USA Tops Puerto Rico 9-2 in Philly
By Ken Hissner at ringside (April 29, 2008) Doghouse Boxing  
Saturday night at The Liacouras Center (Temple University), four members of the USA Olympic team were winners in a 9-2 team victory over Puerto Rico. The crowd, though not large, was very vocal in cheering their on their native fighters.

Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio, the first U.S. Olympian to return for a second Olympics since 1992 was the fighter of the night as he registered a RSC-4 over a tough Carlos Ortiz, Guayanilla, in the 112 lb. division. Warren is
a two-time national champion who was the youngest member of the 2004 Olympic team in any sport.

The USA team won the first match when Luis Yanez, Duncansville, Texas, scored a 23-0, RSC-3 at 1:06 over Bryan Aquino, of San German, in a 106 lb. battle of southpaws. Yanez is a member of the Olympic team and a gold medalist in the 2007 Pan American games; along with being a 2007 U.S. National champion and Golden Gloves champion.

Jonathan Gonzalez, Caguas, evened the score at 1-1 for Team Puerto Rico with a win over Bruno Escalante, Bowling Green, Florida in the 112 lb. division. The score ended up 16-16 with a 37-37 total punch count. Two of the three judges, USA, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic, ruled in favor of Gonzalez for the win. Gonzalez was a Junior Olympic gold medal winner in 2007. Escalante, who is from Hawaii, is a 2008 U.S. Future Stars National Champion.

David Clark, San Diego, California, posted a close 29-24 win over Hector Marrero, Rio Piedras, in the 119 lb. division. Clark, a former Northern Michigan University boxer, started out very strong in the first two rounds though Marrero finished strong. The heavily attending Puerto Rican fans did not like the decision though it seemed fair. The good natured Clark took it in stride. Clark was a 2004 Olympic alternate.

Robert Rodgriguez, Evans, Colorado, won a tough 37-30 victory over Jorge Maysonet, Toa Baja, in the 125 lb. division. The southpaw, Rodriguez, was a 2005 National Junior Olympic gold medalist.

Sadam Ali, Brooklyn, New York, had his hands full with counter punching Reynaldo Ojeda, Canovanas, taking a 40-20 win in the 132 lb. division. Ali, a member of the Olympic team, has won the National Golden Gloves two times in a row.

Another member of the USA Olympic team, Javier Molina, Commerce, California, won RSC3 1:53 by a 24-4 score in the 141 lb. division over southpaw Luis Gonzalez, Bayamon. Molina is only 17 and a National champion in 2007.

Javontae Starks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, won by 32-14 over Ricardo Reyes, Cidra, in the 152 lb. division. Starks is a 2008 U.S. Future Stars National champion.

Luis Arias, a former Junior Olympics National Champion out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, scored a standing count in the 2nd round and had Enrique Collazo, San Juan, out on his feet walking to his own corner causing the referee to stop the contest in the 3rd. This was a 165 lb. match up that was foul-filled until the stoppage.

Carlos Negron, Villaba, the lone Olympian for Team Puerto Rico, won by RSC3, 0:24, 26-6 over Siju Shabazz, Las Cruces, New Mexico in the 178 lb. division. Negron is 6' 6" and used his height and reach throughout the first two rounds. He opened up in the third round causing the stoppage. Shabazz is a 2007 National Golden Gloves Champion.

The only poor fight of the night was in the 201+ division with southpaw Kimdo Bethel, Albany, New York, trying his best against the fouling Juan Jacob, Rio Piedra, to win by a 28-5 score. This match brought the team total victory for the USA by 9-2.

Three U.S. Boxers were competing in the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from April 25 to April 30. Shawn Estrada, East Los Angeles, California, 165 lb. division, Christopher Downs, Fort Carson, Colorado, 178 lb. division and Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nevada, 201+ were attempting to qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

Ken at:

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