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Four Team USA Boxers Advance to Finals of 2021 World Championships

by Brian Taylor, USA Boxing

Team USA’s impressive 2021 Elite Men’s World Championships will continue into the finals, as four boxers won their semifinal bouts to advance to their championship bout.

Flyweight Roscoe Hill (Spring, Texas) kicked off the evening session for Team USA in dominating fashion over his opponent, Akhtem Zakirov, of the Russian Boxing Federation. Hill used his height to his full advantage over Zakirov to take all five judges’ cards every round. Hill will face the 2020 Olympic bronze medalist and 2019 World Championships bronze medalist Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The American will look to become the first American male featherweight World Champion since Rau’shee Warren accomplished the feat in 2007. Hill is also the first World Championships flyweight male medalist since 2011, when Warren won silver.

Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.) picked up his fourth win of these World Championships to secure his spot in the featherweight finals. Harvey, who was facing 2020 Olympian Samuel Kisohurry of France, began the bout extremely strong, taking all five judges’ cards at the end of the round. The American did not slow down in the second, taking all five cards again to have a comfortable lead heading into the final round.

Even with a 3-2 final round in favor of Kisohurry, the 18-year-old American claimed the unanimous decision to set up a final against 2020 Olympian Serik Temirzhanov of Kazakhstan on Saturday.

Rahim Gonzales (Las Vegas, Nev.) closed out the evening session with what may end up being the bout of the whole World Championships. Gonzales was faced with the tough task of taking to the ring with Serbia’s own Vladimir Mironchikov.

After seeing the first round go in favor of Mironchikov, 4-1, Gonzales came back strong in the second round, taking the round 3-2. With the bout on the line, the American light heavyweight did not back down and left it all in the ring to grab all five judges’ cards and the final decision, 3-2. Gonzales, who has earned just the fourth light heavyweight World Championship medal since 1974 and first medalists since Michael Simms gold in 1999, will step into the ring on Saturday with Aliaksei Alfiorau of Belarus.                                                                                             

Welterweight Omari Jones (Orlando, Fla.) was scheduled to go head-to-head against Georgia’s Lasha Guruli in the first session of the day, however, Guruli pulled out of the competition due to injury, advancing Jones to the finals against 2020 Olympian Sewonrets Okazawa of Japan, tomorrow.

Jones is now guaranteed either a silver or gold medal in his World Championships debut and becomes the first American male to win a welterweight World Championships medal since Demetrius Andrade won gold in 2007.

Jones will compete in tomorrow’s first day of finals, while Harvey, Hill and Gonzales will take to the ring on Saturday. Click here to follow all the action.

Semifinal Results

51 kg:
Roscoe Hill, Spring, Texas/USA, dec. over Akhtem Zakirov/RBF, 5-0

57 kg:
Jahmal Harvey, Oxon Hill, Md./USA, dec. over Samuel Kistohurry/FRA, 5-0 

67 kg:
Omari Jones, Orlando, Fla./USA, won by walkover over Lasha Guruli/GEO, WO

80 kg:
Rahim Gonzales, Las Vegas, Nev./USA, dec. over Vladimir Mironchikov/SRB, 3-2