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USA Boxing’s Jonathan Esquivel sole remaining team member vying for Olympic spot at qualifying event

Credit: USA Boxing

Light heavyweight Jonathan Esquivel (Anaheim, Calif.) won his WSB/APB Olympic Qualifying Event debut on Monday afternoon at the final qualifier in Vargas, Venezuela. He is the only American boxer remaining in contention at the event as super heavyweightBrandon Lynch (Albany, N.Y.) dropped his opener on Sunday in his first major international bout and welterweight Paul Kroll (Philadelphia, Pa.) and heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) fell in heart breakers on Monday.

Esquivel took on Bulgaria’s Spas Genov in first round competition on Monday afternoon and celebrated Independence Day with a split decision win in the light heavyweight contest. The 21-year-old Olympic Trials champion will face veteran professional boxer Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam of Cameroon in his second bout tomorrow afternoon in Venezuela. Esquivel needs two more victories to clinch his berth in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Awesome drew a rematch with Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo Torres in his first bout of the final qualifying event. He lost a 3-0 decision to his Ecuadorian foe in the match-up, eliminating him from the tournament and 2016 Olympic Games contention. Awesome is a two-time Olympic Trials champion and multi-time USA Boxing National Championships gold medalist in both the heavyweight and super heavyweight divisions.

Kroll boxed well in his WSB/APB Qualifying Event debut against Germany’s Arajik Marutjan, looking to be first and land a stiff jab to control the contest. Despite his strong effort, Kroll lost a 3-0 decision to Marutjan in the welterweight contest. The defeat ends Kroll’s run at the 2016 Olympic Games. The Philadelphia native boxed his way out of the challengers’ bracket to win the 2016 Olympic Trials in December and defeated a former world champion in World Series of Boxing competition earlier this year as a member of the USA Knockouts.

Lynch faced Ukraine’s Rostyslav Arkhypenko on a short opening night for the tournament. The American boxer lost a unanimous decision to his Ukrainian opponent in his first Olympic qualifier. He is the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials silver medalist.

The United States currently has eight boxers qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games. Male light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas), male flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Fla.), male bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.), female lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), male lightweight Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.), male light welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.), female middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), and male middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) have all clinched their spots in Brazil. Women’s Head Coach Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Associate Men’s Coach Kay Koroma (Alexandria, Va.) and Assistant Coach Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.) will accompany the American squad in Rio de Janeiro.

For more information on the WSB/APB Qualifying Event, click here.

U.S. Opening Bout Results
152 lbs/69 kg: Arajik Marutjan, GER, dec. Paul Kroll, Philadelphia, Pa./USA, 3-0.
178 lbs/81 kg: Jonathan Esquivel, Anaheim, Calif./USA dec. Spas Genov, BUL, 2-1
201 lbs/91 kg: Julio Cesar Castillo Torres, ECU dec. Cam F. Awesome, Lenexa, Kansas/USA, 3-0
201+ lbs/91+ lbs: Rostyslav Arkhypenko, UKR, dec. Brandon Lynch, Albany, N.Y./USA, 3-0

Full Event Results

Spain’s Youba Sissokho delivers the result of the day at APB/WSB Olympic Qualification Event in Vargas

The second day of competition at the APB/WSB Olympic Qualification Event in Vargas, Venezuela, saw the flyweight (52kg), lightweight (60kg), light welterweight (64kg), welterweight (69kg), light heavyweight (81kg) and heavyweight (91kg) boxers in action. The eighteen bouts delivered some superb boxing and surprise results as the winning athletes took another big step towards Rio 2016 qualification.

Turkey’s Yasin Yilmaz and Puerto Rico’s Jose Javier Rosario began the day, and it was the Turkish lightweight (60kg) who seized control and held off Rosario’s late rally to set up a semi-final bout with Mexico’s Lindolfo Delgado. Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng also progressed with a fine performance against Germany’s APB boxer Artur Bril in the first two rounds, and will now face Italy’s Carmine Tommasone.

Colombian WSB light heavyweight (81kg) Juan Carrillo had a strong Season VI for the Puerto Rico Hurricanes and looked in great form as he delivered the first TKO of the tournament against Serbia’s Petar Maukovic. USA Knockouts’ Jonathan Esquivel, who won both his WSB Season VI contests, kept his own Olympic dreams alive with a win over Bulgarian APB boxer Spas Genov and will now face Cameroon star Hassan Ndam Njikam in the last four.

“I felt good in my opening bout and though I could have performed much better, all that matters is that I got the decision. My tactics were to stay off the jab and keep it simple but explosive. I expect a more intense bout against my Cameroon opponent, but I’m sure I will control the bout and get the win,” said United States’ Jonathan Esquivel after his opening contest.

Experienced Croatian heavyweight (91kg) Marko Calic controlled his bout against Panama’s Israel Duffus and will meet Venezuela’s Alfonso Flores in the semi-final, while at flyweight (52kg), Ukrainian Maksym Fatych defeated India’s Gaurav Bidhuri to set up a final-four meeting with Caciques de Venezuela star Yoel Finol. The result of the day, however, came from Spain’s Youba Ndiaye Sissokho, who looked well-prepared for the in-form Serhii Bohachuk, himself fresh from a brilliant Season VI with Ukraine Otamans, and secured a remarkably convincing win in front of the Vargas crowds.