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Team USA wraps up with five golds at 2022 International Invitational

by Brian Taylor, USA Boxing

Bantamweight Kayla Gomez (El Paso, Texas) got Team USA off to a winning start by taking the unanimous decision victory over Yan Cai of China to take the gold medal. Gomez, who was down 3-2 after the first round, came back in the second round to grab four of the five judges’ card before taking all five in the final round. 

2022 World Champion Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) continued her winning ways with her own unanimous decision victory. Ellis was up 4-1 following the first round, but then pulled away with a dominate performance to take all the judges’ cards in the final two rounds to secure gold.

The first of two United States versus United States finals saw light welterweight duos Emilio Garcia (Laredo, Texas) and Jonathan Mansour (San Diego, Calif.) duke it out for the gold medal. Garcia took the lead early with a 5-0 first round score; however, Mansour came back stronger in the second to near the gap with a 3-2 score. With the final round the determining factor, Garcia stepped up and claimed the round and the gold medal, his first elite international gold medal. Mansour will leave Pueblo with the silver medal, his first elite international medal.

Morelle McCane (Cleveland, Ohio) and Stephanie Simon (Miami, Fla.) battled it out for the welterweight title. McCane jumped out to a lead after a 4-1 first round and extended her lead after a strong second round that resulted in a 5-0 round. McCane closed out the bout with another 4-1 round, resulting in a unanimous decision and gold medal. Simon, who was making her international debut, settled for the silver. 

2021 Elite World Championship silver medalist Omari Jones (Orlando, Fla.) closed out the day for Team USA by picking up the teams fifth gold medal of the tournament. Jones took a commanding lead after round one and continued to dominate in the second round. The final round saw Magomed Schachidov of Germany come back, however, it was too late, and Jones secured the gold medal.

The final American to compete today, Julius Ballo (San Diego, Calif.), put up a strong performance against Azerbaijan’s Umid Rustamov, however, fell short in a 3-2 final decision, resulting in the silver medal, his first international elite medal. 

Team USA leaves Pueblo with five golds, three silvers and ten bronze medals. 

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Championship Bouts

54 kg: Kayla Gomez, El Paso, Texas/USA, dec. over Yan Cai/CHN, 5-0

57 kg: Umid Rustamov/AZE dec. over Julius Ballo, San Diego, Calif./USA, 3-2

60 kg: Rashida Ellis, Lynn, Mass./USA, dec. over Chengyu Yang/CHN, 5-0

63.5 kg: Emilio Garcia, Laredo, Texas/USA, dec. over Jonathan Mansour, San Diego, Calif./USA, 5-0

66 kg: Morelle McCane, Cleveland, Ohio/USA, dec. over Stephanie Simon, Miami, Fla./USA, 5-0

71 kg: Omari Jones, Orlando, Fla./USA, dec. over Magomed Schachidov/GER, 5-0