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Team USA impresses in opening day of 2022 USA Boxing International Invitational

by Brian Taylor, USA Boxing

Team USA kicked off the opening day at the 2022 USA Boxing International Invitational in dominating fashion, taking victories in six of their seven bouts, in Pueblo, Colo. 

Light welterweight
Emilio Garcia (Laredo, Texas) got Team USA off to a strong start with his unanimous decision victory over Puerto Rico’s Dennis Caban. Garcia took all three rounds on three of the five judges’ cards, with the Puerto Rican grabbing one round from two judges. Garcia will now face China’s Rongyao Bai during Thursday’s semifinal bout. 

Team USA duo
Jonathan Mansour (San Diego, Calif.) and Vershaun Lee (Rock Island, Ill.) picked up their own victories against Mingke Fu of China and Malik Hasanov of Azerbaijan, respectively, to set up a semifinal matchup between the two Americans on Thursday. Mansour won his fight by a 4-1 decision, while Lee picked up the unanimous decision. 

Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio) closed out the first session today in strong fashion against two-time European Champion Stefanie Von Berge of Germany. McCane, who was down after the first round, came back strong to take the final two rounds, including giving her opponent a standing eight count. The American welterweight will return to the ring on Thursday against 2019 World Championship silver medalist Yang Liu of China. 

Julius Ballo (San Diego, Calif.) met a familiar opponent in his first elite international bout, Keith Colon of Puerto Rico. Ballo, who is the 2021 Junior Pan American Games Champion, made an impressive elite international debut to take all five judges’ cards to advance to one of the most anticipated bouts of this tournament against 2021 Elite Men’s World Champion and American teammate, Jahmal Harvey (Oxon Hill, Md.), on Wednesday. 

Ballo’s fellow 2021 Junior Pan American Games gold medal teammate,
Quincey Williams (Washington, D.C.), made his own elite international debut against up-and-coming German boxer Deniel Krotter, in what came to be the most exciting bout of the first day. Williams was down on all five judges’ cards after the opening round, however, came back strong to land strong combinations and power shots in the second and third rounds to clinch the victory and advance to Thursday’s semifinal bout against Magomed Schachidov of Germany, the bronze medalist at the recent European Championships. 

Amelia Moore (Colorado Springs, Colo.) closed out the evening with a tough bout against China’s Zichun Xu, however, fell short in a 3-2 decision.

Team USA will be back in action tomorrow with six more boxers. Arjan Iseni (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Donte Layne (Elmont, N.Y.) will take to the first session, while Jazzelle Bobadilla (Ewa Beach, Hawaii), Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.), Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) and Jennifer Lozano (Laredo, Texas) will box in the evening session.

All the action can be followed

Day 1 Results

57 kg: Julius Ballo, San Diego, Calif./USA, dec. over Keith Colon/PUR, 5-0

57 kg: Zichun Xu/CHN dec. over Amelia Moore, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, 3-2

60 kg: Jonathan Mansour, San Diego, Calif./USA, dec. over Mingke Fu/CHN, 4-1

60 kg: Vershaun Lee, Rock Island, Ill./USA, dec. over Malik Hasanov/AZE, 5-0

63.5 kg: Emilio Garcia, Laredo, Texas/USA, dec. over Dennis Caban/PUR, 5-0

66 kg: Morelle McCane, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, dec. Stefanie Von Berge/GER, 5-0 

71 kg: Quincey Williams, Washington, D.C./USA, dec. over Deniel Krotter/GER, 5-0

Day 2 Bouts

50 kg: Jazzelle Bobadilla, Ewa Beach, Hawaii/USA, vs. Meiyi Hu/CHN

50 kg: Jennifer Lozano, Laredo, Texas/USA, vs. Aira Cordero Villegas/PHI

60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, vs. Wenlu Yang/CHN

60 kg: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA, vs. Chengyu Yang/CHN

80 kg: Arjan Iseni, Staten Island, N.Y./USA, vs. Kevin Boakye Schumann/GER 

80 kg: Donte Layne, Elmont, N.Y./USA, vs. Rehemandu Halimulati/CHN