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USA Boxing Eastern Qualifier 2019 Scouting Report

The Standouts

Javier Martinez, Milwaukee, Wi, 175 lbs.

Moving up in weight after already qualifying for the Olympic Trials at middleweight, Martinez won the tournament in his second division. Martinez impressed me and made the top of the list since he was able to adjust his style to fight against bigger opponents. Martinez was a little eager to show his power, which could’ve been to prove how hard he hits at a higher weight class, but pressed forward against bigger fighters. Martinez is a braggadocious boxer, who we as boxing fans tend to fall in love with and seems like could turn into something interesting both at the highest level of amateur boxing as well as the professionals. Martinez gave his opponent in the finals a standing-eight count as well.

For some reason, Martinez reminds me of a bigger, southpaw version of Danny Garcia, I know that is dangerous to throw around comparison, but Martinez feels special and stood out.

Result – won the tournament, defeated Orville Crooks in the finals.

Kelvin Davis, Norfolk, Va – 152 lbs.

A southpaw with length, good use of distance and has all the counterpunching tools needed when in rhythm. Able to press the action behind straight punches and a high guard as well. Offensive minded fighter, who doesn’t just rush in. Gave opponent in finals a standing-eight, most pro-ready fighter I saw. Brother of Keyshawn Davis, who has qualified for the Olympic Trials in December already. Safe to say, the DB3 Entertainment, which was shouted at the end of the match will be a mainstay in boxing for the next decade.

Result: won the tournament, defeated Wayne Boudreaux in the finals

Harley Mederos, New York City, New York, 138 lbs.

Mederos is one the most touted amateurs currently in amateur boxing as he is one of the last remaining from the Shakur Stevenson, Gabriel Flores Jr. era of the amateurs. Mederos is a very powerful puncher, who likes to sit on his backfoot and explode on opponents. Mederos is seasoned, experienced and tricky, not to mention also qualified for the Olympic Trials after this tournament, in arguably the deepest division.

Result – Champion, beat Israel Rodriguez in the finals.

Christina Cruz, New York, 112 lbs

Cruz is a fantastic boxer who at times is a bit too eager to move then exchange which has been her downfall in the past. In the Eastern Qualifiers, Cruz showcased why she has garnered so much attention as one of the best women’s boxers in the country, and now heads to Olympic Trials in December with momentum.

Result: won the tournament, defeated Lina Vezzani

Ralph Clemente East Patchogue, NY – 165 lbs.

The New York fighter made a strong impression on me giving Jorge Tovar a standing-eight count as well as appeared to one of the heaviest handed punchers of any weight class in the tournament. Clemente, a fighter who appears to still be developing is a pro-style boxer with tremendous upside in terms of power and appears to be well-coached. The number seven seed entering the tournament will now have the decision to turn pro or try again for the Olympics across the country in Oxnard, California next month.

Result – Semifinals, lost to Francis Hogan

Joseph Macedo, Las Vegas, Nevada  – 138 lbs. 

Macedo’s second time making this list as he also got the nod in the Western Qualifiers as a stand-out fighter. Macedo has the tools of a great fighter with a solid frame that matches the strength of his opponents, good head movement and the tendency to move after two to three punches. Macedo is allowing fights to be too close is a habit I am noticing as his loss in this tournament was a razor-thin decision. Macedo now has a decision to make whether to go professional or try to qualify for the Olympic Trials in November in Oxnard, Ca.

Result: Lost in quarterfinals to Shontae Yelder

Japhethlee Llamido, Norwalk, CA – 138 lbs

The most impressive fighter in the tournament based on pure achievement Llamido has qualified for the Olympic Trials at 125 lbs, but went up to 138 lbs to compete and did well. Llamido has an awkward timing-based style that is reminiscent of karate and is a terrific fighter who has proven he can give anyone fits in the ring. Even when matched up with bigger opponents, Llamido held his own and arguably won each both. An impressive and talented fighter

Result: Lost in quarterfinals to Israel Rodriguez

Joseph Hicks, Grand Rapids, Michigan –  165 

Joseph Hicks fights like a veteran, and I mean that in a good way (I would’ve said an ‘old guy’, but that might be offensive). Hicks is well composed, and very methodical, never fighting outside of himself in the ring. If anything Hicks can be too patient at times, but Hicks makes his opponents earn every punch.

Result: won the tournament, defeated Francis Hogan

Mariana Gonzalez, California, 119 lbs.

The California native, Gonzalez is continuing her dominance entering as the number one seed and beating all of her competition. Gonzalez offers a high punch output along with tremendous pressure that is was unmatched at this tournament.

Result: won the tournament, defeated Alexis Araiza- Mones

Israel Rodriguez, Humble, Tx – 138 lbs

A true tournament sleeper who used an aggressive high volume pressure attack to offset some of the more tactical fighters at 138 lbs. Rodriguez made it all the way to finals without being ranked and defeated stiff opposition before losing to Harley Mederos in the finals. Rodriguez is pure aggression, and either you can handle his style or you can’t.

Result: lost in finals to Harley Mederos

Joshua Edwards, Houston, Texas – 201 

Edwards is controlled boxer who fights behind the jab in the seemingly no man’s land of cruiserweight. Edwards fights very controlled and stood out amongst all the bigger fighters in the tournament because of his use of basic fundamentals without relying on physical attributes which commonly you see more of at the higher weight classes.

Result: Lost in the finals to Brandon Moore.

The Notables

Jermarco Holloway, Michigan – 152

Holloway is your classic case of a good fighter with no traits that jump out at you besides the fact that he wins often. Holloway is a proven winner, and though we have listed fighters on this list, who may have lost early based on potential, Holloway deserves mention since he is fully capable of finding ways to win in bouts at all levels.

Result: lost in semifinals to Wayne Boudreaux

Reinaldo Torres, Springfield, Ma – 152 

Torres is a slick southpaw who can make you miss without having to move his feet, but at times finds himself on the ropes far too much. When Torres is on, he is one of the more exciting fighters in the tournament, but can be taken out of his game and made to look like another fighter as well.

Result: lost in the quarterfinals to Jermarco Holloway

Marlon Kelly, Miami, Florida – 165

Marlon Kelly is a big puncher, who every punch seems like it could hurt someone. The Miami, Florida native is working on his technique, which he has, but gets ahead of himself when he feels he can hurt an opponent, still, the power is real, and Kelly is an exciting fighter

Result: lost in the quarterfinals to Jonas Sylvain

Bhieem Billups, Oxford, Pa – 152 lbs. 

Billups doesn’t appear to have the same level of experience in the fight game as the others on this list, but with great instincts and working behind a good jab while following it up with a straight shot to the body, Billups is one to remember. Lost early in the tournament from lack of volume, but a quality fighter who has a chance to develop.

Result: lost in the third round to Antoine Cobb

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle