Jun 22, 2011 3:12 AM by Lee Douglas/USA Boxing
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) - Fifty-seven boxers recorded second round victories on Tuesday night to advance on to the critical quarterfinal round. All of the winners in the 13 Olympic weight classes in Wednesday's competition will earn berths into the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
The men's flyweight division made its event debut in the opening bouts on Tuesday night with six second round contests. With two-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) watching from the sidelines as he prepares for the upcoming Olympic Trials, several top flyweights battled it out. Warren's runner-up at the 2010 National PAL Championships, Adam Lopez (San Antonio, Texas) won his first bout on retirement, defeating Eduardo Vasquez (Sheridan, Colo.) in their showdown. He will take on 2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist John Franklin (Fort Carson, Colo.) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
All of the top female flyweights took to the ring with multiple close bouts being contested simultaneously. Five-time national champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) faced off with 2010 USA Boxing National Championships bronze medalist Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.) in her first contested bout of the tournament. Love kept the bout close through the first two rounds, but Esparza extended her lead to a comfortable margin late and won a 13-7 final decision. She will take on former bantamweight national champion Cynthia Moreno (Guadalupe, Ariz.) on Wednesday for a spot in the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing.
Defending male lightweight champion Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.) put an early end to his contest with former national champion Kevin Rivers (Landover, Md.). Ramirez won a third round stoppage over Rivers in the second round bout to move one step closer to defending his crown. Ramirez will face Adam Castillo (Lubbock, Texas) on Wednesday night.
Two-time national champion Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) enjoyed a successful event debut on Tuesday night. His 10-3 win over Darwin Price, Jr. (Grambling, La.) advances Spence on to the quarterfinal round where he will take on Boston Salmon (Waianae, Hawaii).
The light heavyweight division showcased several intense showdowns. The United States Army split two razor close bouts in back-to-back bouts. Former National Golden Gloves champion Derae Crane (Fort Carson, Colo.) faced 2009 National Champion Robert Brant (Oakdale, Minn.) and the contest could not have been closer. The score was deadlocked at 12-12 at the end of three rounds and the total punch count was tied at 60 as well. Crane pulled out the victory on his 3-2 judges' poll edge. His World Class Athlete Program teammate was on the opposite end of a close decision, losing a 14-13 bout to Sijuloa Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.). Crane and Shabazz will battle on Thursday for a berth in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials as well as the semifinal round in the USA Boxing National Championships.
As usual, the super heavyweight division closed the long night of action on Tuesday. Two-time national champion Lenroy Thompson (Uniondale, N.Y.) and 2010 USA Boxing National Championships silver medalist Javier Torres (Pico Rivera, Calif.) battled in one of the final bouts of evening. Torres wasn't able to pull the upset and Thompson won a decision to move on to a quarterfinal bout with Laronn Mitchell (San Francisco, Calif.).
All of the quarterfinal bouts will be contested on Wednesday in two sessions at noon and 6 p.m., with the victors moving on to the semifinals and those in Olympic weight classes earning berths in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
USA Boxing National Championships will run through Saturday with final round action taking place at the historic City Auditorium. Less than 200 tickets remain for championship night and the tickets, which are $20, are available at www.ticketswest.com.