Four Team USA boxers qualify to Paris 2024 Olympics
by Brian Taylor, USA Boxing
USA Boxing qualified four more boxers to next summer’s Paris 2024 Olympic Games during the semifinals of the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, as well as earned two bronze medals.
2021 World Champion Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.) was the first of the day to punch his ticket to Paris following an impressive performance over Gabriel Oliveira of Brazil.
This marked the fifth time the two boxers have met, with both being victorious twice, Harvey stepped up his game in the most important matchup between the two yet to take the unanimous decision victory after taking all five judges’ cards in the opening two rounds, which included a standing eight count in the last 30 seconds of the second round. However, the third round did see the Brazilian land some clean shots to take the round 3-2, but was too late to catchup to the American, solidifying Jahmal’s place in Paris next summer.
“This means a lot to me, I have been working hard for this,” stated Harvey following his victory. “This is extra motivation to win gold tomorrow at Pan American Games, then get a gold at the Olympics. I already got the gold at the World Championships, so time to complete that trifecta.”
Flyweight Jennifer Lozano (Laredo, Texas) became the first athlete from any sport, male or female, from Laredo to become an Olympian with her 5-0 decision victory over McKenzie Wright of Canada.
Lozano got out to a 4-1 lead after the opening round which saw her land clean jabs and combinations before extending her lead after another 4-1 round in the second. The American did not slow down in the final round, which saw multiple combinations to the body and powerful overhands in the last 40 seconds of the bout to seal the victory and clinch a place in Paris.
"We are going to Paris, baby. La Traviesa es de Laredo, Texas. We are ready for all of the world, we are going to the Olympics," an emotional Lozano said in a mix of English and Spanish at the conclusion of her bout. Being the first Olympian from Laredo means a lot to me."
Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio) continued Team USA’s winning ways with her own unanimous decision victory over Charlie Cavanagh, 2022 Elite World Championships silver medalist, of Canada.
McCane, who became the fifth straight boxer from Cleveland and first female boxer from the city to qualify to the Olympics, took control of the bout from the beginning, taking an early 4-1 first round lead, before proving her dominance over her opponent in the second round that saw the referee give Cavanagh a standing eight count in the final seconds of the round.
The Canadian took the final round, 3-2, however, was too late to overtake McCane, as the American advanced to the finals and to next summers Olympics.
“I will be in Paris, and I feel great,” a smiling McCane said following her victory. “I am honored to continue the Cleveland legacy and to be the first female from Cleveland to join the list of greats before me!”
Super heavyweight Joshua Edwards (Houston, Texas) closed out the day in an exciting bout against Cuba’s Fernando Arzola Lopez to clinch his place in the Olympics.
The young Cuban took an early 3-2 lead, which saw both boxers land clean shots to result in the close round. Edwards stepped up and began to figure out his opponent in the second round, which resulted in him winning it, 4-1.
With the bout on the line and a spot in Paris, the American showed his true heart and determination, landing clean combinations and shots to solidify the round, winning all five judges’ cards for the round, as well as the overall unanimous decision victory.
“I am overwhelmed, I have no words,” an emotional Edwards stated on his qualification to Paris. “I have been working so hard for this, so hard. I am ready to this again at the Olympics.”
All four boxers will compete in Friday’s gold medal bouts. Full schedule and livestream information can be found here.
Team USA also saw two boxers, Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) and Roscoe Hill (Spring, Texas), claim bronze medals at the Games. Gonzalez will also join her four teammates in Paris next summer following her top four placement in Santiago.
Day 8 Results
50 kg: Jennifer Lozano, Laredo, Texas/USA, dec. over McKenzie Wright/CAN, 5-0
51 kg: Yunior Reyes/DOM dec. over Roscoe Hill, Spring, Texas/USA, 4-1 – bronze medal
57 kg: Jahmal Harvey, Oxon Hill, Md./USA, dec. over Gabriel Oliveira/BRA, 5-0
60 kg: Beatriz Ferreira/BRA dec. over Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA, 4-1 – bronze medal
66 kg: Morelle McCane, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, dec. over Charlie Cavanagh/CAN, 5-0
92+kg: Joshua Edwards, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. over Fernando Arzola Lopez/CUB, 5-0
2023 Santiago Pan American Games Semifinals