Finals set for 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing
by Luke Santangelo, USA Boxing
The 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing finals are set. With 160 boxers entering the Olympic Trials, we are now down to the final 26. These men and women have put their blood, sweat and tears into every punch thrown in every round. Only boxers and coaches know how hard they have trained for these moments. The hard work has shown and paid off, as they are one shining moment away from winning the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Boxing.
So, let's take a step back and see how we got to the final 26 boxers.
First, we will look at the female victors from Friday afternoon.
Ibarra continues her dominant performance in 60 kg
Neida Ibarra (Tulsa, Okla.) breezed through her two opponents and is one win away from winning the Olympic Trials. With another unanimous decision, Ibarra looks to keep the momentum on her side and win the 60 kg weight class.
“Keep it going, and I am not going to stop here. I want to make it and be a champion as I have worked hard for it. I am ready.” A determined Ibarra stated that she was ready for her fight tomorrow.
On the other side of the bracket is Lisa Greer (Colorado Springs, Colo.) versus Casey Dial (Clarksville, Tenn.). Greer, a WCAP boxer and 2023 USA Boxing Women’s Championships Champion, took the first round 5-0 and didn’t look back. Greer took all five judges' votes and won 5-0 unanimously.
The top-rank seed, Neida Ibarra, will face the underdog in Lisa Greer. The two will battle it out center stage tomorrow at noon. The winner of tomorrow's finals bout will become the possible alternate for Team USA’s Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.).
Simon and Suttles are set for a rematch in the Olympic Trials 66 kg Finals.
The one and two seed in Stephanie Simon (Dania Beach, Fla.) and Stacia Suttles (Philadelphia, Pa.) continue their Olympic Trials domination and advance to the finals. Simon defeated Algeria Lee Johnson (Rochester, N.Y.), and Suttles defeated Carson Crawford (Culver City, Calif.). The two finalist boxers won on unanimous decisions, setting up an exciting rematch in this year's 66 kg Olympic Trials finals.
Knowing they have faced each other before under bright lights, the two boxers make for an exciting championship bout. Suttles and Simon met at last year’s National Championships finals, Suttles’s first tournament since the Olympic Trials in December 2019, where Simon won the split decision.
The rematch is officially set, and Suttles is hoping for a different outcome this time.
“Stay calm and do what I do best. Stay in my flow and keep doing what I have done my past two fights.” Suttles stated after her win Friday afternoon. “Not to do more not to do less. Just do exactly what I know I can do and hopefully bring out the best of me.”
The two boxers will fight their rematch tomorrow afternoon. The winner of this championship rematch will come into Team USA's selection camp in January as the potential alternate to McCane.
Halvorsen age isn’t an issue as she continues to impress in 75 kg
Talia Halvorsen (Harwood Heights, Ill.) edged out her opponent, Trinity Burke (Shippenville, Pa.) in a tight victory. Halvorsen was seen as a potential spoiler entering the Olympic Trials and she has accepted that role. Burke took a slight edge with a 3-2 scorecard over Halvorsen, but the Illinois native came back strong and relentless, taking rounds two and three, and secured a 4-1 split decision victory.
Halvorsen is the youngest female boxer in all Olympic Trials, but she says that is not an issue.
“At the end of the day age doesn’t mean a thing to me. I am here to fight, and that is exactly what I am doing,” stated Halvorsen. “I can fight anyone, and all that matters is raising my hand at the end.”
Halvorsen has now upset the two and three seeds and looks to upset her next opponent, as the fourth seed, Christine Forkins (Nashville, Tenn.), dominated in her fight today, winning unanimously. Forkins started strong and never looked back as she took the first round 5-0 with three 10-8 scorecards.
The two super heavyweights will box it out tomorrow afternoon to earn a spot in the Team USA selected camp in January and go head-to-head with current Team USA High Performance member Naomi Graham (Fayetteville, N.C.).
We transition over to the male brackets now. We will look at a couple of Cinderella stories, and a knockout and preview a ranked finals matchup for today's Olympic Trials finals.
Fuentes Cinderella Story Continues as he takes down his second ranked opponent
Jordan Fuentes (Fresno, Calif.) went up against the third seed boxer Francis Stewart (Cleveland, Ohio). Fuentes went down 3-2 after round one but listened to his coach's adjustments and dominated the rest of the bout. Taking 5-0 in the final two rounds led to a unanimous decision for the Fresno native.
“I knocked the two and three seed out back to back, and today I fought a 25-year-old man,” Fuentes noted after his second tournament upset. “I am the youngest in the bracket, so my skills speak for themselves.”
Fuentes, however, will have a formidable opponent in Steven Navarro (Los Angeles, Calif.), who has lived up to his hype before the Olympic Trials. Navarro won 4-1 in his first fight and won on a unanimous decision today over Jamir Germany (Norfolk, Va.). The up-and-rising star hopes to end Fuentes's Cinderella story and lean on his experience to help him move on to the Team USA selection camp in January.
The winner of this exciting matchup in 57 kg will become Team USA’s, Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.) alternate.
Crocklem and Lee punch their ticket to the Olympic Trials Finals
Dedrick Crocklem (Tacoma, Wash.) and Vershaun Lee (Davenport, Iowa) picked up victories yesterday to set up today's final. Crocklem and Lee dominated today as both secured a unanimous decision victory. Crocklem had five 10-8 sores on the judge's scorecard, with three coming in the second round and the other two in the final round.
In the semifinals, Lee took on the young boxer in Troy Nash (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and ended the 18-year-old Trials run.
“This is a great accomplishment, and I am back, and I am better and I came here for one reason and one reason only and that is to take the number one spot,” Crocklem said after advancing to the finals. “It will take grit, fight, and whatever I must do. If we are going to box out, I will box out,” Crocklem previewing the finals.
Lee and Crocklem are set up for a rematch as the two boxers are familiar with each other and fought at the 2023 USA Boxing National Junior Olympics & Summer Festival. Crocklem came out on top via a split decision and looked for a similar result.
Flowers continues his Trials run after a nail biter of a fight
Carlos Flowers (Dover, Del.) barely survives the semifinals, as he edged out Joseph Almajdi (Fort Worth, Texas). The two boxers went at it for three straight rounds. Flowers jumped right after the bell and applied pressure on Almajdi as he took round one 4-1. However, Almajdi made it a fight as he took round two 3-2. Entering the third round, Almajdi needed to win over a couple of judges but fell short doing so as he lost in a 3-2 split decision.
Flowers, showing emotion after his win, knows this isn’t the destination he came for and wants the belt for himself.
“I am ready. The work is already done. This is just the last step; we have one more to go.” Flowers stated emotionally as he was ready for his final fight tomorrow. “The mentality is nothing to lose but everything to gain. What do I have to lose? I am here. I am ready to go. I came this far and am just trying to go further.”
Keon Davis (Houston, Texas) and Dante Kirkman (Palo Alto, Calif.) were on the other side of the bracket. Davis controlled the whole fight and even received 10-8 scorecards in round one after he gave Kirkman an 8-count.
Davis would win unanimously and advance to play Flowers in the 71 kg Olympic Trials finals.
The winner will advance to the January selection camp, where they will go head-to-head against Omari Jones to determine who will represent Team USA at the World Qualifiers for next summer’s Games.
One and two collide in the finals and are set for a battle
Obed Bartee-El (Colorado Springs, Colo.) wins unanimously with a 10-8 second-round scorecard due to him giving Steven Colome (North Port, Fla.) an 8-count. Bartee-El advanced to the semifinals after his loss to Amir Anderson was overturned and was ruled a RSC-I victory.
Bartee-El had his hands full, however, as he will face Nathan Lugo (Marietta, Ga.) after Lugo won in a heated and close battle over Ethan Smith (Las Vegas, Nev.). Lugo, one of the more powerful boxers in the Olympic Trials, came out aggressivelyinging and landing his punches round one and tooktaking4-1. However, Smith made things interesting and kept it close, winning round two, 3-2, and round three, 4-1. However, his late surge was just short, and he fell 3-2 to Lugo.
Bartee-El and Lugo will box it out tomorrow afternoon, with the winner advancing to the January Team USA Selection Camp to go against Robby Gonzales (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Brown and Georges are set for a finals brawl
Malachi Georges (Teaneck N.J.) with an impressive victory today over Derae Crane (Houston, Texas). Georges receiving multiple 10-8 scorecards in the second round and delivered an 8-count to the three-time Trial boxer in Crane. Georges winning on a unanimous decision advanced to fight tomorrow.
Danel brown (Philadelphia, Pa.) with a unanimous decision victory over Tyler Yavalar (Sarasota, Fla.). Brown and Georges will go head-to-head tomorrow afternoon. The victor will move on to Team USA Camp in January and will compete against Jamar Talley.
The super heavyweight semifinals is highlighted by a KO
Steven Williams (Chester, Pa.) lays the hammer as he knocksdown Darnell Thompson (McKinney, Texas.). Williams with the punch of the Olympic Trials caught Thompson right over the top. The knockout was in the first round.
Williams will face number one seed Ali Feliz (Bethel, Conn.) after Feliz won on a unanimous decision against Gilbert Kabamba (Boston, Mass.).
The two super heavyweights will faceoff tomorrow as the winner looks to be the alternate for Joshua Edwards.