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USA Boxing Announces 2021 Under Armour Boxers of the Year

by USA Boxing

USA Boxing and Under Armour announced today the boxers honored as the 2021 Boxers of the Year for their accomplishments and performances throughout the year. 

This year’s winners were awarded to boxers that competed at the 2020 Olympic Games, as well as elite and youth boxers. The boxers honored are below.

Male Olympian of the Year – Richard Torrez Jr.

Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.) closed out his impressive amateur career this past summer at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a silver medal, the first medal for an American super heavyweight since 1988 and third ever. 

During his Tokyo run, Torrez Jr., who won the Elite Male Boxer of the Year honor in 2018, defeated Chouaib Bouloudinats (5-0), Dainier Christian Pero Justiz (4-1) and Kamshybek Kunkabayev (RSC) before his final matchup bout with Bakhodir Jalolov. 

Female Olympian of the Year – Oshae Jones

2020 Olympic bronze medalist Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) adds Female Olympian of the Year to the Female Youth Boxer of the Year honor she received in 2016. 

Jones picked up wins over Brianda Sandoval (3-2) and Maria Moronta (4-0) to make history as the first ever female American welterweight to win an Olympic medal. 

Co-Elite Male Boxers of the Year – Rahim Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey

Rahim Gonzales (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.) finished their 2021 atop the podium at the 2021 Elite Men’s World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia to take Co-Elite Male Boxers of the Year honor. 

Gonzales, who was a member of the 2020 Olympic Qualification team that missed his opportunity to qualify to Tokyo due to COVID-19, used that to fuel the fire he needed to take the World Championship gold medal. He defeated Sachin Kumar (4-1), Odiljon Aslonov (3-2) and Omurbek Bekzhigit (5-0) to reach the medal rounds. His semifinal bout came against Serbia’s own Vladimir Mironchikov, which he came out victorious by a 3-2 decision to advance to the finals against Aliaksei Alfiorau. Gonzales once again secured the 3-2 victory to take the title. 

Harvey started his 2021 by taking his first elite national title in one of the deepest brackets at the 2020 USA Boxing National Championships. Harvey continued his winning ways in Serbia in his first major elite international event at just 18. Harvey picked up impressive victories at the World Championships over Vasile Usturoi (4-1), 2019 World Champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (3-2), Luiz Chalot (5-0), Rujakran Juntrong (5-0), as well as 2020 Olympians Samuel Kistohurry (5-0) and Serik Temirzhanov (5-0). This is Harvey’s second Boxer of the Year honor, as he also won the Youth Boxer of the Year in 2019. 

Elite Female Boxer of the Year – Rashida Ellis

Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) is now a two-time Elite Female Boxer of the Year after taking the honor in 2019 as well. 

Ellis began her year with a gold medal at the 2021 Boxam Tournament in Spain before representing Team USA at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she finished tied for ninth. 

Following Tokyo, the lightweight boxer resumed training and was selected to compete at the 2021 Elite Women’s World Championships to close out the year prior to their postponement until next year. With the postponement, Ellis boxed at the 2021 USA Boxing Elite National Championships, where she came away with three unanimous decision victories over Rosaria Nowhitney, Daisy Bamberger and Faith Mendez to take the national title.

Youth Male Boxer of the Year – Julius Ballo

Julius Ballo (San Diego, Calif.) put on one of the most impressive and dominate performances throughout the year to be awarded the Youth Male Boxer of the Year.

Ballo went 9-0 at the 2020 and 2021 USA Boxing National Championships, with all victorious coming by way of unanimous decision or RSC. Ballo went 5-0 earlier this year to win the youth national championships before closing out the year with four victorious to take his first elite national title. 

On the international stage, Ballo won two gold medals. He won his first at the Junior Pan American Games Qualifier and then made history as the first ever gold medalists in his division at the Junior Pan American Games this past November in Cali, Colombia. 

Youth Female Boxer of the Year – Kayla Gomez 

Kayla Gomez (El Paso, Texas) adds a Youth Female Boxer of the Year to her resume that already included the 2018 Junior Female Boxer of the Year after winning two international gold medals, a national title and silver medal at her first elite national championships. 

Gomez began the year with three victories at the 2020 USA Boxing National Championships to take the youth flyweight title and earn her place on Team USA’s Youth High Performance team. Gomez continued her winning ways at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games Qualifier and Junior Pan American Games, winning gold at both events with dominating performances to put her name down in the history books. 

The flyweight made the jump to the elite division at the 2021 National Championships, where she went 1-1, to take the silver medal to close out her successful year.