Home Amateur & Olympic 2015 Pan American Games underway; 120 boxers competing in all 13 Olympic...

2015 Pan American Games underway; 120 boxers competing in all 13 Olympic divisions

Credit: USA Boxing

The boxing tournament of the 2015 Pan American Games began on Saturday, July 18, as 120 of the best men’s and women’s boxers from the Central, North and South America regions compete for gold medal glory. 10 men’s weight categories from Light Flyweight (49 kg) to Super Heavyweight (91+ kg) will feature across three 3 minute rounds, while the trio of Olympic women’s weight classes will respectively fight over four rounds of 2 minutes.

“Boxing has always been one of the most popular sports in the Pan American Games. I think one of the most anticipated matches in Toronto for all fans will be women’s Middleweight clash between the unbeatable American Claressa Shields and home favourite Ariane Fortin-Brochu. The men competition should also showcase amazing bouts as the line-up features such talented and experienced athletes”, said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.

The first edition of the Pan American Games was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951, and since then the continent’s biggest multi-sport event has been held every four years. In 2011, women joined the boxing tournament for the very first time as the Cuban athletes dominated the men’s section of the competition with eight gold medals.

American Boxing Confederation President Mr Osvaldo Bisbal said: “Some of the best men and women boxers will be competing in Toronto and I am expecting truly great boxing performances from Latin American countries with strong boxing heritage. I’m sure Canadian and International fans will passionately support past and future Olympic and World boxing champions in truly legendary clashes”.

Cuba has enjoyed the most success in the history of the event with 116 boxing medals, while USA has earned 101 medals. Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela have also traditionally performed well, while host nation Canada has only won three boxing medals since 1951…

The Brackets Are Set for Team USA…

The brackets are set in all 13 Olympic weight divisions at the 2015 Pan American Games following Saturday’s official tournament draw in the athlete village. After two days of preparation in the Pan American Games athlete village, the U.S. team will begin competition on Saturday night at the Oshawa Sports Centre in Toronto, Canada. Light flyweight Melik Elliston (Denver, Colo.) and light welterweight Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) will kick off the competition for Team USA in preliminary round action.

Elliston will face off with Guatemala’s Alvaro Vargas in the light flyweight division while Feliciano takes on Rashield Abena Williams from the Bahamas the second and fifth bouts tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

Four American boxers will compete in Sunday’s preliminary round action at the Oshawa Sports Centre. Flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.) will open the 2015 Pan American Games in a bout with the Dominican Republic’s Leonel de los Santos while welterweight Brian Ceballo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) takes on Mexico’s Marvin Cabrera Vergara. Light heavyweight Steven Nelson (Omaha, Neb.) will battle Brazil’s Michel de Souza in his first bout of the tournament and super heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will face home nation boxer Simon Kean of Canada in the United States’ only quarterfinal bout of the day.

The United States’ highly acclaimed female boxers will both take the ring for the first time in Pan American Games action on Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will challenge Nicaragua’s Claudia Parrales Guevara in flyweight quarterfinal competition at the Oshawa Sports Centre. Reigning Olympic and World Champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will face off with Brazil’s Flavia Figueiredo in her Pan Am debut on Monday as well. In men’s action, bantamweight Francisco Martinez (Dallas, Texas) will await the winner of a first round bout between Venezuela and Peru. Middleweight Anthony Campbell (Covington, Tenn.) will compete in the final U.S. bout of the day in a match-up with Misael Rodriguez Olivas of Mexico.

Lightweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.) will be the last American boxer to make his Pan American Games debut, taking on the winner of a first round match-up between Mexico and Colombia on Tuesday night…

In Opening Action for Team USA…

Two American boxers split their opening day victories at the 2015 Pan American Games on Saturday at the Oshawa Centre in Toronto, Canada. Light welterweight Luis Feliciano (Milwaukee, Wis.) won his first round bout while light flyweight Melik Elliston (Denver, Colo.) dropped his tournament opener.

Feliciano took on the heavy-handed Rashield Williams from the Bahamas in first round action on Saturday night. The two stayed in close quarters throughout the first two rounds with both boxers landing their fair share of strong shots in the entertaining bout. Feliciano and Williams both stayed inside and peppered one another with clear uppercuts and body shots over the first six minutes of action. Feliciano showed off his boxing skill and distance more clearly in the final round and went on to a win a 2-1 decision over the Bahamian boxer.

“I was just trying to measure him up in the first round and in the second round, he started picking up the pace and I stayed in there with him. In the third round, I tried to box and that was what proved the outcome for the fight,” Feliciano said.  “My biggest challenge was just measuring space but that comes with this being my first fight. In my next fight, I’ll be much better. I just needed to get those first couple of chills out of the way. Overall, I’m content with the victory and we’re moving on. A win is a win.”

Elliston took the ring for the first U.S. bout of the tournament in a light flyweight showdown with Guatemala’s Alvaro Vargas. The American boxer started the bout strong, winning the first round on the scorecards. Despite his best efforts, Vargas went on to win the next two rounds on the judges’ scorecards to take a 3-0 decision over Elliston.

It was a good match. I did what I had to do and listened to my coaches. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board I guess,” Elliston said. “I knew he was taller than me so my game plan was to slip inside and throw my combinations and throw my jab up and down. That’s the main thing that my coaches were telling me and I did it.”

Four American boxers will compete in Sunday’s preliminary round with flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.) kicking off the day’s action for the United States in a bout with the Dominican Republic’s Leonel de los Santos. Welterweight Brian Ceballo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will take on Mexico’s Marvin Cabrera Vergara, light heavyweight Steven Nelson (Omaha, Neb.) will battle Brazil’s Michel de Souza and super heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) will close at the day in a match with Canada’s Simon Kean of Canada. Boxing will begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Oshawa Sports Centre.

Coaches Ed Weichers (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Joe Guzman (Fountain, Colo.) are leading the United States boxing team at the 2015 Pan American Games.

U.S. Results

108 lbs/male: Alvaro Vargas, GUA, dec. Melik Elliston, Denver, Colo./USA, 3-0

141 lbs/male: Luis Feliciano, Milwaukee, Wis./USA dec. Rashield Williams, BAH, 2-1