The 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials Boxing Preview
The Olympic Trials for Team USA Boxing start this coming Monday, December 9th-14th from Lake Charles, La.
You can watch the event live here next week.
The Favorite – Michael Angeletti – Angeletti won the 2018 national elite championship making him the front-runner for the tournament. Angeletti spent most of 2019 fighting internationally as he will have the most experience of any competitor with that level of competition, that being said Angeletti has had, to put it mildly, mixed success in international competition, meaning if he wins the trials he will need to put together some good performances internationally to make it to Tokyo 2020. At times, Angeletti can be inactive against pressure fighters, Angeletti’s game is to fight at distance from the outside and let his speed takeover.
Style – Gabe Flores Jr. from the outside, but unlike Gabriel Flores Jr. on the inside. Angeletti is very fast like Flores and establishes his jab along with his left hook to set his rhythm, but doesn’t have the same ability as Flores to keep fighters constantly in the mid-range to outside.
Those to watch for…
Abraham Perez – 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Perez is a different type of competitor in this weight class as Perez isn’t the fastest, but rather a strong fighter with an active jab and a good lead left hook. The left hook of Perez reminds me of another fellow New Mexico native Johnny Tapia’s as Tapia use to throw his to the body, Perez opts for the head instead. Perez will be a solid competitor at the trials and can win any fight based on being such a different type of fighter in this division.
Style – A lower weight banger, fighter who will be physical and hit hard at the lower weights, but has the ability to fight behind a jab and won’t just rush in as well.
Anthony Herrera – no stranger to the spotlight Herrera trains out of the famed Legendz Boxing Gym in Norwalk, Ca, and will see his coach, Edgar “Estrellita” Jasso, barely making it to Lake Charles, La, as he will be cornering Andy Ruiz Jr. that Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
Herrera is everything you think of when you think of L.A. boxing, a lot of volume and a lot of pressure. This along with training with a world-class team, along with high-level sparring and conditioning that should be top-notch, Herrera poses a real threat in this division. Herrera also has some of the straightest punches in the whole tournament including a great jab-cross.
Style – Much like most of my comparisons, they will not be a 1:1, but Herrera throws very straight punches especially a jab-cross, the closest fighter I could think of that threw straight punches and was aggressive was Virgil Hill, although a lot of Hill’s traits are not yet there with Herrera, I think looking at some of the proper punching technique of Hill correlates to Herrera.
Ray Ray Robinson – The 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, Ray Ray Robinson is the dark horse of the tournament as he is to the best of my research undefeated in the past two years and recently just went elite, allowing him to fight for the Olympic spot for team U.S.A. Robinson has a lot of tools that make up special fighters and also is fighter I have found myself gravitating towards as he seems a nightmare match-up. For sure, a boxer to watch, and if he doesn’t make it, he will more than likely have a very good professional career. Robinson is fast, strong and tactical, the only thing working against him is tournament experience.
Style – Rau’shee Warren, a fighter in the smaller weight with great technique and a lot of speed.
Jose Nieves – The 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, Jose Nieves is a solid, boxer-puncher, who could be a rough outing for a higher seed in the opening round as he has the skill set you don’t want to see in a fighter on the first day. Nieves is very experienced and well-coached.
Style – a well-versed boxer able to fight on the inside and outside with good speed. Very fast, very even in all skill sets, making it hard to point out one strength.
Anthony Olascuaga – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier runner-up, Anthony Olascuga is one tough cookie in the tournament. Qualifying last at the Oxnard Last Chance Trials, I don’t think anyone is excited to face the Maywood Boxing Club fighter, who has made his bones fighting in East L.A. boxing gyms since a youth. Olascuaga has every trait you look for in a spoiler including good conditioning, a high punch output and that dog spirit that can take people into deep waters. For more on Olascuaga please reference this video we did with him years ago, below our style breakdown.
Style – A unique style all to his own. It is hard to classify as Olascuaga’s style as it involves a lot of pressure and boxing ability mixed in. Olascuaga fights like a well-traveled pressure fighter with nuance. In glimpses, I see aspects of Abner Mares in him, but that is a heavy coat to throw on a young fighter with hefty expectations.
The Favorite – Duke Ragan – 2018 Elite National Champion, with Marc Castro not qualified for the Olympic Trials, Ragan catapults to becoming the favorite as he has a lot of experience internationally as well as has been training with the U.S. Men’s team for quite some time. Ragan has the confidence and skills and to make the Olympic squad, and you will have to go through him more than likely to qualify for the team. Ragan is an unconventional fighter, shorter than most at his weight, but uses his awkwardness to his advantage.
Style – Ragan is an uncongenial and awkward fighter who uses movement as well as the power to keep opponents honest, as far out as it seems, Ragan reminds me of Keith Thurman. Think the Thurman you have seen in the past three years or so, and that is the way I see Ragan in this tournament.
Those to watch for…
Japhethlee Llamido – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, awkward is something that you can’t train for and Japhethelee Llamido might be more in the Sam Solomon and Carlos Molina mold than say a Gennady Golovkin, but that doesn’t discredit anything he does in the ring. The young fighter has a hybrid boxing/martial arts style of distance fighting that is hard to solve and he even moved up to 138 lbs at the Eastern Qualify and saw a lot of success as well. Llamido has a perfect style to be on the wrong side of the decision, but is a fighter that should be respected. Llamido will be a hard fight for anyone in this tournament.
Style – Malikai Johnson from Sacramento, CA, a lesser-known prospect who I see as very similar.
Kevin Montano – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier runner-up, The Concord, Ca native a/k/a, my hometown, will go into this tournament as the most physical fighter in the tournament and a lot a lower weight class that could benefit him. Montano is not your classic boxer, but is a fighter in the pure sense, if you’re unwilling to keep him off you, you will lose as simply as that. Montano fought at Oxnard at 138 lbs and saw success as well.
Style – Sam Solomon is a great comparison, not focused on style points, focused upon winning. Montano’s losses to fighters like Llamido have been close, and any fight with him will be tough.
Rashiem Jefferson – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, the dark horse pick of the weight class and in many ways, could and should be the favorite. Jefferson appears to my eye to be the most versatile boxer of the bunch, and having fought at youth up until last year, he has yet to face a lot of his peers at the trials. Jefferson, who lost to Ray Ray Robinson last year, reminds me of Robinson and is one of the best fighters who will transition well into becoming a professional..
Style – Jefferson reminds me of a fellow Philadelphia native, Tevin Farmer, who I believe he is close with as well, which makes sense why aspects of Farmer’s style might have rubbed off on him.
Bruce Carrington – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier runner-up, a mainstay of the amateur circuit as he tried for the 2016 Olympic team, but didn’t get the nod. Carrington has a fought a who’s who in America, but has struggled with some of the elite like Kevin Montano and recently Rashiem Jefferson. Carrington will have an uphill battle to be an Olympian but is one of the most experienced of the group.
Style – A solid boxer-puncher, who has a habit of keeping his hand low at times, has exceptional height for the weight class.
Favorite – Keyshawn Davis – 2018 Elite National Champion, Keyshawn Davis is one of the best prospects in the country and currently viewed as “the one to beat” in the 138 lbs division, as well as by many insiders thought of as one of the top talents in the tournament. Davis has a good ability to control range, but long arms and a come forward ‘walk you down’ approach at times makes him the most versatile fighter possibly in the whole tournament. Davis is a boxer, but also has an edge in which he wants to beat his opponent up just as much as he wants to trick them.
Davis is coached by Kay Komora, the coach of Shakur Stevenson, and assistant coach for Billy Walsh of U.S.A. Boxing team.
Style – Terence Crawford, the ability to box and also walk you down coming forward.
Those to watch…
Charlie Sheehy – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, a soft-spoken fighter hailing from San Francisco, California, is a great back foot boxer, who is developing into a well-rounded fighter as his speed is now matched with his power. Sheehy is one of the fighters who if matched with Davis is a true 50-50 fight. Sheehy has all the tools to be one of the best fighters in the tournament with sixteen national titles to his name, Sheehy is as elite as they come.
Style – Erislandy Lara, similar movement, hard target to hit.
Harley Mederos – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, Mederos is slightly undersized at 138 lbs, as his original division of 132 lbs was eliminated. Mederos has good power, and the ability to box, but at times sometimes can be limited as he will look to land the big punch. Mederos often referred to as a pro-ready amateur is looking to play spoiler at the trials. Mederos will certainly make noise as a professional, but if he gets going at the trials and his confidence is high, he can win this tournament.
Style – Gennady Golovkin. Mederos is a big puncher and looking to land shots that will dramatically change the outcome of fights with boxing skills mixed in.
Israel Rodriguez – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier runner-up, Rodriguez is a bit older than his fellow competitors but has a football player-like style of coming forward and being aggressive. Rodriguez forces any fighter who faces him to stay composed, and willing to fight within themselves as Rodriguez will apply pressure from the start of the first bell till the last. Not the prettiest style, but blue-collar tough.
Style – Shawn Porter, high motor, an effective style that forces his opponent to work very hard.
Ernesto Mercado – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, one of the younger qualifiers in the tournament, who will more than likely be outgunned this go-around, is a very good boxer and offers a skill set that is not that easy especially if you’re matched up with him on the first day. Mercado qualified at the Last Chance Qualifier in Oxnard, Ca.
Style – Fast hands, tricky combination puncher.
Favorite – Delante Johnson – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, Labeled by some as the best amateur in the nation, “Tiger” Johnson has every attribute that a young fighter needs to be great. Despite qualifying at the last chance qualifier, Johnson is my favorite for this division as he has the international experience and he is the most versatile. The one cautionary thing is that Johnson did miss weight at the Eastern Qualifiers, which should be noted.
Style – A very good boxer-puncher who if I had to put him into a category with anyone, I would say reminds me of a young Andre Dirrell.
Those to watch…
Freudis Rojas Jr. – 2018 Elite National Champion, for the reigning national champion and a very successful amateur, Freudis Rojas has had a rather silent run heading into U.S. Olympic Trials despite being the national champion. Rojas didn’t compete internationally as Johnson was bestowed that honor, and Rojas has just as much experience as Johnson. Rojas will enter this tournament with a chip on his shoulder, more than likely as he will be a tough out.
Style – A tall southpaw with a fencer like jab and a crisp left hand. Rojas is hard to compare to anyone else, I’d compare him to Amir Imam.
Kelvin Davis – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, though he might not be a sleeper to some since his brother, Keyshawn, is one of the more marquee fighters in the tournament, Kelvin Davis is a very tricky, tactical fighter, who is extremely aggressive and capable of walking opponents down just like his brother. Davis is a fighter who is a sleeper in this division and is no walk in the park for any fighter, and very live in this bracket.
Style – A more flashy version of Gary Antuanne Russell
Favorite – Troy Isley – 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Isley is the most professional ready fighter of any in the Olympic trials, to my eye. To put it simply, Isley just seems special.
Troy Isley is a good inside fighter, a decorated amateur and a proven winner. This bracket seemingly has to come down to two fighters, himself and Javier Martinez, as the two have seen each other in the national championship the past two years, splitting wins, as Martinez won last year, but Isley got the best of Martinez in 2017, mind you both decisions were split decision. Isley is one to watch if not in the Olympics, for sure in the professional game.
Style – Troy Isley has elements on the inside of James Toney, which is high praise since James Toney is one of my favorite fighters ever.
Those to watch…
Javier Martinez – 2018 Elite National Champion, is an aggressive fighter who thrives in chaos. Martinez qualified for both the 165 lbs and 178 lbs division but will compete at 165 lbs for the Olympic Trials making for high drama as this division seems to be destined to come down to the two best middleweights in elite men’s boxing in the United States which is, Martinez and Isley. Martinez is a good puncher and has craft to catch fighters in between punches. Another fighter who will be an extremely good pro, more than likely.
Style – Martinez has reminded me of Danny Garcia for some time now, as his ability to punch in place and dictate a fight is not unlike Garcia.
Joseph Hicks – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, Hicks is a really solid boxer. It might sound insulting, but nothing stands out about him, but in a weird way that is a compliment. Hicks is sound, strong, tough and proven in tournaments, if anyone can upset the two at the top of the bracket it’d be Hicks.
Style – Hicks reminds me of a midwestern boxer who is fundamentally sound. Hicks reminds me of Anthony Dirrell, though I can’t place why. Hicks is very good at a lot of things much like two-time world champion Dirrell, I guess, the comparison with Anthony Dirrell is often forget how good Anthony Dirrell is, and Hicks has been a very good amateur, but often been forgotten based on the success of the top two.
Favorite – Rahim Gonzales – 2018 Elite National Champion, Rahim Gonzales is mentored by Malik Scott, trained by his father and is training in Las Vegas, Nevada, around superstars. In short, the pedigree to be great is paying off.
Gonzales, who has fought in multiple weights over the years, being ranked in the top ten of each, including #1 at 178. Gonzales is the front-runner for this division as he is most well-seasoned fighter of the bunch and has the most confidence of the bunch. The only outlier thought about Gonzales is that he didn’t compete internationally or go to any of the U.S.A. Boxing training camps, which is the only blemish you can point to, to his impressive past couple of years in the amateurs.
Style – The movement of Malik Scott meets the power of Marcus Browne.
Those to watch….
Atif Oberlton – 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Atif Oberloton is one of the bigger fighters in the division and one of the stronger as well. Oberlton is not as fast as Gonzales, so the Philly native will need to channel another Philly fighter, Danny Garcia, in the Olympic Trials, as timing is major hope against Rahim Gonzales, who is a major favorite in this division. Oberlton is a southpaw with a propensity to throw to the body. more than the noggin.
Style – Inside pressure fighter with decent power, think of Willie Nelson. Oberlton is a professional style fighter who throws with power, but less volume than the typical amateur.
Adrian Tillman – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, Adrian Tillman is one of the most confusing Olympians, not based on his style, but rather that he qualified for 178 and 201 lbs divisions. I would assume he would compete at 201 lbs, but since I have struggled to find the answer on the internet I will include Tillman, but save my breakdown for below.
Favorite – Adrian Tillman, 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Tillman has a terrific story of serving the country as a part of the U.S. Army, while fighting for an Olympic dream, and his style of is a unique one, which blends power and boxing ability. Tillman is as strong as anyone in the division, and has the most international experience, my only fear with Tillman is in some tournaments he has looked muscle-bound and not been able to get full extension on his punches. That being said, Tillman is the most proven and truly elite.
With Jared Anderson going pro, Tillman jumps up to the favorite, as Anderson was a major favorite in this bracket prior.
Style – Tillman is a puncher/boxer with a unique body frame that to me is most comparable, but not a 1:1 match to Eddie Gomez.
Those to watch…
Joshua Edwards – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier runner-up, Edwards is a fighter I feel has a very solid chance of winning the Olympic trials, as he reminds me of a young Steve Cunningham, a pure boxer, who is willing to fight in spurts. Edwards impresses me since for an amateur fighter, he fights like a veteran and is the type of fighter, who could really make noise at this tournament. That being said, Edwards has lost some decision, which makes one wonder how high to praise him heading into this tournament.
Style – A versatile boxer who is crafty like Philly legend Steve Cunningham.
Najee Lopez – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, Lopez is a guy that no one will be eager to face as he hits hard. In fact at the Oxnard Last Chance Qualifiers, three of Lopez’s four wins were by referee stoppage. The only downside for Lopez is Edwards has beaten him and has a style that might be hard for him to beat in a three-round fight. Lopez is aggression and power in the best way possible. Lopez loves to sit and trade and has sneaky tricks to land in between punches but is open to get hit.
Style – Though not the same, the closest fighter I can find besides a few kickboxers my friends have shown me, that I am unable to find now, is a legend, Sam Langford. Lopez fights with his feet planted and punches with you, at times he moves, but he thrives in the fire, in the chaos and that is what Langford, an undersized heavyweight did as well.
Brandon Moore, The Florida-based boxer is a fierce competitor who has beaten both Joshua Edwards as well as a very good amateur from the Bay Area Suray Mahmutovic. Moore is a consistent winner, and has trained around the very best in the world.
Style – Moore throws a very good left hook to the body like Gerry Cooney. Moore is good at targeting the body as an amateur and as strong as anyone in the division.
Favorite – Jeremiah Milton – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, Milton was the #3 fighter in the country until a strange serious of events (detailed in the video below) occurred in which tournament favorite, Richard Torrez Jr. was brutally knocked out, and Amisael Jimenez was disqualified from Team USA for fighting for Puerto Rico. Milton, an Oklahoma native, has taken this camp seriously and moved to the Bay Area taking up camp in Oakland, Ca. Milton has tremendous power and is as fast as anyone in the division.
Style – Think of Milton as a converted athlete to a boxer, not unlike the 2012 Olympian Dominic Breazeale or Gerald Washington.
Those to watch…
Luis Alvarado – 2018 Elite National Championships, holds a win over Milton, so that is something of note, but Alvarado has not stood out probably since Amisael Jimenez, Richard Torrez and Jeriah Milton have been viewed as the cream of the crop. Alvarado looks to press the action and tends to be open for a lead jab, despite moving his head. Alvarado is one of the better inside fighters in this division.
Style – Alvarado despite being from Wisconsin reminds me of a European heavyweight as a fighter like Razvan Cojanu comes to mind in terms of similar attributes at the highest level. Alvarado is very physically tough and when on the inside excels.
- Richard Torrez Jr. was thought to be the leader in the clubhouse by a wide margin for the U.S. Olympic super heavyweight spot, but a knockout loss to professional boxer Bakhodir Jalolov in an international amateur competition (somehow this makes sense) has seen Torrez suspended past the timeframe to qualify via the tournament. Torrez will now be able to face the runner-up in a box off and try to qualify in the second international tournament if the winner of the U.S. Olympic Trials doesn’t qualify for the Olympics internationally. Torrez Jr. is a heavy-handed fighter who jumps in and out from the southpaw stance, using great timing as well as an ability to hit from the full extension of his punches to be one of the best amateurs in the past ten years.
Favorite – Virginia Fuchs – 2018 Elite National Champion, Fuchs qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 2016, but didn’t qualify the Rio games as the 31-year-old is looking at what might her last chance to make this Olympic dream possible. Fuchs has the most international experience, is a tricky southpaw who has good power as well. The only question will be, will the younger fighters have gear she doesn’t have in a week-long tournament.
Style – A sharpshooter from the southpaw position who uses great distance and full-extension, think of one of the best in the game right now, Erislandy Lara, as a male counterpart.
Those to watch…
Heaven Garcia – 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Garcia lost to Fuchs in a close fight at nationals, and now will look to make an adjustment in the Olympic Trials. Garcia is younger, determined, and very well versed as an amateur, traveling all around the country and world fighting. Garcia is neck-and-neck with Fuchs as this division seems to be between these two based off tournament results over the past few years.
Style – Heaven Garcia reminds of me another former Olympian, Marlen Esparza, as she has the ability to box, but is also a very good, physical inside fighter.
Mariana Gonzalez – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, Mariana Gonzalez is not to be slept on. The Bay Area native, is a hard worker, who is putting everything into this tournament and is extremely focused with a good amateur pedigree. Though the two listed above her are the favorites, Gonzalez presents problems for both fighters, and could easily find herself in the finals. Gonzalez is an active puncher, who is extremely aggressive but doesn’t just come forward, staying off the centerline when approaching foes.
Style – Mariana Gonzalez’s temperament and ability to throw punches in bunches reminds of Joet Gonzalez.
Christina Cruz – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, Cruz is one of the older competitors in the tournament at age 36. With well over a hundred amateur fights, this will be Cruz’s last chance to qualify, as Cruz is one of the most historically relevant women’s amateurs in the past fifteen years, Cruz will look to become an amazing inspirational story.
Style – Cruz is a pure boxer, not unlike another New York native, Yuri Foreman. Cruz is great at keeping distance and fighting outside, but needs to improve on the inside.
Favorite- Yarisel Ramirez – 2018 Elite National Championships runner-up, Ramirez based on international experience will head into this tournament as a favorite, but this is a division with no clear winner. Outside of men’s 125 and 138 lbs division, this is one of the best in the whole tournament. Ramirez’s notable loss in the last few years in U.S. was to Rianna Rios, who opted to go pro, forgoing the Olympic Trials. Ramirez has a good jab, and excellent feints that lead to pull counters as well
Style – A well-trained boxer, who like her ancestral heritage of being from Cuba, her movement and technique also shows elements of the craft that Cuban boxers are known for.
Those to watch…
Andrea Medina – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, Medina is a very aggressive fighter, who comes in shape looking to be physical with a high punch volume. Medina is a fighter who enters each and every contest with the intention of letting people know, boxing is a physical sport. Medina is a fighter that what you see is what you get.
Style – Simply put Medina is coming to destroy the competition, I’d compare her to Brandon Rios. Lots of punches, and lots of power.
Lupe Gutierrez – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier runner-up, quite possibly the most talented of the bunch, but has to stay focused to win this tournament. Gutierrez is one of the most naturally talented in the tournament having the ability to fight in both stances, power to stop opponents, and skill to outbox opponents, it just comes down to staying off the ropes for her to win.
Style – Jose Benavidez Jr., Gutierrez has all the talent in the world, but like Benavidez Jr. sometimes their own focus can be their worst enemy, as both fighters have habits of sitting on the ropes at times.
Mikiah Kreps – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, The New Yorker from Niagara Falls, has fought a who’s who in the amateurs, and is one of the most experienced in this bracket. Though she lost to Andrea Medina earlier this year, it is important to note, that she fought international and won three bouts in Russia this year. Kreps will be a high seed that could be an unwelcome and unpleasant first-round surprise for someone.
Style – Not one fighter comes to mind, but Kreps is a fighter who will forgo a jab to get close and throw as many possible punches as fathomable when on the inside. In short, Kreps has a style that could be easily written off, but has proven to be effective through athletic competition.
Iyana Verduzco – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier runner-up, Iyana Verduzco, better known as “Right Hook Roxy” just made the cut for the Olympic Trials qualifying at the last chance, but not competing in the final bout. Roxy has a very pro-ready style and for that reason, I am not sure how she will fair in the highest level of amateur competition. Roxy’s best attribute is like her nickname depicts a right-hook which is thrown from the southpaw stance, but also don’t sleep on her jab. Sometimes, Verduzco is too eager to trade and can be hit.
Style – Right Hook Roxy reminds me of Ana Maria Torres in spurts, a hefty label to throw a young person, as in that you see elements of a Mexican boxing legend, but the combination punching, pro-style and willingness trade remind me of Torres.
Favorite – Rashida Ellis – 2018 Elite National Champion, Ellis has been in the amateurs for years having fought amateur sensation Queen Underwood multiple times. Ellis has a good jab, the most experience at the highest level and good movement. The one flaw I see is some of her punches in combination are rushed and don’t come as crisp as possible.
Style – Another one of these fighters I am having trouble fitting into a mold. Ellis is best thought of by her traits, great head movement, fast hands and at times her hands hang a tad too low as she prefers to fight from range. A combination of Albert Bell meets Tyler McCreary might best apply for Ellis.
Those to watch…
Stacia Suttles, Suttles outside of Ellis has the most pound-for-pound talent of the bunch. New York native is keen with social media having one of the better presences of any fighter and has the talent to do well, if not win the trials. Suttles also has very fast hands for the weight class.
Style – Think of someone who is able to articulate concepts like Heather Hardy, while watching and observing Hardy’s career. Pure boxer with the ability to overwhelm an opponent with hand speed.
Whitney Gomez – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion, my dark horse for this bracket is Whitney Gomez, who qualified at the last chance qualifiers. Gomez has a skill-set with movement and punch variance that could offer problems, but her punch output will have to be dramatically on the uptick to get the nod on close fights as she could be outworked.
Style – Backfoot boxer who fights in spurts.
Favorite – Oshae Jones – 2018 Elite National Champion, Many view Oshae Jones, myself included, as the person most likely to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics, that being said, she isn’t in a cakewalk of a division at the trials. Jones, who comes from a fighting family in Ohio, will be the strongest woman in the whole tournament. Jones recently won gold at the Pan-Am Games is a serious threat to anyone in her division amateur and professional, right now.
Style – Oshae Jones reminds of her teammate and 2016 Olympian, Charles Conwell.
Those to watch…
Danyelle Wolf – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion, Danyelle Wolf is an experienced amateur veteran, who really impressed at the Olympic Qualifier in Reno, Nevada. Outside of Jones, Wolf has a technical advantage over all of her competitors. Wolf has been around since the Raquel Miller, Franchon Crews days of 2012, but took a break to pursue MMA, which treats females much better than boxing does currently. but Wolf returned to boxing for an Olympic run and is an incredibly skilled fighter. Wolf is the most athletic fighter in the division and also has the best content from videos to photographs about her of any competitor in the tournament, man or woman.
Style – Wolf reminds me of Jelena Mrdjenovich.
Mary Spencer – 2019 Eastern Elite Qualifier Champion, Spencer is a very well-traveled and experienced amateur, fighting internationally until 2007, and with over a hundred amateur fights and only a handful of losses. Spencer is a real threat at the top of the division. Spencer fought all the greats of her era such as Claressa Shields, Franchon Crews, etc, the problem is she was hit or miss against the highest level of opposition.
Style – Spencer is very awkward, not unlike a Tyson Fury, but without the physical gifts such as an enormous height advantage. Spencer has a solid jab and hard to time movement.
Favorite – Citlalli Ortiz – 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Champion
One of the most dynamic fighters in the whole tournament, Citlalli Ortiz has a pro-style that many will come to love in the future. My friend, Anthony Saldana, covered in great detail in this great article that you should read about the young fighter for her backstory. Ortiz qualified at the last chance qualifier, but in my estimation is the favorite heading in, she is a powerful puncher with a lot of craft. A scary combination.
Style – Vergil Ortiz Jr., Errol Spence Jr., Ortiz reminds of both of these fighters in the way she comes forward and applies pressure.
- Ortiz has now withdrawn from the U.S. Olympic Trials as she is currently the number one seed for Mexico, and will look to qualify for Mexico.
Those to watch…
Naomi Graham – 2018 Elite National Champion
Despite being the national champion, Naomi Graham has a lot to prove but has one marquee weapon, which is power. Graham has constantly improved, but still, some issues such as pulling straight back and arm punches have ugly habits of returning. Graham will have an uphill battle at the Olympic Trials but has more confidence than ever.
Style – Awkward boxer, good at disrupting rhythm.
Alexis Gomez – 2019 Western Elite Qualifier Champion
Alexis Gomez is a talented fighter, who uses a good jab along with high volume to take fighters into places in which they have to gut-check themselves. Gomez is a big puncher, who if matched with Citlalli Ortiz could produce a classic.
Style – Miguel Roman, lots of punches, good power, and highly active.