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Olympic berths still at stake for team USA Boxing as men head to final qualification event

Credit: USA Boxing

The six male U.S. Olympic Trials winners still seeking to qualify their Olympic berths internationally will depart for Baku, Azerbaijan today for the World Olympic Qualification Event, June 16-25. The squad has been preparing for their second qualification opportunity at the Olympic Training Center and is now ready to test their skills against fellow Olympic hopefuls from across the world.

The American boxers vying to fulfill their Olympic dream will be flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.), light welterweight Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.), welterweight Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.), light heavyweight Jonathan Esquivel (Anaheim, Calif.), heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas), and super heavyweight Marlo Moore (Hayward, Calif.).

Vargas, Russell, Kroll, and Esquivel will need to place in the top five in the tournament while Awesome and Moore must win gold to clinch their Olympic berths in Baku. The team will arrive in Baku on Tuesday and hold an acclimation camp in Azerbaijan to finalize all their preparations for the Olympic qualifying tournament. All of the athletes will participate in the general weigh-in on June 16 before the all-important tournament draw later that day.

Preliminary round competition will begin at 7 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) at the Sarhadchi Arena and run through June 21. All of the participants will enjoy on off day on June 22 and the tournament finals will take place on June 25. A full schedule of sessions will be available following the tournament draw on June 16.

The World Olympic Qualification tournament is open to athletes from across the globe who haven’t previously qualified for the Olympics. Countries may only qualify one athlete per weight class and can only enter athletes in divisions which their nation does not currently have a 2016 Olympian. Full rosters will be released when available.

The six American athletes competing in the event won their spots in the qualifier time based on their gold medal victories at the U.S. Olympic Trials in December. There will be one more qualifying event in early July in Vargas, Venezuela for those who are unable to clinch their spots in Azerbaijan. The United States will not be sending professional boxers to the final qualifier.

Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Joe Guzman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will lead the U.S. team in Azerbaijan.

The United States currently has six boxers qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games. The U.S. boxers who have previously qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games are male light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas), male bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.), female lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), male lightweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), female middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), and male middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland, Ohio).