going into 2020. The key to success, in my opinion, is head coach Billy Walsh. He is very experienced. His reputation and resume are top shelf. Coach Walsh is well known and respected on the international level. He has the ability to reach out to other countries and make positive things happen for our athletes. He has adjusted the culture in our boxing program, identifying our strengths, and making adjustment where weak. Coach Walsh brings leadership and credibility. Bottom line, we have the right coach for the job in place."
Weichers' association with the NCBA led to his relationship with USA Boxing at various levels and capacities. He has always felt gratified to give back to boxing, as well as an obligation to grow the sport at every level.
"I was lucky/blessed to work in a place I refer to as Camelot," Weichers concluded. "It's an athletic paradise; core values, honor code, and a mission that anyone can connect with and admire. I can say that I am a better person for my experience at the Air Force Academy.
"I love the sport of boxing, because of what it did for me, in terms of molding my life. The gratification that comes with seeing how young men and women grow and mature, as a result of their experience with boxing was very positive.
And countless Cadets are better people because they were coached by Ed Weichers.
Team USA Closes 2019
Pan American Games with Four Silver Medals!
(August 3rd) The American teams time in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Pan American Games came to a close tonight after six intense days of boxing action at the Miguel Grau Coliseum.
Bantamweight Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and light welterweight Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) began the night coming up short against Cuban duo, David Caballero Garcia and Andy Cruz, respectively, to leave these Pan American Games with silver medals.
Team USA captain Virginia Fuchs (Houston,Texas) met a familiar foe in tonight’s flyweight championship bout, Ingrid Valencia of Colombia. However, this time Valencia received the judges’ cards on a 4-1 decision to give Fuchs Team USA’s third silver medal of the night.
Middleweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) closed out the tournament by leaving everything in the ring against Jessica Caicedo Sinisterra of Colombia, but came up short in the judges’ eyes by a 4-1 decision to add a fourth silver to Team USA’s final medal count.
Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), National Assistant Coach Kay Koroma (Colorado Springs, Colo.), as well as assistant coaches Joe Guzman (Fountain, Colo.) and Jeff Mays (San Antonio, Texas) guided the American delegation throughout the tournament to USA Boxing's best performance since the 1983 Pan American Games, which won 12 medals. Team USA entered these Championships with 11 boxers, with 10 boxers medaling. The team will return to the United States on Aug. 4.
51 kg: Ingrid Valencia/COL dec. over Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, 4-1
56 kg: David Caballero Garcia/CUB dec. over Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, 5-0
64 kg: Andy Cruz/CUB dec. over Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, 4-1
75 kg: Jessica Caicedo Sinisterra/COL dec. over Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, 4-1
Oshae Jones Makes History
At 2019 Pan American Games LIMA, Peru!
(August 2nd) Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) made history on the first night of finals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru by becoming the first ever women's welterweight Pan American Games gold medalists. This marked the first time in Pan American Games history the women would have five weight classes, compared to the two previous Games having three weight classes.
Jones defeated Myriam DaSilva of Canada by unanimous decision, winning all three rounds, 10-9, from two judges, and two of the three rounds, 10-9, from one judge. This marked the second time Jones and DaSilva went head-to-head, with Jones defeating her 5-0 at the Pan American Games Qualifier earlier this year.
Jones' previously defeated Atheyna Bylon of Panama in the quarterfinals and M. Moronta Herand of the Dominican Republic in the semifinals to make the finals of these championships.
Team USA will look to close out their most successful Pan American Games since 1983, tomorrow night with four boxers going for gold, Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.), Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas), Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio). Their four medals will be added to Jones' gold medal and the five bronze medals won earlier this week by Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.), Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.), Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio), Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.).
69 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio/USA, dec. over Myriam DaSilva/CAN, 5-0
Team USA Wins Five Bronze Medals;
Advance Five to Finals
2019 Pan American GamesLIMA, Peru!
(July 31st) Team USA won five bronze medals yesterday and advanced five boxers to the championship bouts of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru after two semifinal sessions took place at the Coliseo Miguel Grau.
The Americans had a rough and challenging start to the first session of the semifinal bouts, with three heartbreaking loses for Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio), Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and team captain Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.). All three boxers left all they had in the ring, however, fell short in taking the judges cards to earn Team USA three bronze medals to start the day.
Welterweight Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) got the team back on track with a 4-1 decision over Dominican Republics M. Moronta Hernand to advance to the championship bout. This will be Jones second international final of 2019, and she is three-for-three medaling this year internationally.
2017 World Championships silver medalists Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) got Team USA off to a great start in the second session of the day by taking all five judges' cards over Uruguay to advance to the finals. Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) kept the ball rolling for the Americans with his own unanimous decision victory over Trinidad and Tobago's Michael Alexander to advance.
2019 Pan American Games Qualifier Champions Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.) and Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) could not repeat their successes from Nicaragua, with tough split decision losses in the second session to a duo from Brazil.
Team Captain and 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) got one step closer to another international title, grabbing another unanimous decision victory over I. Rojas Cardozo of Venezuela to box for gold in Friday's second set of finals. Fuchs 2018 World Championships bronze medalist teammate, Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.), closed out the day for Team USA with a 3-2 decision over Flavia Tereza Figueiredo of Brazil to be the fifth American to advance to the finals.
51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. I. Rojas Cardozo/VEN, 5-0
56 kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, dec. Lucas Alexander Fernandez/URU, 5-0
57 kg: Jucielen Cerqueira Romeu/BRA dec. over Yarisel Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, 5-0
60 kg: B. Ferreira Soares/BRA dec. over Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, 3-2
64 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, dec. over Michael Alexander/TTO, 5-0
64 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio/USA, dec. over M. Moronta Hernand/DOM, 4-1
69 kg: Iglesias Sotolongo/CUB, dec. over Delante Johnnson, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, 4-1
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo., dec. over Flavia Tereza Figueiredo/BRA, 3-2
75 kg: Herbert Carvalho Da Conceic/BRA dec. over Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va,/USA, 4-1
91+ kg: Justiz Pero/CUB, dec. over Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, 3-2
USA Boxing Clinches 10 Medals on Final Day
of Quarterfinals at 2019 Pan American Games LIMA, Peru!
(July 30th) Team USA continued its winning ways with four more victories yesterday in the third and final day of quarterfinal bouts in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Pan American Games, clinching 10 medals for USA Boxing.
Lightweight Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) picked up the first win for Team USA by taking three of the five judges' cards over Krisandy Rios of Venezuela to advance to the medal rounds in the first session of today, while teammate Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) will have to wait another day to make his Pan American Games debut following a walkover win over Luis Arcon of Venezuela.
2017 World Championship silver medalists Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) kicked off the second session of the day, facing hometown boxer Jorvi Farronan of Peru. Ragan kept his composure with a loud crowd cheering for his opponent to take all five judges' cards to clinch his spot in tomorrow's semifinals.
Ragan's 2017 World Championship teammate and bronze medalists Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.) closed out the day with a 3-2 victory over Jorge Vivas of Colombia. Isley's win moved Team USA to 10 medals, their best performance since the 1983 Pan American Team that won 11 out of 12 medals.
Tomorrow's semifinal sessions will be a busy day for Team USA, as all 10 boxers will compete in the two sessions, looking to improve their bronze medals to a silver or gold with winning performances.
56 kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, dec. over Jorvi Farronan/PER, 5-0
60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, vs. Krisandy Rios/VEN, 3-2
64 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, walkover over Luis Arcon/VEN, WO
75 kg: Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va./USA, dec. over Jorge Vivas/COL, 3-2
51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, vs. I. Rojas Cardozo/VEN
56 kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, vs. Lucas Alexander Fernandez/URU
57 kg: Yarisel Ramirez, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, vs. Jucielen Cerqueira Romeu/BRA
60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, vs. B. Ferreira Soares/BRA
64 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, vs. Michael Alexander/TTO
64 kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio/USA, vs. M. Moronta Hernand/DOM
69 kg: Delante Johnson, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, vs. Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo/CUB
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo. vs. Flavia Tereza Figueiredo/BRA
75 kg: Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va./USA, vs. Herbert Carvalho Da Conceic/BRA
91+ kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, vs. Justiz Pero/CUB
Team USA Puts on Dominating Performance
On Second Day of 2019 Pan-American Games, LIMA, Peru!
(July 29th) All three members of Team USA put on dominating performances on the second day (yesterday) of boxing at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, to extend USA Boxing's record to 6-1.
2016 Youth World Champion and 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier Champion Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) picked up where Team USA ended last night with his first victory in these championships. Johnson took all five judges' cards over Colombian Alexander Rangel to advance to Tuesday's semifinal bouts.
Flyweight and team captain Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas) put on a boxing show for the crowd, taking a victory over Costa Rica's Valeria Cardenas. Fuchs met Cardenas in the finals of the 2019 Pan American Games Qualifier and repeated her 5-0 win in today's quarterfinals to move on to the medal rounds.
2018 Elite World Championships bronze medalist Naomi Graham's (Colorado Springs, Colo.) power and jab were too much for Anna Salas, of Mexico, to handle, resulting in a referee stopped contest in the second round. Graham secures her third international medal of the year with this performance and advances to Tuesday's semifinal round.
The final four members of Team USA will make their Pan American Games debut tomorrow. The four boxers, Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.), Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.), Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.) and Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio), all medaled at the qualifier in April and will be looking for a strong debut in Lima.
51kg: Virginia Fuchs, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. over Valeria Cardenas/CRC, 5-0
69kg: Delante Johnson, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, dec. Alexander Rangel/COL, 5-0
75kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, vs. Ana Salas/MEX, RSC2
Day 3 Matchups
56kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, vs. Jorvi Farronan/PER
60kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, vs. Krisandy Rios/VEN
64kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, vs. Luis Arcon/VEN
75kg: Troy Isley, Alexandria, Va./USA, vs. Jorge Vivas/COL
Team USA Grabs 3 Wins
On First Day of 2019 Pan American Games!
(July 28, 2019) - Team USA had a successful first day of boxing at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, winning three out of the teams four bouts.
Team captain and super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.) grabbed the first win of the day against the host countries Luis Munoz. Torrez put on a dominating display to take all five judges cards and advance to the semifinal bouts next week, as well as clinch Team USA's first boxing medal.
Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) followed Torrez's performance with her own impressive Pan American Games debut with an unanimous decision win over El Salvador's Yamileth Solorzano. Ramirez will look to clinch her spot in her first elite international final in Tuesday's semifinal matchup.
Toledo, Ohio's Oshae Jones closed out the first day of boxing with a 5-0 win over Atheyna Bylon of Panama. This marked the third time Jones has faced Bylon this year, taking the series following falling short in April's Pan American Games Qualifier by split decision.
The fourth American to enter the ring today, Bruce Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y.), left it all in the ring against Dominican Republics Orlando Martinez, but fell short of taking the judges cards and advancing to the semifinals.
Boxing will continue tomorrow with Team USA's second team captain Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas), Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) and Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
Team USA enters the 2019 Pan American Games with 11 boxers under the guidance of National Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), National Assistant Coach Kay Koroma (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and assistant coaches Joe Guzman (Fountain, Colo.) and Jeff Mays (San Antonio, Texas).
Follow USA Boxing's progress in the tournament, including news, results and more just (click here).
57kg: Yarisel Ramirez, Nev./USA, dec. over Yamileth Solorzano/ESA, 5-0
60kg: Orlando Martinez/DOM dec. over Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, N.Y./USA, 5-0
69kg: Oshae Jones, Toledo, Ohio/USA, dec. over Atheyna Bylon/PAN, 5-0
91+kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, dec. over Luis Munoz/PER, 5-0
Cuban-Born Boxer Yarisel Ramirez
Team USA No. 1 Featherweight!
(July 24th) As Team USA prepares to compete later this week at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, top American female featherweight Yarisel Ramirez, was, ironically, born in Cuba, America's boxing arch-rival and measuring stick.
The 19-year-old Ramirez, who resides in Las Vegas, was born in Guantanamo, Cuba. During her relatively young boxing career - she started boxing in 2011 - she has captured gold medals at the 2018 Western Elite Qualifier, 2016 and 2017 Youth Open, and 2015 Junior Open and 2015 National Junior Golden Gloves Championships.
She also has placed in two international tournaments, second at the 2015 Junior World Championships in Taiwan, and bronze at this year's Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
"My best achievement in boxing to date is winning a silver medal at the Junior World Championships," she noted, "and qualifying for the Pan Am Games."
Unlike many of her Team USA stablemates who started boxing due to disciplinary or street-survival reasons, Ramirez started boxing when she 11 simply to lose weight.
"I started boxing only to lose weight, but I had other teammates and they were competing," she explained her reason for turning to boxing, "They were competing, and I just loved the adrenaline and energy, when they were about to fight. Of course, I was the only girl in the gym, and everybody would tell me I couldn't do it. I proved them wrong."
Ramirez was eliminated in the Pan American Qualifier by the eventual winner, Argentina's Leonela Sanchez, of Argentina. She is the likely favorite heading into the start of this week's 2019 Pan Am Games
"Fighting at the Pan Am Games is a huge opportunity for me to open a lot of doors and show the world my talents," Ramirez said. "I think my main competition there will be from Argentina and Puerto Rico."
Women's boxing is on the rise and Ramirez is a beneficiary of what pioneers in the industry have done and continue to do.
"I feel that female boxing is on the rise now and it'll only get bigger as time goes by," Ramirez concluded. "We are making a difference today. This is the first time that there are five weight classes for females in the Olympics and Pan American Games."
Yarisel Ramirez, despite being born in Cuba, represents the future of USA Boxing's females.
Cleveland Welterweight Delante "Tiger" Johnson
Uncaged Going Into Pan Am Games!
(June 19th) Boxing medal collector Delante "Tiger" Johnson has been so busy placing at tournaments that he'll soon need an extension on his home to accommodate his overflowing display case.
The Cleveland welterweight has 8 national and 9 international medals. He has captured gold at the 2014 Junior Olympics, 2015 Youth National Championships, 2016 & 2017 Elite National Championships and 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier, as well as top honors internationally at the 2016 Youth World Championships, 2017 USA vs. Netherlands, Ireland and Germany, and most recently at the 2019 Pan American Qualifier in Nicaragua.
At the 2019 Pan Am Qualifier, Johnson defeated Dominican Republic opponent Rohan Polanco, by walkover, to qualify for the prestigious 2019 Pan American Games, which commences July 27 in Lima, Peru.
Despite all of his medals, Johnson remains hungry going into the Pan Am Games with, of course, one eye on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
His greatest accomplishment, so far, is winning the Youth World Championship because, as he says, "I was an underdog. Nobody expected me to win and I had a lot to prove."
That he did and his participation in the Pan Am Games is extra special for this gifted 20-year-old. "It's important because I'm the first boxer from my city to go the Pan Am Games, which is a big tournament," Johnson remarked. "I'll be disciplined and focused only on the Pan Am Games. I've trained hard for it, physically and mentally to be prepared.
"I really want to become the fourth boxer from Cleveland to participate in the Olympics. The others have been Raynell Williams (2008), Terrell Gausha (2012) and Charles Conwell, Jr. (2016)."
Born with the nickname "Tiger" because of a birthmark that his father thought looked like a tiger, Jones has had more than 100 amateur bouts to date and counting. He started boxing at the age of seven, largely due to an increasing number of fights he was in at school. His father got him into boxing, and he hasn't looked back.
"At first, he explained, "I didn't like boxing, because the coach was really mean. There were a lot of experienced kids in the gym and I was the new kid. I'm a fast learner but it took a while to get used to the coach and older kids. I did very well in my first sparring session and just kept going."
Being a Team USA member has allowed Johnson to travel across the country and around the world to places like Germany, Russia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Kazakhstan, Ireland and Netherlands. "I like to travel," he noted, "but I just don't like the plane rides."
Now, as he prepares to compete in a critical tournament as the first Cleveland boxer in the Pan Am Games, he rates as one of the favorites, along with Cuban veteran Roniel Iglesias, who didn't compete in the recent Pan Am Qualifier finals due to a hand injury.
"Tiger" Johnson is uncaged and winning routinely!
Toledo's Queen of Boxing: Oshae Jones!
(July 15th) Toledo has produced and continues to produce elite boxers at a tremendous rate and gifted welterweight Oshae Jones, a much-celebrated amateur champion, clearly reigns as the undisputed Queen of Boxing in the Ohio city located on the western tip of Lake Erie.
The 21-year-old Jones has been a gold medal machine as a three-time Elite National Champion, 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier, 2016 Youth Open and 2014 National PAL champion. She recently finished runner-up at the Pan American Qualifier in Nicaragua to qualify for the 2019 Pan American Games, starting July 27, in Lima, Peru.
"I supposedly lost by split decision to a fighter from Panama (Atheyna Bylon)," Oshae noted, "but I beat her, 5-0, in the tournament before that, and I'm going to do that at the Pan Ams. This time I want a KO because I didn't make it clear enough last fight. I'm honored to participate in the Pan Ams but, at the same time, I feel like I worked hard enough to get here, so I'm not that surprised.
"I don't keep count anymore because I've won so many, but my most memorable was winning at The Nationals in 2016, because I won with my brother, Otha (Jones III), and all my teammates from Toledo."
In addition to Oshae, Toledo has produced numerous professional fighters such as WBC Continental Americas super featherweight champion Albert Bell (15-0), former IBF welterweight world champion Robert Easter, Jr. (21-1-1), seven-time national champion and soon turning pro, Nashay Bradford, 16-0 Chris Jones, 15-0-1 Tyler McCleary. And one of Oshae's current Team USA members Jared Anderson, the two-time defending elite national heavyweight champion, also hails from Toledo.
"I think Toledo has produced all these champions," Jones remarked, "because we come from 'the mud' and know what hungry feels like."
Boxing has been a family affair from the very beginning for Jones, who started boxing in 2011 when she was 13, because she was always in competition with her "little brother," Otha. "We always wanted to be the fastest, strongest or number one at every little thing we did," she explained. "Both of my brothers are professional boxers, Otha and Roshwan, and my father, Otha Jones, and older brother Roshwan are my coaches."
Oshae's life has dramatically changed from training at Soul City Boxing Gym in Toledo to the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, largely due to the opportunities she's had and taken advantage of to fight overseas and add to her vast arsenal of skills.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Famer, Claressa Shields, along with the likes of Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano and a few others have changed the face of female boxing today. "I feel females before me did good things for women's boxing," Jones concluded. "They paved the way, but I'll finish it off."
Oshae Jones, who has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Japan, is Toledo Strong!
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.
From the Hood to the Olympic Training Center,
Brooklyn Lightweight Bruce Carrington
Shooting for Stardom!
(July 11th) Brooklyn lightweight Bruce Carrington will be looking for revenge and added credibility at the Pan American Games, starting July 27 in Lima, Peru, as one of the elite fighters on Team USA.
Carrington qualified for the Pan American Qualifier by winning the 2019 Pan Am Box-Off Championship. The lightweight division will be contested at 138 pounds, rather than 132, as in the past.
"Even though the lightweight weight class changed for the Olympics," Carrington explained, "they brought the 132-pound division back for the Pan Ams. The top 132-pounders during the last two years were contacted to compete in the Pan Am Box-Off Championships and I beat them all."
At the Pan American Games Qualifier, Carrington reached the quarterfinals to qualify for the Pan Am Games, losing in those quarterfinals, 5-0, to two-time defending Pan American Games champion Lazaro Alvarez, of Cuba. Alvarez lost in the championship final to the Dominican Republic's Alexis Miguel De Los Santos. Carrington is looking forward to the challenge of facing three-time AIBA World champion Alvarez and De Los Santos during the Pan American Games.
"I lost to the No. 1 lightweight in the world, but it was a close fight," 2012 National PAL champion Carrington noted. I expect to see him and the fighter who beat him at the Pan American Qualifier in Peru. International fighting is making me a much better fighter. A lot of (foreign) fighters are different. They have their own styles; sometimes it's awkward."
Carrington started boxing at the tender age of seven, because he kept fighting older kids at school who bullied him, and his father kept getting calls from guidance counselors. "I was just defending myself," Carrington claimed. "I watched boxing on television with my dad. I was in awe of local fighters like Curtis Stevens, Danny Jacobs and others. I fell in love with boxing and it's stuck with me. I respect all sports, but I don't like relying on others. If I'm going to lose, I'm going to lose on my own, after putting everything into it. You can't blame your coach, mother, teammates, or anybody in boxing. It's all on you. I think it also builds character."
Qualifying for the Pan American Games, according to Carrington, is his greatest achievement to date. However, he was an alternate in the lightweight division for the 2016 USA Olympic Boxing Team.
Self-described as a boxer-puncher who has a solid defense and quickness, the 22-year-old Carrington also noted that he is trying to use more power on firing shots inside.
More than anything, Carrington appreciates the travel USA Boxing has afforded him, including trips to Nicaragua, London, Ireland, to go with Peru later this month, and hopefully Japan next year.
"I love traveling to other countries," Carrington added. "I'm from New York and we have a lot of benefits that people from other countries don't have. My 'struggles' are not struggles compared to people living in other countries. I understand that now, because traveling has opened my mind."
Carrington has lofty goals, saying, "My ultimate dream is to become the greatest athlete, not just boxer, because I set the bar high. I'm not fighting for free. I'm going to go pro (after the Olympics) and be a multiple-time world champion.
From the hood to Olympic Center Training Center, Bruce Carrington is shooting for stardom.
"I'm from the hood," he concluded, "and I've interacted with people I've met through boxing, taking advantage of opportunities. Boxing has changed my life."
Boxing Brought Lamont Ingram
Back from Deepest Depths
of Despair to Giving Back to At-Risk Youth!
(July 8th) Former boxing prospect Lamont Ingram has survived hell on earth, which included him losing virtually everything in his life, and now he's giving back to at-risk youths in Jackson, Tennessee.
Last month, Ingram was selected Most Outstanding Referee of USA Boxing's 2019 National Junior Olympics.
Ingram's recovery is nothing short of incredible, especially considering he went from being an outstanding amateur boxer, who competed successfully in national amateur tournaments, to homelessness, blindness in both eyes, two failed suicide attempts and, unfortunately, much more despair.
"I am no longer ashamed of what I went through because it made me the man I am today," the 38-year-old Ingram said. "My life had been so hard that I was ashamed to talk about it for so long. I now understand that my struggles are my testimony for the next person to see that he or she can make it if they keep trying.
"Boxing is all I knew, but I couldn't see out of one eye (cornea injury) that developed at the age of 19. I got mad at God and wanted to retire. I got depressed and didn't understand why this had happened. In 2008, I became homeless the first time with nowhere to go. I lost everything, including my family, and then went (legally) blind in the other eye. Then, God told me to work with children, and I also opened the non-profit halfway house.
"Boxing taught me how to never give up no matter how hard it gets. In 2013, I lost everything for the second time: my business, my family, everything.....and I went homeless again. But I never gave up! The following year, when everyone said it was over for me, God gave me everything back times two. I lost the building I was in, but eventually I found another building. I had no money and I lost that building in 2013. God gave it back to me in 2016, when the man who bought it, gave it back to me. Now, I have the only two Federal and State halfway houses in Tennessee for special and general populations with more than 50 beds. I'm mostly at capacity all the time with men who have done 50 years calendar down to those who have done five years."
Ingram operates the Second Chance "New Beginning" Halfway House and Homeless Shelter, as well as the Team Ingram Boxing & Mentoring Program.
Lamont started boxing when he was 14, because he used to be severely bullied to the point of having his head smashed into a brick wall, thrown into a garbage can, and jumped on repeatedly by others. Ingram's mother sent him to a boxing coach, Rayford Collins, which turned out to be arguably the most life-changing moments of his life.
"I liked boxing," Lamont remembered. "I wasn't the best boxer, but I did beat some good boxers. I was a very determined young man, though. I was 58-10 with 35 knockouts as an amateur boxer. I got my special education high school diploma and later I graduated from Kaplan University with a 3.7 GPA in Business and Chemical Dependency.
"Most kids (in the boxing program) can't afford the fee to our summer camp or boxing program going on right now. We give them a free breakfast and lunch. I really enjoy this, but I would have never thought that I'd be doing what I'm doing."
Team Ingram Boxing Club & Mentoring Program was founded in 2017, after Ingram's long battle associated with him not wanting anything to do with boxing, because he believed God had done him wrong for taking away from what he loved to do and was good at, boxing. When his amateur coach, Collins, died in 2016, Lamont decided to take a larger role at the gym, to the point he was there every day.
"For some reason I wanted to be part of it and help like my coach had helped save my life," Ingram explained. "Boxing helped me. My coach was very firm, strict and very disciplined, but he loved us and wanted only the best for us. We have so many success stories that range from those that nobody could handle, to those who had F's in school, plus those who had no hope at all. These youths are my world; I see myself and I know that change is possible, because I changed.
"The ultimate goal of my program is to instill life skills that will go with each young person throughout their individual lives like it has for me. I understand that not everyone will be an Olympic champion, or make the USA Olympic Team, become national or world champion. They can be a piece that sows the seed that never departs the one they sowed it to."
Ingram has been a registered USA Boxing coach and official for three years. After becoming a level 2 official, he was chosen to referee the final day of the 2018 Eastern Qualifier, a rare feat for a relatively inexperienced official, to say the least. In 2019, he judged at the Western Qualifier and ranked No. 9 out of 100, which is an unheard-of accomplishment for a level 2 official.
"Boxing saved my life and it changed my life," Ingram claimed. "I had a bad anger problem. I wouldn't listen and I was disrespectful to my parents and authority figures. I stayed in trouble, on intensive probation, or locked up in juvenile detentions centers.
"I am a respectful, humble and dedicated official who loves boxing and watching people achieve their goals. People always told me what I couldn't do; boxing showed me what I could do."
And countless young men and women in Tennessee and the mid-South, not just Lamont, are the beneficiaries today of Lamont Ingram's truly remarkable metamorphosis.
Izzy Acosta to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award
At "Kickoff to the Junior Olympics Celebration" 2019
Junior Olympics, June 23-28, In Wisconsin!
(June 18th) The USA Boxing Alumni Association will host "Kickoff to the Junior Olympics," highlighted by honoring Israel "Izzy" Acosta for his half-century in amateur boxing as a boxer and coach, Sunday, June 23 (6 p.m. CDT start), in Wisconsin at the Madison Marriott West Hotel (Atrium).
The festivities will mark the start of the 2019 National Junior Olympics, June 23-28, at the same venue. This event is free to all members of USA Boxing attending the event, with USA Boxing Alumni members having access to a special VIP area that will include appetizers and cash bar.
Acosta moved from Puerto Rico to Milwaukee in 1970. His older brother made it clear from the start that he wasn't going to hang around with others doing nothing. He and Izzy registered at the United Community Center (UCC) to participate in its athletic program. There, a former Cuban boxing champion, Miguel Lassus, was impressed watching Izzy workout out, spar and hit the heavy bag. Lassus asked Izzy if he wanted to learn how to box and from that point on, Izzy trained in the gym every day after school. A few months later, he was prepared for competition.
Acosta went on to capture gold medals at the 1977 National AAU Championship in the flyweight division and the 1984 National Golden Gloves Championship as a light flyweight. Although he failed to qualify for the USA Olympic Boxing Team, he was selected as an alternate on the 1984 Olympic squad.
"I had so many proud moments throughout my amateur career, getting to the Olympic Box-Off in 1984, and being close to making the Olympic team," Acosta remembered. "I was blessed and had won gold at other international competitions."
Despite being a top amateur boxer, Acosta turned down the opportunity to turn pro, dedicating the rest of his life to coaching youths. He was a member of the 2000 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Team's coaching training staff, assembling a dedicated team of assistant coaches and parents to help instill dedication, perseverance and character in young boxers.
"The reason I never turned pro was, as a light flyweight boxer, it meant that I would probably need to leave the United States and move to countries where competition in lighter weight classes is more popular like Japan, China or Mexico," Izzy explained. "I wasn't very interested in dealing with the ins and outs of the professional arena.
"I found satisfaction in representing the USA and traveling the world with Team USA. Furthermore, youth at the United Community Center were inspired by my accomplishments as an amateur. I saw myself as a role model to them and got them involved in the boxing program, keeping those kids off the streets, as well."
USA Boxing has played a major role in Acosta's life, in and out of the ring, for the past 50 years. "USA Boxing has been like a second family to me," the 66-year-old admits. "The organization has offered me the opportunity to compete and coach at an elite level. The many lessons learned as a member of Team USA as a boxer and coach have been absolutely meaningful and have helped me grow as an individual."
Team USA Dominates
On Final Day of 2019 Bornemissza Tournament!
(June 14th) The final day of boxing at the 2019 Bornemissza Tournament in Eger, Hungary was dominated by the young American team, taking seven golds and one silver, which earned them Best Team of the Tournament.
Pineweight Richard Fernandez Jr. continued his impressive international debut by picking up Team USA's first gold medal of the day. Fernandez took a split decision victory over India's Singh Yaiphaba Soibam to capture his first international title. His impressive week of boxing earned him the Best Junior Boxer of the Tournament honors.
Floyd Diaz (Las Vegas, Nev.) continued the American's winning ways with his own victory in the light flyweight final. Diaz grabbed all five judges' cards in his first international championship bout over Jakobsen Magnus of Denmark for USA Boxing's second gold.
Featherweight Emilio Garcia (Laredo, Texas) put on a dominating performance over Singh Laishangbam Rabichandra of India, which included a standing eight count in the third round, to pick up the unanimous decision victory, as well as the young American's first international gold medal.
Two-time Junior National Champion Joel Iriate (Bakersfield, Calif.) followed his teammates and took a split decision victory over India's Vanshaj for his first international gold medal. The lightweight's win was the fourth gold medal for the Americans.
Jahi Tucker (Deer Park, N.Y.) was the fifth member of Team USA to pick up their first international title. The light welterweight won by unanimous decision over Bendeguz Szigetvari of Hungary, while light middleweight Nathan Lugo (Marietta, Ga.) defeated Hungary's Gergo Sztupa by abandonment, his second win by abandonment of the tournament.
Middleweight Antwan Hunter Jr. (Syracuse, N.Y.) closed out the tournament with an impressive performance over Norway's Ovald Markus to capture Team USA's seventh gold of the tournament.
Welterweight Kasir Goldston (Albany, N.Y.) began the day for the young American team with a heartbreaking split decision loss to Hungary's Mate Horvath to take the silver medal.
Team USA is leaving the 69th edition of the Bornemissza Tournament with a total of 12 medals. Joseph Almajdi (Arlington, Texas), Carl Garrison (Balch Springs, Texas), Diego Luna (San Diego, Calif.) and Trinidad Vargas (Grand Prairie, Texas) picked up bronze, all four first international medal, in yesterday's semifinals.
This year's edition brought 209 boxers from 23 different nations to Hungary to compete for gold. USA Boxing was guided by National Junior and Youth Coach Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.), with Edward Ochoa Jr. (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Pete Rojas Jr. (Grand Prairie, Texas) serving as assistant coaches. Also attending with the American delegation was Dr. Kevin Lee (Dallas, Texas), Team Manager Derrick Raedel (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and referee and judge David Zawacki (Santa Monica, Calif.) to the tournament.
46 kg: Richard Fernandez Jr., San Antonio, Texas/USA, dec. over Singh Yaiphaba Soibam/IND, SD
48 kg: Floyd Diaz, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, dec. over Jakobsen Magnus/DEN, UD
57 kg: Emilio Garcia, Laredo, Texas/USA, dec. over Singh Laishangbam Rabichandra/IND, UD
60 kg: Joel Iriarte, Bakersfield, Calif./USA, dec. over Vanshaj/IND, SD
63 kg: Jahi Tucker, Deer Park, N.Y./USA, Bendeguz Szigetvari/HUN, UD
66 kg: Mate Horvath/HUN, dec. over Kasir Goldston, Albany, N.Y./USA, SD
70 kg: Nathan Lugo, Marietta, Ga./USA won by abandonment over Gergo Sztupa/HUN, AB
75 kg: Antwan Hunter Jr., Syracuse, N.Y./USA, dec. over Ovald Markus/NOR, UD
Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring Patriot,
Olympian & Now World Champ!
(USA Boxing Alumni: (L) Jamel Herring and his stablemate,
Terence "Bud" Crawford picture courtesy of Mikey Williams / Top Rank)
(June 13th) Newly crowned World Boxing Organization (WBO) super featherweight champion Jamel "Semper Fi" Herring has been a fighter practically all his life as a U.S. Marine and elite boxer.
The 33-year-old Herring (20-2, 10 KOs), fighting out of Cincinnati, has come full circle since he started boxing at the age of 15. "I started because I was doing poorly in school, cut from the basketball team," he explained on why he chose the Sweet Science. "I didn't want to be in the streets. It was not my character, so I had to find something else to do. A friend introduced me to boxing and I stuck with it. I eventually got my grades back up and made high honor roll."
Herring also developed into an Olympic boxer, mostly while he was serving nine years in the U.S. Marines, and even when he was deployed twice in Iraq. He compiled an 81-15 amateur record, including top honors at the 2011 & 2012 Armed Forces Championships, 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2012 US Nationals gold medalist, along with a silver medal at the 2010 World Military Games. He was the first active duty U.S. Marine to qualify for the US Boxing Team since 1992, as well as the first U.S. Marine to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
"I boxed a little during my second deployment during free time," he noted. "I came back from my second deployment toward the end of 2007 and began boxing for the Marine Corps in 2008. Most of my amateur career came under the Marine Corps. I learned a lot traveling with the Marine Corps. I got to see more styles and competed in national tournaments as a Marine. They also had the funding to send me."
The highlight of his amateur career was representing his country at the 2012 Olympics in London as captain of Team USA. Although he lost (19-9) in the opening round to two-time Kazakh boxer Daniyar Yeleussinov, who won gold at the 2013 World Championships and later at the 2016 Olympics, the opening Olympic ceremonies was the most memorable moment of his entire amateur boxing career for a special reason.
"That was the anniversary of my daughter's passing," Herring said. "It let me know that no matter what, you can still accomplish anything, even through ups and downs."
Other members of the 2012 USA Olympic Team Herring captained included present day world champions in the pro ranks such as Errol Spence, Jr., Claressa Shields and Marcus Browne, former world champion Rau'Shee Warren, and world title challengers Terrell Gausha, Michael Hunter and Dominic Breazeale.
Herring remains close to USA Boxing, saying: "USA Boxing helped me because of the relationships I created, many of which still remain today. I met other fighters from around the world that I kept good relationships with. It also helped me become more of the people-person I am today. Being team captain taught me patience, because I had to deal with a lot of personalities, I still use those traits today. And I'm still close to my Olympic teammates today."
USA Boxing Alumni Association
Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relationships 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.
"Jamel is the perfect example of resiliency and persistence," mentioned Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Director. "His hard work, sacrifice, and inability to quit no matter what obstacles he encounters will continue to inspire the next generation of champions for many years. The USA Boxing Alumni Association wants to thank him for all that he has given to others, both in and out of the ring."
Nothing has ever come easy for Jamel Herring, especially his remarkable turnaround after the tragic loss of his infant daughter, Ariyanah, which happened three years to the day prior to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
"My road wasn't easy," Herring added, "I had my ups and downs. I'm an Olympian, but nothing was ever handed to me. I had to fight for everything I've gotten. This is my time!"
It certainly is, particularly after he defeated defending WBO super featherweight champion Masayuki Ito, this past May 25, to become world champion. Proof that good things do indeed happen to good people.
2008 USA Olympian Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade Undefeated In Last 11 Years!
(June 6th) As amazing as it is that three-time, two-division world champion Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade hasn't lost in the ring since 2008, the 31-year-old slick southpaw is also celebrating his Silver Anniversary as a boxer.
Andrade started boxing 25 years ago, at the age of six, in Providence, Rhode Island, at his father Paul's gym where Demetrius' older brother by four years, Michael, was being trained. "My routine was school, gym, school, gym," Andrade remembered.
"Boo Boo" developed into one of the most decorated U.S. boxers of all-time, capturing gold medals at four major national titles: 2005 & 2006 USA Nationals, 2006 & 2007 National Golden Gloves.
In 2007, Andrade captured top honors in the welterweight division at the World Championships in Chicago. The same year at the Pan American Games, however, he experienced the adverse effects of international amateur boxing politics, losing 7-6 in the championship final to a Brazilian opponent, Pedro Lima, who, not coincidentally, was fighting at home.
Andrade had destroyed three solid fighters leading up to the finale - John Jackson (23-5), Jean Carlos Prada (RSCO - 3) and Diego Gabriel Chaves (22-0) - and he was clearly the class of his division. "It was still fun," Andrade said. "I was on top of the world and had a purpose. I got to travel to Brazil and became part of the Pan American Games history."
Andrade qualified for the 2008 USA Olympic Boxing Team by sweeping the USA Trials and Box-Offs, including back-to-back victories in the last two matches against future professional world champion Keith Thurman.
The last time Andrade lost was at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when he was on the wrong end of another questionable decision, losing in the quarterfinals, 11-9, to South Korean Kim Jung-Joo.
Despite losing his only opportunity to take home an Olympic gold medal, Andrade still feels that competing in the Olympics was the highlight of his amateur career. "It didn't spoil things for me," he remarked. "I represented my country, myself, and my family in the Olympics. It was part of the journey that got me where I am today. I went there, put on a good face, and accepted the judges' decisions. In my heart and soul, though, I know I won and so does anybody who has watched that fight. I don't look at it as a loss.
"I never look at that being my last loss when I prepare to fight because it could be a distraction. I'm always in top shape when I enter the ring. I put in the effort, believe in myself and have a vision. I don't get caught up in it (not losing since 2008). I continue to adjust and do the right things. I set the bar high a long time ago to not only be the best in New England, but all of boxing, and I'm in that position now. I know how to win but did lose in the amateurs.
"We put our lives on the line every time we're in the ring. A loss in pro boxing isn't supposed to hurt too much, but it would for somebody like me, not (Manny) Pacquiao or (Saul) 'Canelo' Alvarez, because they have their whole country behind them. I'm an American of Cape Verdean decent and that's not the same."
USA Boxing had a profound influence on Andrade in many ways, especially travel for an inner-city kid. He competed in China, Russia and Germany (twice apiece), Brazil, Venezuela, Hungary, Netherlands, France and Portugal.
"Amateur boxing developed my personality and helped me travel the world," Andrade added. "I got to see how others live and learned how fortunate we are in America. We take so much for granted. We don't need to be so materialistic; it's a luxury that we don't need. For so many it's all about getting up every day, working to pay bills, and being with loved ones."
"'Boo Boo' is one of the most decorated alumni in USA Boxing, having represented himself and his country with professionalism and class at the international level," said Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Director. "As he continues to make waves in the professional ranks, we appreciate that he has never forgotten where he came from. The younger generation sees him as a role model, both in and out of the ring, and the Alumni Association wants to thank him for setting such a great example for them to follow."
Andrade will defend his WBO middleweight crown for the second time on June 28, at home in Providence, to be live-streamed on DAZN live from Dunkin' Donuts Center.
Despite a pro career that has stalled on several occasions due to promotional issues, Demetrius Andrade is closing in on a megabucks fight, hopefully, against Alvarez and/or Golovkin.
"I'm going to make my money, against 'Canelo" or 'GGG', Andrade concluded. I've got the skills. I know how to win and look good doing it. I have DAZN and (Matchroom Boxing promoter) Eddie Hearn behind me. I just have to keep training hard and remain focused and patient. It's all part of the journey and my time is coming!"
USA Boxing Standout Bantamweight Duke Ragan
Fighting for His Daughter's Future!
(May 30th) Boxers fight for a variety of reasons. Team USA bantamweight Duke Ragan is driven in the gym and ring by his two-year-old daughter, Kennedy Ragan.
The 21-year-old Ragan trains with his fellow elite squad members in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is a long way from his home and daughter in Cincinnati.
"It is difficult being away from her," Ragan admitted, "but she motivates me. I'm boxing for our future."
Ragan's future in boxing is bright. He is the No. 1 bantamweight in the United States, who plans to cash-out after the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Although he had his first amateur match when he was seven, Ragan was practically born to box, evident by pictures of him as an infant wearing baby boxing gloves. His father and coach, Derek "Duke" Ragan, who named his son with his own nickname, had a lot of friends who were boxers. When Duke's older brother by six years, Lewis Walker, trained at their uncle Sean Singleton's gym, young Duke was being trained in the house by his father.
"I played other sports when I was young, but I didn't in high school," Ragan said. "My father started training me when I was six and a year later, I was at the gym training and sparring. I didn't want to play any sports other than boxing."
Ragan has a 151-19 amateur record, highlighted by his silver-medal performance at the 2017 World Championships. He captured gold at the 2016 & 2018 Elite National Championships, qualifying him for the 2020 Olympic Trials for Boxing, as well as at the 2016 National Golden Gloves Championships.
In addition to winning a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, Ragan has been successful in other International competition, taking top honors at the 2017 Chemistry Cup, runner-up at the 2018 Presidents Cup, and third place finishes in the 2017 Continental Championships and 2019 Pan American Qualifier in Nicaragua. In the latter tournament, Ragan lost in the semifinals to Ecuadorian Jean Caicedo, 3-2, to qualify for the Pan-American Games, July 27 in Lima, Peru.
Ragan is looking forward to avenging his controversial loss to Caicedo at the Pan-American Games. "I was the No. 1 seed at the Pan American Qualifier, and I think I'll be the No. 1 seed at the Pan American Games," Ragan commented. "I think I got a bad decision in the semifinals. There will be some good competition at the Pan American Games, but nobody for me to worry about."
Self-described as a pure boxer who enjoys moving around the ring snapping jabs, Ragan also has sufficient power to put opponents to sleep. He wants to become part of Cincinnati's rich boxing history, which has produced all-time greats such as Aaron Pryor, Ezzard Charles, Adrian Broner, Rau'shee Warren and Tim Austin, among others.
"Pryor and Charles boxed in the same community where I grew up," Ragan noted. "I really haven't done anything yet, but it would be cool to be world champion like them."
USA Boxing has played a major role in Ragan's young life and, if he gets his wish, it'll continue to be for at least another year or so. "My main focus is 2020, I'll worry about turning pro after that," he remarked. "Amateur boxing has brought me a long way. I'm more disciplined, better focused, and a much smarter boxer. I have a higher boxing IQ. I've also had to learn to make sacrifices, because I've got to be a man to make time for my young daughter. All of this is getting me ready to be a professional.
Ragan has traveled around the world as a Team USA boxer having been to Germany and Kazakhstan (twice apiece), Poland, Bulgaria and Nicaragua. Ultimately, Duke Ragan wants to continue representing his country and traveling all over the world, hopefully, booking a trip to Tokyo next year.
Lightweight Keyshawn Davis Preparing to Go
Gold Digging Next Year In Japan at 2020 Olympics!
(May 20th) Team USA lightweight Keyshawn Davis has been preparing all of his young life to represent his country in the Olympics. If everything goes as planned and remains on schedule, the Norfolk, Virginia native will be boxing for gold next year in Japan.
The 20-year-old Davis, who sports a 110-15 amateur record, is racking up medals at such a torrid pace that he desperately needs to expand his display case. He is a two-time Elite National (2017-18) and two-time National PAL (2013-14) champion, as well as a gold medalist at the 2017 Eastern Elite Qualifier, 2017 Youth Open and 2017 National Golden Gloves.
Internationally, he's done some serious damage, too. The highlight of his amateur career, to date, is winning gold at last year's Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria. Davis recently captured silver at the 2019 Pan-American Games Qualifier in Nicaragua, in addition to the 2018 Chemistry Cup in Germany.
"I won my first International gold medal in Bulgaria," Davis agreed with it being the highlight of his amateur career. "I was also selected as the Most Outstanding Boxer."
His victory at the 2018 USA Nationals qualified him for the 2020 Olympic Trials for Boxing, while his silver at the Pan American Games Qualifier qualified him for the Pan American Games (July 27-August 2) in Lima, Peru. This year he will also be competing at the Elite Men's World Championships (Sept. 7-21) in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
"Qualifying for the Olympic Trials really wasn't much of an accomplishment for me because it was expected," Davis noted. "For me it was to get on Team USA, again and this is my second year on the team.
"There's no real competition for me to qualify for the USA Olympic Boxing Team. My last fight in The Nationals was a little bit of a challenge (vs. Dalis Kaleiopu), because I slipped and got up."
At the Pan American Games, Davis could very well face the Cuban boxer who defeated him by a score of 3-2 at the Pan American Games Qualifier, Andy Cruz, setting up a possible rubber match between the two elite boxers next year at the Olympic Games.
"There's a very good chance we'll fight again at the Pan-Am Games, most likely in Japan, as well," Davis added. "We have to win two rounds to qualify for the finals and for me to get my revenge. Cruz has a lot more International experience than I do. He's 26 years old and World Champion in our weight class."
Davis started boxing when he was nine when, tired of Keyshawn and his two brothers fighting each other and in school, his mother asked if they wanted to go to the gym to learn how to box. They did and today, his older (Kelvin) and younger (Keon) brothers are also amateur boxers.
Not long after that he met Troy Isley, who is a fellow member of Team USA, and today they're as close as brothers.
"I met Troy way back, after I first started boxing," Davis remembered. "We'd meet up at the Nationals and other tournaments and hang together with my brothers. My coach retired, so I went to Troy's gym (Alexandria, VA) and started working with Coach Kay (Koroma, USA Assistant National Boxing Coach). We're getting close to our dream (representing the USA in the Olympics) that started so long ago that it seems unreal to be getting close. You can expect two boxers from Virginia to come back from Japan with gold medals. We're like brothers."
"Coach Kay first cornered me when I was 13. He's a great coach who wants us to succeed in life, not just in the ring. He wants the best for us. We have one of the best U.S. boxing teams in a long time and it's going to show in Japan. We always help each other out and this is a very exciting time for us right now."
Another close friend of Keyshawn's is, 2018 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson, who has been through what Keyshawn is approaching, and is now at the level as a professional prospect in which Davis aspires to reach.
"Shakur has always supported me," Davis continued. "We talk a lot. Honestly, it's hard for me not to think about turning pro, because my amateur career will be over after the Olympics. I've always been taught to have a plan, so I've been preparing, business-wise, looking into my options (manager and promoter), and to stay on the right track from the amateurs to pros."
If he wasn't a boxer, Davis figures he'd be a realtor, but he's thoroughly enjoying the life as a boxer.
"This has been a great experience," Davis spoke about his amateur boxing career, "especially this year getting ready for the Pan AMs. I've had opportunities to travel and meet people, but the best part is being part of a team like this. Boxing is an individual sport but, outside the ring, we're always pushing hard for each other.
"I thank God every day when I get up for putting me in this position. All I want to do is provide for me and my family. At my age, I'm ahead of the game."
Congratulations to Darrel Davis
Who is May’s Coach of the Month!
(May 17th) Maryland native Darrell Davis began his path in coaching youth boxing in 2015. Establishing “Oxon Hill Boxing” headquartered in Oxon Hill with just 3 fighters.
Today with Oxon Hill Boxing's continued growth there are 19 athletes under him and his coaching staff. 14 of whom are nationally ranked boxers; 2 ranked #1 and 2 ranked #2 in USA Boxing.
Darrell is head coach of boxing sensation and Youth Gold Medalist Jamal Harvey, a 114lb Maryland native Internationaly #1 ranked boxer with an impressive record that includes being a 7x National Champion, 2018 PVA Champion and 2018 DC Pigskin Champion and Fighter Of The Year. Building these types of champions has earned Darrell and Oxon Hill Boxing the following titles: 2018 PVA Gym of The Year, 2018 PVA Coach Of The Year, 2018 DC Pigskin Club Coach Of The Year and ultimately Darrell himself was granted PVA Junior Olympics Chairman. Darrell has proven without a doubt to his peers he is here to build winning athletes and coaches.
Darrell’s humble dedication as a husband, father of 7 and nationally recognized coach, mentor and business owner no doubt establishes him, his organization and his athletes among the elite in the growing footprint of Maryland boxing.
“If there is one abiding theme in the gym, it's the withering work in the ring. Those not fit do not survive” - Coach Emanuel Steward, 2018 USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame Inductee
Sweet Revenge for USA Boxing's
No. 1 Rated Lightweight Rashida Ellis!
(May 14th) Revenge was sweet for USA Boxing's No. 1 rated female lightweight Rashida Ellis, now a 7-time national champion who has her sights firmly set on the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Last month, Ellis took top honors at the Pan American Qualifier in Nicaragua, shutting out her Brazilian rival Beatriz Ferreira, who had beaten Ellis earlier this year at the Strandja Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. The two elite lightweights could very well meet again at the Pan American Games, July 27-August 2, in Lima, Peru, as well as at the 2020 Olympics.
"I had an opportunity in our rematch to avenge my loss to her in Bulgaria," the 23-year-old Ellis said. "I felt I won our first fight. I knew she'd pressure me, and I'd box. She did and I dominated. She's a great fighter, but I know her weaknesses. I knew how to handle myself.
"I'm very skilled, but tough. I love to box but, if I have to bang, I'm going to bang. I do like to show my skills in the ring. I've already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials last December in Salt Lake City. I won the gold medal there and was also selected as the Outstanding Female Boxer."
Rashida played football in elementary and middle school, but she started getting into fights in school. Her father, Ronald Ellis, sent her to the gym with her brothers, Ronald and Rashidi, in her hometown, Lynn, Massachusetts.
"The ball was taken away from me as a punishment," she explained, "but I loved boxing from the very beginning."
Today, Rashida has a 70-5 amateur record and rates among the top female boxers in the world in the 132-pound division. She has captured gold medals in seven national tournaments: 2018 & 2013 Elite National, 2016 National Golden Gloves, 2013, 2011 & 2010 Youth Open, and 2012 National PAL.
Amateur boxing has allowed Rashida to travel all across America, in addition to Nicaragua and Bulgaria. She has additional international trips on this year's schedule: Lima, Peru (July 27-Aug. 2, Pan American Games) and Ulan Ude, Russia (Oct. 3-13, Elite Women's World Championships).
Ellis would love to be competing in Japan at the 2020 Olympics, but she has to get there first. Her stiffest competition to earn a spot on the 2020 USA Boxing Olympic Team are Amelia Moore and Stacia Suttles. Ellis is 1-1 vs. Moore, 2-0 vs. Suttles.
Rashida is from New England's first family of amateur boxing, based on the number of siblings who are also National Champions. Her older brothers, Ronald and Rashidi, were 2010 National Golden Gloves and 2013 PAL champions, respectively.
The Ayala family out of Texas has the most "blood" siblings to win national tournaments - brothers Mike, Sammy, Tony, Jr. and Paulie; only a handful of families have had three siblings win national tournaments like the Curry brothers - Bruce, Graylin and Donald. The Ellis clan, however, stands alone with a female among the siblings.
Ronald (16-1-2, 11 KOs), a super middleweight, and undefeated welterweight Rashidi (21-0, 14 KOs) are top pro prospects. Rashida, though, plans to qualify the USA Boxing Olympic Team, win a medal, and then turn pro.
"I wanted to turn pro since I was 18," Rashida admitted. "My father said I was too young and had plenty of time. I'm going pro right after the Olympics. I'd like to live in Los Angeles because there are a lot of good boxers there and my oldest brother (Ronald) lives there.
"People never really had a chance to watch women box (on television) and often they weren't good fights. It's different today with world champions like Claressa Shields, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. They fight like men!"
So does Rashida Ellis and that's why she's a rising star in women's boxing.
Paulie Malignaggi Still "Magic Man"
At Ringside and In the Ring!
(May 9th) From high school dropout to two-time world boxing champion and now arguably boxing's preeminent color analyst, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi is a real winner having overcome numerous obstacles that would have finished lesser men.
Amateur boxing has played a significant role in Malignaggi's life, starting in 1998 when he was a 17-year-old competing in the New York Golden Gloves. "I was thrown out of high school the year before," Malignaggi explained. "I had no place to go, nothing to do, and my family wanted me to do something to keep out of trouble. They were teaching me a lesson. My family didn't plan for me to be a fighter, but I liked boxing a lot and enjoyed the competition. Through boxing, I learned to set goals, and for the first time in my life I had something to lose. I liked boxing enough to value staying out of trouble.
"It's cliché to say boxing saved me, because anything you made a career of you can look back at, and say it saved me. I felt boxing was unconventional; usually people go to college, learn a trade, get a job. Boxing is the last option to attract people. There are many other options, boxing isn't the first option, but that was my choice."
Malignaggi went on to record a 41-9 amateur record, highlighted by his gold-medal performance at the 2001 Everlast U.S. Championships, to go along with him capturing top honors at the New York Golden Gloves Championships. Later that same year he turned pro.
"Winning the U.S. Championships was a major accomplishment that was a springboard for my pro career," Malignaggi commented. "Amateur boxing gave me structure. I learned to think, technique, and how to box correctly. No matter what a pro fighter becomes, he can always go back to the basics he learned in the amateurs, the base in which to box.
"I also learned that you can't always win. Case in point, learning to lose in the amateurs doesn't kill a career, like it can block a career in the pros, because you come back in the next tournament. I was never concerned about consequences, never applied myself, until I started in the amateurs. Amateur boxing taught me the importance to apply. I started applying myself in the gym and changed as a person without realizing it."
Malignaggi has distinguished himself as a unique boxing analyst who, pun intended, doesn't pull any punches. His insight is unparalleled in the industry and his personality comes through the television screen. As a former boxer, he knows what it takes to breakdown a fight, but he expresses his knowledge better than anybody else with strong convictions and in his Brooklynese accent. What he consistently does, unlike most other commentators, is prepare viewers in advance for what to watch for next during a fight.
Today, the high school dropout has developed at ringside like he did inside the four-cornered ring, honing his skills to articulate and nurturing his entertaining style, to become an award-winning color commentator for numerous networks, including Showtime Championship Boxing, Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network and in the United Kingdom, Sky Sports and occasionally the BBC.
"My dream was to become the best fighter I could be," Malignaggi admitted, "but I never considered being an analyst. I was a thinking fighter, always asking questions, instead of just hitting the pads. I wanted to know who, what, why and when. I can see patterns better from outside the ring, when I'm relaxed (as opposed to being intense inside the ring), to explain things on air."
Today, the 38-year-old Kelly is a successful celebrity/athlete trainer, sports correspondent, viral video sensation, and brand ambassador. He's also giving back as a coach for kids at his gym, SouthBox Gym, in the Bronx section of New York City.
"It's deeper than coaching," Kelly explained. "I am grateful to be in position to be able to give back like I do. I am blessed to own a gym where I can provide resources to those who need it and offer a facility where they can go to achieve their goals. I do a lot of work with youth from the Explorers program through the 40th precinct in the Bronx. I also own a pizza shot, Nobody's Pizza, just two blocks from my gym. After workouts, I order pizzas for the kids and everything is free of charge. I call the program, PIzzaBox. I also speak to students at several high schools and universities across the United States."
Instead of brooding about others living his dreams in pro boxing, Eric Kelly has moved forward into an incredibly career as an entrepreneur and, more significant, an invaluable father and role model who has been there and done that in just about every respect.
Troy Isley Coming Off Biggest Win,
Preparing for 2020 Olympics!
(May 6th) USA Boxing middleweight Troy Isley is coming off the most significant victory of his young career, when he defeated the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Cuba's Arlen Lopez, at the recent Pan American Games Qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua.
Lopez served as a positive barometer for Isley in terms of his potential 2020 Olympic run. "Beating Lopez is my biggest win so far," Isley admitted. "He won a gold medal at the last Olympics. I avenged my loss to him in 2017. We almost fought in The Continentals, but he lost in the quarterfinals, and I lost in the semifinals. We could face each other again in July at the Pan American Games."
In 2017, Isley captured a gold medal at the Elite World Championships, which marked a first for an American elite boxer in six years. He's progressed year-by-year, taking top honors at the 2012 & 2013 National PAL Championships, 2014 National Junior Olympics, 2016 & 2017 Elite National Championships. So far this year, in addition to winning at the Pan American Games Qualifier, he also took gold at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
Not too shabby accomplishments for a kid who really didn't like boxing, especially compared to football, which was his favorite sport growing up.
"When I returned to the gym I trained at, Alexandria (VA) Boxing Club," USA National Team assistant coach Kay Koromba remembered," they needed help with a young kid, Troy Isley. I had a simple conversation with him. He said he'd come back to the gym if I was there coaching. I didn't go back for a little while and he didn't return. I eventually took over the gym when the coach left, and Troy returned.
"Troy is friends with Keyshawn Davis (USA Boxing's No. 1-rated lightweight). They both live in Virginia (Troy in Alexandria, Keyshawn in Newport) and train with me at the Alexandria Boxing Club, when we aren't living and training in Colorado Springs. They fought as kids and became good friends. All of the other boxers here look up to them."
"I was only 8 and at first I really didn't like boxing," the now 20-year-old Isley spoke about his introduction to amateur boxing. "I was more interested in team sports like football, but I gave up boxing when I chose to compete in the Box-Offs. I just wanted to be a kid and you can't play boxing. I went back to the gym and beat up everybody. Coach Kay told my father that he could make me into a national champion, and that gave me a lot of self-esteem."
A self-described boxer puncher, Isley is an intelligent, well-spoken boxer with eyes on the future, outside of boxing, taking on-line business courses through DeVry University. "I can do it all," he offered about his boxing style. "I'm working on using more jabs to be a better all-around boxer. The jab sets the offense up. I'm working on my jab because you can win fights with a jab."
Promoters are lining up to pitch their companies to sign Isley, who has a definitive plan that involves making the 2020 USA Olympic Boxing Team, medal in Japan, and then turn professional.
"The Olympics is only a year away," Isley noted. "I'm close with Keyshawn and Shakur (Stevenson, 2016 Olympic silver-medalist and an 11-0 pro prospect). Training with them makes things easier for all of us. We drive each other and train against different styles. I'm always picking up new stuff. We help each other training, sparring, and just talking. We're always together, either in Alexandria or Colorado Springs. Shakur still goes there for good sparring.
"Shakur tells us a lot about his experiences in the Olympics and now as a pro. Me and Keyshawn have always talked about being together on the USA Boxing Olympic Team. We keep working hard and staying focused. It's been our dream."
Dreams do come true but, first, Isley is preparing for the Pan-Am Games and, possibly, his rubber match with the defending Olympic gold-medalist, Lopez.
USA National Team Assistant Coach Kay Koroma
Believes in American Men & Women Boxers!
(L-R, USA Boxing National Team Head Chaco Billy Walsh, Roma Martinez and USA
Boxing National Assistant Coach Kay Koroma)
(May 1st) USA National Boxing Team assistant coach Kay Koroma believes Team USA will make a major statement at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
"I coached a youth team, junior on up, who were No. 1 and three-four years later many of the same athletes are now on our National Team," Koroma explained. "(Troy) Isley, (Richard) Torrez, (Jr.), (Jared) Anderson, (Freudis) Rojas, (Jr.), (Delante) Johnson, (Keyshawn) Davis, (Duke) Ragan and others have been here (on the USA Elite Team training in Colorado Springs) since the last Olympics. We also have some great women boxers such as Rashida Ellis, who some compare to Claressa Shields and I see why, even though they have different styles. Plus, Virginia Fuchs and Naomi Graham.
"The (recent) Pan Am Qualifier showed that we'll be in contention. This year's Pan Am Games will show what we really have. Europeans have a different style than us. The biggest challenge is facing Cubans, the rest of the world is terrified of Cuba. If we defeat Cuban fighters at the Pan Am Games, we'll see what we really have. I know that they're ready and can still grow. I believe our gold and silver medal percentages will be higher, and we should add a few bronze medals, too."
"Our team has turned into a family with no egos. If one is fighting, everybody else is supporting him or her. When a fighter is cutting weight, all the other fighters are supportive. Everybody's good. They have each other's backs."
The 38-year-old Koroma (pictured left) has lived in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area for most of his life, although he did reside for a while with his aunt in London, and he also spent some time living in Sierra Leone.
Coaching is in Koroma's blood and, at heart, he is a passionate teacher of boxing. Kay got into boxing because, as he noted, "I always hated people who picked on kids, so I got in trouble fighting those people when I was young, and I was eventually placed in a Scared Straight-like program in Alexandria."
A former amateur and professional boxer, who had a 5-1 (3 KOs) record highlighted by him capturing the GBU International middleweight championship, Koroma hung up his gloves due to an illness.
After staying away from boxing for a few years, Coach Koroma returned to his roots for a visit at the Alexandria Boxing Club. He then came back to help out, eventually taking over the gym when the head coach left.
"Boxing changes lives," Koroma remarked. "My career highlight is helping kids reach their highest potential and not just as a boxer. I get involved with their parents, teachers, principals and counselors. I can't get the best out of their ability if all I am to the athletes is a coach. I was raised by strong women, my mother and aunts, and they taught me to help others, even if they're better than me. I help some who I may hate. People think I'm crazy to do that, but I was raised that way."
"When people come to my gym, I don't care if they aren't from the ghetto, or that they may be a rich kid who wants to hang around boxers. We take everybody. Boxing saves lives in many ways. There's nothing more rewarding for me to hear than a boxer telling me I saved their life. Boxing is a sport, but a coach really needs to be involved in the lives of the athletes. It starts outside the ring: what they eat and how they respond to other people. You can't go into the ring if you're arrogant, or not eating right. Some coaches are afraid to tell athletes that their attitude is holding them back. Coaches have to be willing to make sacrifices because it's about much more than just boxing."
"We (coaches) don't have assignments here. I'm hands on with everybody on the team. I stay on campus. I take that role because I may see some things others can't get done. I help every athlete out because we're a team of coaches, learning from each other. I've had some boxers live with me. They sleep at my house, I drive them to school, and work with their parents. I'm also a mental-type of coach. You really need to know your fighters, because not all are the same. And you can't tell some fighters he's losing because he could breakdown."
Koroma started traveling with the USA Boxing Teams in 2015 and he has worked numerous world championship events, including the 2016 Olympics. His hard work earned him the USOC Developmental Coach of the Year for Boxing.
Prior to the 2016 Olympics, Coach Koroma relocated to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where he still resides to provide daily guidance to USA Boxing elite athletes. He periodically returns to Alexandria, where he coaches Virginia-based boxers such as 2016 Olympic silver medalist and top pro prospect Shakur Stevenson, Team USA stable-mates Isley and Davis, and Amelia Moore.
2019 is a critical year for Team USA Boxing because boxers are competing for a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Team roster. Nobody is more important to National Team head coach Billy Walsh than Kay Koroma in terms of building and guiding the rise of Team USA.
Former Amateur Star Eric Kelly Overcomes
Adversity, Inspires Tomorrow's Champions!
(April 3rd) Four-time National amateur boxing champion Eric Kelly has overcome the challenges that destroyed his potentially lucrative professional boxing career to become an inspirational figure for countless youth today.
One of the best United States amateur boxers of all-time, he finished with a remarkable 104-14 record, including numerous medals and awards, culminating with him being named alternate for the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia.
"My first time going for a national championship," Kelly remembered, "I won it, back in 1997. Leading up to that moment, I hadn't fought or done anything in a few years, but I had this itch to be somebody. Deep down I knew that I belonged amongst the best in the world. Winning that series of tournaments, which landed me a #1 ranking in the county, let me know there was nothing that I couldn't do, and I won several tournaments after that. Be it educational goals, personal insecurities, and professional mishaps, the fact that I could get in the ring to fight in front of hundreds and thousands of people was enough. How can I be discouraged or afraid to achieve greatness, when I'd already built the title of champion? Everything else didn't come easy, but I knew that it was achievable, and well within my grasp."
Born in Titusville, Florida, Kelly moved as a child with his father to the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, and his father encouraged him to box. Eric trained at the New Bed-Stuy Boxing Venter and later at the famed Gleason's Gym, winning his first national title at the age of 16.
In 2001, Kelly was the No. 1 ranked middleweight in the U.S., but he lost in the championship final of the USA Boxing Championships to an unranked Andre Ward, who went on to capture a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"I wasn't surprised that Andre won a gold medal and retired as an undefeated, two-division world champion as a professional," Kelly said. "Andre's focus has always been next level. He was a killer in the ring. When he beat me for the national championship, that's when I knew that he was going to be a real star, because leading to facing me in the finals, he beat two guys that I'd previously beaten, and they were tough cookies."
Kelly's life dramatically changed while training at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC), where Kelly was trained by Al Mitchell, on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. During a brawl in a barroom, he suffered nerve damage to his left eyelid, after being struck in the face with a pool cue.
"It taught me how to be a man," Kelly spoke about his live-changing incident. "Honestly, I wish that I was as good to the program as the program was to me. During my time as a USOEC Bad Boy, I was able to win a couple of national championships and experience success inside of the ring, but outside of the ring I was battling life. I was going through a lot of personal issues with family, etc., which ultimately effected my career, as I was having huge disciplinary issues. I was constantly in trouble at USOEC, which twice got me removed from the program as a student-athlete. I was dishonest, violent and a terror. I was broken! Selfishly, I wanted others to feel my pain. There's an old saying that misery loves company; I was miserable and lost everything - my scholarship, ranking as a boxer and my place on Team USA. I wasn't allowed to fight in the USA Nationals. I was broken and wandering baseless. I still miss being the champ. I know that my potential was never fulfilled, not even half. Everything I'm doing now is solely for my five children because I need and will take great care of them! This is far deeper than my boxing career. It is their lives at stake, and this is one championship that I will win."
Never having the opportunity to follow his dream to become world champion may have affected his life, but it has not broken him and has led him to post-boxing success as a father, entertainer, and entrepreneur.
"I look at fighters on TV who are experiencing great success, some I beat, some beat me, but I was always competitive," Kelly remarked. "It's tough to watch others live your deal, when you know you were right there. Guys like Andre Ward, Jeff Lacy and Jermain Taylor are guys I've punched in the face, and they punched me. The thing is, they took it to the next level and lived my dream, and I was forced to live from afar. Watching those guys also motivated me to achieve professional success as a businessman and entrepreneur. I showed that I can handle the tabloids in more ways than one. Damn near 20 years later, I'm still doing it, and you ain't seen nothing yet!"
"Eric is actually one of the primary inspirations for my involvement in the USA Boxing Alumni Association," said Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. "He has continuously demonstrated his character, resolve, and ambition as a father, boxer, trainer, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He's one of the most honest people in boxing and his passion is contagious. The Alumni Association is proud to call him one of our own and we look forward to working with him to help the sport grow."
USA Boxing Announces New Board of Directors,
President, Vice President and Treasurer!
(April 2nd) USA Boxing announced today the three elected positions on our Board of Directors after a meeting held this weekend in Reno, Nevada.
Tyson Lee, the current President and CEO of Veteran Industries, was elected as the new USA Boxing President of the Board of Directors and will begin his service immediately until December 31, 2020.
"Being elected as the President of the Board of Directors for USA Boxing is one of the greatest honors I've ever received," states Lee. "I'm excited to have the privilege to work with such a talented Board of Directors and staff in support of our mission to grow amateur boxing throughout the country, ultimately in pursuit of Olympic gold."
Lee graduated with a BS degree in engineering and foreign languages from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY where he made the Regimental All Star Boxing Team for three years. As a captain in the Army, he also won three state amateur titles while stationed in Hawaii. His professional military background includes completing U.S. Army schools such as Airborne, Jumpmaster, and Ranger, also serving as a Company Commander in the 25th Infantry Division (Light). He now resides in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
General Membership Director John Brown will serve as the 1st Vice President.
"I think we have a rejuvenated board that has the necessary passion and experience to allow USA Boxing to achieve its full potential," said Brown on the new Board members and appointments.
Newly elected Local Boxing Committee (LBC) Director Patrick Butler will serve as the Board Treasurer.
"I am honored and privileged to be a member of the Board of Directors for USA Boxing and I am humbled by my appointment as the Treasurer to the Board of Directors," stated Butler. "I take both positions very seriously. USA Boxing is a great organization with amazing potential for the athletes, officials and coaches from the local level to the international level. It is my goal to continue to improve on great things that are already happening with USA Boxing and to help in any way possible to bring new ideas to fruition."
USA Boxing Alumni Association Profile:
Delvis "Mac" McCadden's Remarkable Journey
From MLB and NCAA to USA Boxing!
(L-R Umpiring a 1978 minor league game in West Virginia: Delvis "Mac" McCadden,
Bob "Bruno" Willman, Emmett Ashford and Dallas Parks)
(March 21st) Former Major League umpire and NCAA basketball referee Delvis "Mac" McCadden has found a new home in USA Boxing. His remarkable journey through sports, often tainted by racism, at least during the beginning of his umpiring career, now finds him thoroughly enjoying amateur boxing as an official.
Simply put, McCadden was born and breed into sports. In 1949, his father bought his newborn son a four-fingered shortstop glove, because he wanted "Mac" to become a professional baseball player. Although that dream never came to fruition, "Mac" parlayed what his father taught him into a baseball career.
McCadden's ultimate goal as a professional official was to referee an NCAA Final Four game and umpire a World Series game. He came close, but the first of many knee surgeries forced him into early retirement at 29, leaving him unable to squat or run today.
"I was on schedule," the Roanoke, Virginia native explained. "I worked two NCAA Sweet 16 tournaments and knew that I'd umpire a World Series game because they were on a rotation schedule every five years. I was injured in 1979 during a pickup basketball game. I never regretted it, though, because I had a chance to do it. I came back as a referee in 1985-86 just to prove that I could do it."
The highlight of his basketball officiating career was working one of the biggest pre-season tournaments, the Great Alaskan Shootout. "It was the first time I was on national television," McCadden remembered. "Four of eight first team All-America players were in that tournament. My wife was a big North Carolina fan, but Syracuse was her No. 2 favorite. I ticked her off when I gave a technical to (Syracuse head coach Jim) Boeheim."
One of the few African-American umpires when he broke in back in the early seventies, McCadden overcame a lot to become the official he was, as well as the man he is today.
"In 1973," McCadden commented, "I was umpiring a AA game in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. There's only one way in and out of Smithville County and there were two large billboards at both ends of the road that had: Help support the United Klans of America. I'm light complexed and you really can't tell I'm black unless you're up close. It's my first game there and I'm behind the plate. A fan yelled," Oh my God, they sent us an Arab. I took my hat off for the national anthem and I had a small Afro. The same guy yells, 'He's no Arab, they sent us a ******* ( N-word)'. I had a rough game and threw out five people, three on one team and two on the other. After the game I walked past a woman who smashed a hot dog in my face and poured coke on my head. I was dressing in the locker room and people started beating a metal door down. They came in and I grabbed my facemask, but fortunately the cops came.
"When I left there was an elderly black gentleman waiting for me. He was Buck Leonard, a first baseman who played in the Negros League with Satchel Paige, and he's in the Negro and Baseball Halls of Fame. This (racist behavior by fans) had never happened to me and I was going to quit. He invited me to have lunch with him the next day because he wanted to talk. It changed my life. I started letting things like that run off my back."
There were some memorable umpiring moments along the way like throwing Billy Martin and Earl Weaver out of the same spring training game and umpiring a game in which the great Hank Aaron hit his final spring trainer home run.
"And I have that ball," McCadden noted. "On his previous at bat, I called him out on a third strike that was high. The highlight of my umpiring career was in 1977 at the 30th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first pro game at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey. I was umpiring in AA at the time and the stadium had been renovated. I met Jackie's widow, Rachel Robinson, who was a lovely person and strikingly beautiful, even today in her nineties. I was the plate umpire and, to me, there was no higher honor."
According to McCadden, who was an educator and local politician, he first got involved in amateur boxing in a strange way. In 1996, he helped start a boxing club in Roanoke with the city providing the facility. He went to the gym to hang out and prove that he really cared. In 2009, Roanoke hosted the Virginia Golden Gloves Tournament.
"I was sitting there and there weren't enough judges," McCadden said. "I was asked if I'd mind judging, but I wasn't certified. I was given a mini-clinic, took the test, and passed for my first job in boxing. Six months later, I was in the ring refereeing. There were no sanctioned events in my area, so I had to go to other parts of the state to work events. It got to the point where I really liked it. I had commonsense sports knowledge. Nobody knew me there, so there were no grudges. In 2012, I became a level 2 Chief Officer in Virginia until 2014."
McCadden was an official at the 2017 USA Boxing Eastern Qualifier and USA Boxing Junior Olympics, as well as the 2018 U.S. National Elite Boxing Championships and U.S National Junior Olympics. Today, "Mac" is a USA Boxing LBC #61, USIBA Chief of Officials, USIBA Board member representing the Roanoke Chapter, and one of the early USA Boxing Alumni Association members.
USA Boxing Announces Seven New Board of Directors Members Two Members Reappointed!
(March 12th) USA Boxing announced today the seven new board of director members, as well as Cam Awesome and Dick Hoffmann being reappointed as Athlete Representative Director and Independent Director, respectively. The new members will join the board effective March 31, 2019.
The Affiliate Member Director, Athlete Representative Directors, and the Local Boxing Committee (LBC) Director were vetted and nominated by USA Boxing's Nominating and Governance Committee and elected by USA Boxing membership following USA Boxing's bylaws.
USA Boxing utilized a Board of Director search firm to conduct a nation-wide search for Independent Director Candidates. Ten candidates were recommended to USA Boxing Nominating and Governance Committee who in turn vetted and selected four Independent Directors who they believe will complement and bolster USA Boxing's board of directors. The Independent Directors have prior experience with amateur Olympic-style boxing and their training, knowledge and experiences outside of boxing will strengthen the board of directors.
The new board member designations are as follows:
Affiliated Member Director:
Eric Buller: Buller currently serves as the President of the National Collegiate Boxing Association, as well as works as the Director of the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute at Miami University in Miami, Ohio. Buller holds a B.S. in Soviet Foreign Affairs from the United States Military Academy, a M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership from the College of William and Mary, as well as an Ed.D in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas.
Local Boxing Committee (LBC) Director:
Patrick Butler: Butler has been a District Court Judge in Colorado since 2009, and prior to that practiced law from 1986-2009, following his graduation from Gonzaga University with a law degree. He has been a USA Boxing official since 2013. Judge Butler was voted into this position by LBC Presidents, and hopes to help grow, sustain and improve USA Boxing on the local, national and international levels.
Athlete Representative Director:
Brian Ceballo: Ceballo was a long-time member of USA Boxing's High Performance team prior to going on to the professional ranks in 2018. Ceballo represented Team USA at numerous international tournaments throughout his 206-13 amateur career, including the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 World Series of Boxing. Ceballo will work alongside Awesome and Franchon Crews to represent the athlete perspective on the Board of Directors. He currently serves as an Athlete Representative on the Metropolitan LBC Board of Directors.
Héctor Colón: Colón serves as the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Prior to that, he spent six years as Executive Director of the Department of Health and Human Services of Milwaukee County. Colón was a member of the U.S. national boxing team for seven years. He won seven national titles and competed in the 1992 Olympic trials, losing to Jessie Briseno whom he knocked out in the first round for the U.S. welterweight championship in 1993. Colón served as the boxing and mixed martial arts commissioner for the state of Wisconsin from 2009 to 2011. He holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Tyson Lee: the current President and CEO of Veteran Industries graduated with a BS degree in engineering and foreign languages from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY where he made the Regimental All Star Boxing Team for three years. As a captain in the Army, he also won three state amateur titles while stationed in Hawaii. His professional military background includes completing U.S. Army schools such as Airborne, Jumpmaster, and Ranger, also serving as a Company Commander in the 25th Infantry Division (Light). He now resides in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
Chris Trombetta: a former U.S. Army Infantry Captain, Trombetta currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Talent for Red Bull North America. Prior, Trombetta worked for Bain & Company, a leading global management consulting firm, focused on consumer products and media & entertainment clients. He graduated with highest honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a B.S. in Human Factors Engineering and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Sherry Wulkan: Dr. Wulkan brings ringside physician experience to the board of directors, as the SUNY Stony Brook graduate has been around sports for many years. She is currently the Medical Director of the Combative Sports Consulting Services, as well as served as a consultant for numerous other organizations such as the NYU Langone Health, Florida State Athletic Commission, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Sports Program, and Atlantic Sports Health.
USA Boxing Alumni Association Profile:
John "The Quietman" Ruiz
From the Projects to Owning Boxing's Ultimate Crown!
(March 12th) From the projects to owning arguably the most respected individual title in sports, John "The Quietman" Ruiz remains the only Latino to capture the coveted world heavyweight title.
Ruiz, 47, is a proud Puerto-Rican American boxer who grew-up in a Chelsea, Massachusetts. The two-time World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight champion, defeated USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Famer Evander Holyfield in the second of their three title fights, to secure for the first time, the world heavyweight crown.
A decorated amateur boxer, Ruiz compiled a 50-5 record, similar to his final pro record of 44-9-1 (30 KOs) between 1992-2010, including gold- medal performances at the All-New England Championships, USA Boxing National Championships and the Los Angeles Olympic Festival, which elevated him to the No. 1 light heavyweight position in the United States ratings.
Ruiz was also an outstanding all-around athlete at Chelsea High, particularly in football, in which he was an all-star. He started boxing at the age of seven, eventually developing his skills at the Somerville Boxing Club.
"Boxing was the only sport I figured I'd have a good chance of succeeding," Ruiz (pictured here on far left) explained why he pursued boxing as opposed to football or another team sport. "The other sports you had to go to college, and I didn't have the grades."
Ruiz never looked back and no boxer ever got more out of their God-given skills than him. After winning his first tournament (PAL in New Jersey), he became part of the USA Team that traveled to Sweden to compete in a dual-meet.
"Outside of Puerto Rico (he lived there for 6-7 years in his early youth)," Ruiz remembered fondly. "I had never traveled outside of the United States. USA Boxing gave me an opportunity to travel there, Australia, Italy and all over the United States. Even more than how those experiences prepared me for the pro ranks, it gave me a taste of life experience, traveling to places I never would have been able to go to on my own. Amateur boxing also gave me structure and confidence in myself for when I turned pro. I also met so many different people, fighters and coaches, from all over the world."
In addition to his aforementioned victory at the Los Angles Olympic Festival, which qualified him as a Team USA member to compete in the World Championships in Australia (finished 6th in the world), perhaps the highlight of his amateur career was defeating Torsten May, the 1992 Olympic gold medal winner from Germany, at a dual meet in Florida.
"My association with John goes back to 1990," added Al Valenti, USA Boxing Special Projects Consultant. "I was thrilled that a local kid was honing his skills in the boxing ring. John made an incredible impact on the National Amateur boxing scene in the early nineties; making it all the way to the Olympic Trials in Worcester (MA). Having been involved in the trials was extra special for me because John was such a great competitor and good kid. Boxing history will have a place for John Ruiz, not many survived 36 rounds with Evander. Being the first Latino World Heavyweight Champion was quite an accomplishment for "The Quietman".
Ruiz turned pro August 20, 1992, winning a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Parker. During his pro career, he defeated top contemporary names such as Holyfield, James Thunder, Jerry Ballard, Fernely Felix, Kirk Johnson, Fres Oquendo, Andrew Golota and Jameel McCline.
History was made March 3, 2013 in Las Vegas, when he became only the second fighter to drop Holyfield enroute to his WBA title-winning fight by way of a 12-round unanimous decision, earning him instant notoriety as the first Latino to hold the coveted world heavyweight title belt.
(John Ruiz met President George W. Bush in the White House after becoming the first Latino to become world heavyweight boxing champion - courtesy of the Boston Herald)
"I'm very proud to have accomplished that," he continued, "but my main goal was to provide for my family and I always maintained that goal. Most fighters don't succeed, but at the end of the day, that's what pushed me. I don't really think about being the only Latino to win the world heavyweight title, but, when I hear people talk about it today, I think, wow, I'm still the only Latino to do that."
Several years ago, Ruiz opened a gym (Quietman Sports Gym) in Medford, MA, not too far from where he grew up in Chelsea and trained in Somerville. It has been a registered club member by USA Boxing since 2012, but, more importantly, it's Ruiz' way of giving back to amateur boxing.
"I felt there was a need to help more kids and give them an opportunity to get out of the house and do something productive and fun," Ruiz commented. "They all have a chance to work on self-confidence and one could possibly become world champion. I feel obligated to help kids because I remember years ago when I was in the same position. They need guidance. If I didn't have all the support I did growing up, I wouldn't have turned out the way I did. I want to help kids understand how to accomplishment their goals."
"Winning the world title twice as a pro was awesome," Ruiz concluded, "but I definitely enjoyed the amateurs more than the pros, even though I would have loved to have represented the USA in the Olympics. USA Boxing opened up my mind to different things, taking me off the streets of Chelsea to made me feel......special."
John Ruiz has always preached, "Follow Your Dreams!" and he's still doing that today.
Graham and Torrez Jr. Win Gold; Coe Takes Silver
In Finals of 2019 Strandja Tournament
Team USA Leaves Sofia, Bulgaria with Eight Medals!
(February 19th) The 70th edition of the Strandja Tournament came to a close today with Team USA winning two gold and one silver to add to the five bronze medals they won in yesterday's semifinals in Sofia, Bulgaria.
2018 Elite Women's World Championships bronze medalist Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added another medal to her impressive international resume after defeating Sweden's Love Holgersson by split decision. This marks the middleweights fourth international medal since the beginning of 2018.
Super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.) closed out the tournament in spectacular fashion to take another international gold medal. Torrez took all five judges' cards over the host countries Petar Belberov to earn his second elite international gold medal. At the conclusion of the tournament, Torrez was named on the Boxers of the Tournament.
2018 breakout star Khalil Coe (Jersey City, N.J.) picked up a silver medal following a walkover win by Russia's Imam Khataev.
Troy Isley (Alexandria, Va.), Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio), Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio) and Yarisel Ramirez (Las Vegas, Nev.) earned bronze for Team USA in yesterday's semifinal bouts.
Team USA began the tournament with 25 boxers with Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.) leading the American delegation throughout the tournament, along with USA Boxing National Assistant Coach Kay Koroma (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Rasheen Ali (Cleveland, Ohio), Tim Back (Cincinnati, Ohio), Kevin Benford (Cincinnati, Ohio), Joe Guzman (Fountain, Calif.) and Christine Lopez (Rowlett, Texas) served on the coaching staff during the tournament. This year's tournament saw over 300 boxers from over 30 different countries step into the ring.
The delegation will return to the United States tomorrow.
You can look back at the United States performances throughout the tournament by clicking here.
75 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, dec. over Love Holgersson/SWE, 3-2
81 kg: Imam Khataev/RUS won by walkover over Khalil Coe, Jersey City, N.J./USA, WO
91+ kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, dec. over Petar Belberov/BUL, 5-0