Fantastic junior and youth finals were held at the US Women’s Championships as Los Angeles 2028 approaching
by Tibor Kincses, World Boxing
Fantastic championship and title contests were featured at the USA Women’s Championships in the city of Toledo, Ohio on Day 3. The junior and youth title bouts proved that the female boxing of the United States is world class and the young talent can expect strong results at the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
The afternoon session was a busy challenge for all of the officials, referees and judges, but all of the contests concluded in the highest level of boxing.
Maleah Rodriguez won the first junior title in Toledo
Rhode Island’ Ciana Nonhphala met in the first championship bout of the day, Washington’s Maleah Rodriguez at the junior female pinweight (46kg). Nonphala was smaller than her rival but she worked from longer distance and she had smart boxing in the first round. Rodriguez used her distances better in the second and in the middle of the round, she had a tough shot, which guaranteed her comeback on the judges’ scorecards. Rodriguez ruled the middle of the ring, she stole the distance in the third round and she won the US National Championships.
Nissi Teulilo earned a junior title for Hawaii
Nissi Teulilo travelled from Waianae, Hawaii to the US Women’s National Championships and she had the chance to take the junior light flyweight (48kg) gold medal against a Canadian, Mehreen Khakh. Teulilo had brave attacks against the Canadian southpaw and she used several double combinations in the first round. The Hawaiian performed more strongly in the second round and her attacking style of boxing paid off on the scorecards. Khakh was not able to switch to a higher tempo and the 15-year-old Teulilo managed to take her first national title.
Alia Ortiz defeated a more experienced junior opponent
Staten Island’s Laila Zakirova had the routine against Pasadena’s Alia Ortiz in the next junior final as she competed in the US national events already in 2019. Zakirova attacked more in the first round than Ortiz, but she received punches from longer distances therefore the opener was not decisive between them. Both boxers increased their rhythm in the beginning of the second round making the championship bout a spectacular one. Zakirova overcame her rival in the attacks during the first exchanges of the third round but Ortiz was punctual in the final minute to beat her more experienced rival.
Alexis Tangaro made Hawaii proud
Alexis Tangaro trains in Waianae, Hawaii such as her teammate, Nissi Teulilo who earned a junior title in Toledo. Tangaro’s final opponent was Nataly Zempoaltecatl from Fallsburg, New York state and she used her best combinations to win the first round. Their junior bantamweight (54kg) championship bout was another highlight in the third day of boxing in Toledo. Zempoaltecatl was born in a boxing family, all of her brothers and sisters are boxers and she had several supporters but Tangaro’s excellent job from her best fighting range decided their title bout.
Billingsley and Shapiro celebrated their titles
Pennsylvania’s Stephanie Pineda Arias was not in good enough shape against Ohio’s Patience Billingsley in the first round of their junior championship bout but she tried to invest more effort in the second. Pineda made more risks in that period and Billingsley used that to catch her with heavy shots in the corner. Following the standing count, the referee stopped their final bout and confirmed Billingsley’s RSC victory. Pennsylvania’s next finalist, Brenna Shapiro performed much better, she defeated Colorado’s Taylor Whitehall-Jacoby at the lightweight (60kg). The Pittsburgh-based Shapiro had strong punches in all of the three rounds and she deserved to win this championship bout.
Starr Penrose won the first youth final
Colorado Springs’ Starr Penrose was highly confident in the first youth championship bout against Alabama’s Mariah Jones at the light flyweight (50kg). Penrose’s hands were like machine-guns, she landed dozens of jabs in the opener, determining the image of the bout. She smashed Jones in the end of the first round and all of the judges favoured her after three minutes of fight. The referee counted Jones in the second round when the taller Penrose’s dominance was clear in strength and techniques. Penrose proved that she is a fantastic talent in our sport and earned a gold medal in the Nationals.
Zapata and De La Garza are the next gold medallists
New York’s Jayshannet Zapata walked over to the next youth title, following her opponent from Canada, Madeline Handfield was unable to box today. Dallas’ Luisa De La Garza and Canada’s Talia Birch faced in the next youth contest at the bantamweight (54kg). Following the tactical opener, De La Garza landed single shots in the second round of their meeting which was effective in this championship bout. The 17-year-old girls from Texas caught her opponent with heavy body shots in the third round therefore De La Garza took the title of the weight category.
Guadelupe Garcia succeeded with impressive second and third rounds
Fort Worth’s Adriana Orduna was energetic and brilliant in the first round of the next championship bout and she took the lead in all of the five judges’ scorecards against Illinois’ Guadelupe Garcia at the featherweight (57kg). Garcia turned up the heat in the second round and she was able to adopt the rhythm of the bout coming back with heavy shots. The Waukegan-based Garcia produced her best round in time, in the third and she won this excellent final turning back the result.
Castillo and Shen had emotional successes
Los Angeles’s new hope in the novice category, Karen Castillo controlled the first round against Valdez Chicago’s Yueyao Wang and she was able to switch to a higher tempo in the second. Castillo had an emotional performance in the second and third rounds to decide the bout before the final gong. New York’s Jennifer Shen was highly confident against Georgia’s Zoey Baul in the first round of their novice contest in the same weight class and she did not let her opponent move away from her best distance. Shen impressed the experts, she was much better in comparison to her appearance and won their final with clear dominance.
Follow all of the action from Toledo by clicking here.