MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Marshall Martinez of Fontana, a lightweight who draws inspiration from Oscar De La Hoya, made the U.S. team Thursday night by winning at the Olympic box-offs.
The 18-year-old Martinez, who boxes for the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Center in East Los Angeles, forced 23-year-old David Jackson of Seattle to take a standing eight-count in the first round and went on to win the 132-pound bout, 18-4.
"He's my No. 1 role model," Martinez said of De La Hoya, a 1992 Olympic gold medalist. "He told me before I left you have eight minutes of your life. It's a dream."
"He's going to pick me and my cousin, Steve Luevano, up and take us to the fight."
De La Hoya will fight Derrell Coley in a 12-round welterweight fight Saturday night in Madison Square Garden. Luevano, of La Puente, who also boxes for the De La Hoya club, will meet world 125-pound champion Richardo Juarez in the box-offs tonight.
Six bouts were held Thursday at the Foxwoods Casino, and six will be held tonight. Trials champions must win once, and challengers must win twice, with second bouts to be held Saturday afternoon.
The box-offs winners then must try to qualify for the Sydney Olympics at three tournaments for boxers from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Trials champion Larry Mosley of Los Angeles, who is a second cousin to unbeaten pro star Shane Mosley, will have to box again Saturday. He lost, 8-7, to Dante Craig at 132 pounds. He had beaten Craig, 15-5, in the trials final.
"I think I did enough to win," said the 20-year-old Mosley, who led, 6-4, after three rounds. "He came to me more and I didn't use my jab as much. I will on Saturday."
Two trials winners, who also happen to be world champions, also won.
Michael Bennett of Chicago, who learned to box while serving seven years in prison for armed robbery, won 3-0 over 19-year-old Malik Scott of Philadelphia at 201 pounds. The 28-year-old Bennett was credited with two scoring blows in the second round and one in the third.
Brian Viloria of Hawaii, was too strong for Karoz Norman of St. Louis and won, 19-5, at 106 pounds.
Trials champion Clarence Vinson of Washington, D.C., won at 119 pounds by outpointing Aaron Garcia, 9-4. Trials champion Jeff Lacy of St. Petersburg, Fla., lost, 12-9, to Arthur Palac of Hamtramck, Mich., at 147 pounds and will have to box Saturday.