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London Olympics: South El Monte teen to open boxing competition

July 27, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Joseph Diaz Jr. works on his bobbing and weaving during a training session at the South El Monte Boxing Club.
Joseph Diaz Jr. works on his bobbing and weaving during a training session… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

LONDON -- U.S. boxers Rau'shee Warren, Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields will all have to wait a bit longer than the rest of team to begin their Olympic experience after receiving first-round byes when the draw was conducted Friday.

However, that's not the case for bantamweight Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte, who will get the Olympic tournament started Saturday when he meets Pavlo Ishchenko of the Ukraine. The U.S. has won five silver medals in the 56-kilo (124 pounds) category, more than any country at that weight. And the last nine winners in that class were 25 or younger, a good omen for the teenager Diaz.

Terrel Gausha of Cleveland will also fight Saturday, taking on Armenia'sAndranik Hakobyan in the middleweight category. The the U.S. has won five goals all-time at 165 pounds.

On Sunday lightweight Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) will faceFrance's Rachid Azzedine, and Errol Spence (DeSoto, Texas) will boxBrazil's Myke Carvalho de Ribeiro.

Other first-round bouts involving U.S. fighters include Monday's light heavyweight fight between Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Australia Damien Hooper; Tuesday's light welterweight match-up between Jamel Herring (Coram, N.Y.) and Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov; and Wednesday's heavyweight and super heavyweight fights featuring Michael Hunter and Dominic Breazeale.

Hunter (Las Vegas) will fight Russian Tervel Pulev. Breazeale, a super heavyweight from Alhambra, will box Magomed Omarov, also from Russia.

Warren, the first three-time Olympian in U.S. boxing history, is the only member of the nine-fighter men's team to get a bye, while lightweight Queen Underwood, who will face Great Britain's Natasha Jones in the first round Aug. 5, was the only one of the three U.S. women fighters who will box in the opening bracket.

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