Jajaira Gonzalez2023 Pan American GamesEmilio GarciaOmari JonesYoseline PerezBoxing News

Team USA picks up three wins on day four of 2023 Santiago Pan American Games

by Luke Santangelo, USA Boxing

USA Boxing came away with three victories during the fourth day of boxing at the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, to go 3-1 for the day.

Omari Jones (Orlando, Fla.) came out aggressive against the Puerto Rican, Angel Gabriel Llanos Perez. Jones connected on multiple combinations and pushed the pace to win the first two rounds by 4-1, before sealing the bout by taking all five judges’ cards in the final round, which included a 10-8 score from one judge. Jones went on to win the bout 4-0 due to a tie from one of the judges.

Jones will face a familiar opponent, Marco Alonso Verde Alvarez out of Mexico, for his quarterfinal bout. These two boxers went head-to-head in the 2022 AMBC Continental Championships semifinals, where Verde edged out the victory over Jones in a split decision. The highly anticipated rematch will take place Oct. 25, where the winner of the bout will be guaranteed a medal.

Middleweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) was the next boxer to represent the stars and stripes, going against the Canadian, Garinder Takhar. Gonzalez came out firing and connecting multiple blows in the first minute, which resulted in the referee giving Takhar an eight count. Gonzalez, not letting up at all and staying aggressive, got her second eight count shortly after, resulting in the referee to wave the bout, resulting in an RSC victory in the first round.

Gonzalez looks to punch her ticket to the Paris Olympics 2024 as she faces Camila Paola Pineiro Muino during Wednesday’s quarterfinals, where the winner will advance to the semifinals to secure a medal, as well as officially qualify for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.

Emilio Garcia (Laredo, Texas) was the last American boxer to step into the ring. Garcia, trying to end the day on a high note for Team USA, came out of the red corner strong and aggressive. Going against Jesus Nazaret Cova Romero of Venzuela, took round one, 4-1, and then dominated round two and took the bout into his own hands, giving Romero an eight count with 48 seconds left in the round, to take the round unanimously, including two 10-8 scores.   Garcia went on to win on a unanimous decision and move onto the next round.

Garcia will face Alexy Miguel De La Cruz Baez from the Dominican Republic on Oct. 25, with the winner advancing  to the semifinals and be guaranteed a medal.

Team USA featherweight, Yoseline Perez (Houston, Texas), got the day started for the Americans. Perez going against Airas Cataneda Yeni Marcela out of Columbia, got off to a strong start and took round one, 4-1. However, the experience from Marcela outweighed the Youth Champion and Marcela won round two and three, 4-1, and the overall bout, 4-1.

Featherweight duo Alyssa Mendoza (Caldwell, Idaho) and Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.) will take to the ring on day five for Team USA. Mendoza takes on Marie-Bathoul Al-Ahmadieh of Canada in the day’s morning session, while Harvey will face 2020 Olympian Keevin Allicock of Guyana during the second session.

This year’s Pan American Games is serving as the first Paris Olympic Games 2024 qualifier for boxers from the Americas.  Boxers must finish top two to punch their ticket to Paris, while boxers in the female 57 kg and 60 kg must finish top four to earn their spot. These Games are the 19th edition of the Pan American Games, bringing boxers from 27 different countries to Chile.

Click here to follow Team USA’s time in Santiago, including athlete stories, photo galleries, livestream and results.

Day 4 Results

54 kg: Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda/COL dec. over Yoseline Perez, Houston, Texas/USA, 4-1

60 kg: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA, wins by RSC over Garinder Takhar/CAN, RSC-1

63.5 kg: Emilio Garcia, Laredo, Texas/USA, dec. over Jesus Nazaret Cova Romero/VEN, 5-0

71 kg: Omari Jones, Orlando, Fla./USA, dec. over Angel Llanos Perez/PUR, 4-0

Day 5 Schedule

10:00 a.m. ET session

57 kg: Alyssa Mendoza, Caldwell, Idaho/USA, vs. Marie-Bathoul Al-Ahmadieh/CAN

4:00 p.m. ET session

57 kg: Jahmal Harvey, Oxon Hill, Md./USA, vs. winner of PAN vs. GUY