Jajaira Gonzalez becomes first American to punch ticket to Paris 2024 Olympic Games
by Luke Santangelo, USA Boxing
An exciting day for Team USA as the first American boxer officially punched their ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics. Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) booked her ticket to Parisin the 60 kg weight division following her semifinal victory on day seven of the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games.
Gonzalez got the day started in dominating fashion on Wednesday morning, as she controlled the pace and aggression during her bout, including landing multiple combinations on. Camila Piñeiro Muiño of Uruguay, giving the judges no option but to award her the unanimous decision win.
Gonzalez won every round, 5-0, securing her ticket to 2024 Paris Olympic Games, as well as advancing to semifinals in Santiago, which guarantees herself a medal, Team USA’s sixth of these Games. The American middleweight will face 2020 Olympic silver medalist Beatriz Ferreira for the chance to advance to the championship bout. Gonzalez will be the fourth bout during the day’s first session, which begins at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Emilio Garcia (Laredo, Texas) and Omari Jones (Orlando, Fla.) also fought today for Team USA. Jones went against Mexico’s Marco Alonso Verde Alvarez. After winning the first round 4-1, Jones fell 5-0 on the next two rounds to see his tournament come to an end.
Garcia was in a very scrappy fight against Alexy Miguel De La Crus Baez from the Dominican Republic. Garcia went down 5-0 in the first two rounds and had a tall task at hand. However, due to a point being deducted to Baez, Garcia was given hope. However, the fight ended early due to open cuts and bleeding following a head clash between the two opponents. Garcia won the third round 3-2 but wasn’t enough as he lost 2-0.
Team USA has another full slate Thursday as the semifinals officially start for all weight divisions.
Joining Gonzalez in the day’s first session will be Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.), where he will face Brazil’s Luiz Oliveira, a familiar opponent he has fought four times in his career, with both boxers taking two victories against one another.
The evening session, which starts at 4:00 p.m. ET, will feature two USA versus Canada bouts, with Jennifer Lozano (Laredo, Texas) taking on McKenzie Wright, and Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio) going to head-to-head against 2022 Elite World Championships silver medalist Charlie Cavanagh for the second time this year. McCane defeated Cavanagh by split decision in the semifinals of the GeeBee International Tournament.
The session will also feature 2021 World Championships silver medalist Roscoe Hill (Spring, Texas) boxing Yunior Alcantara Reyes of the Dominican Republic, as well as 2022 AMBC Elite Continental Championships bronze medalist Joshua Edwards (Houston, Texas) closing out the day with Fernando Lopez of Cuba.
All five boxers, outside of Gonzalez, will look to take victories to lock up their place at next summer’s Olympic Games.
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Day 7 Results
60 kg: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA, dec. over Camilo Pineiro Muino/URU, 5-0
63.5 kg: Alexy Baez/DOM dec. over Emilio Garcia, Laredo, Texas/USA, 2-0
71 kg: Marco Alvarez/MEX dec. over Omari Jones, Orlando, Fla./USA, 5-0