Get To Know The Team USA Boxing Olympic Qualification Team
So with the Olympics upcoming, we will give a brief preview of the USA Boxing team, as well as a road map for how each fighter got here, and highlight fighters whom we think might be our best bets for a gold medal in 2021.
Now to understand how people get on the qualification team, it is important to note that you don’t just get on the team by winning the Olympic Trials, as USA Boxing takes more of what we call in public schools “a portfolio approach”, as they look at the result from the Olympic Trials, along with how the fighters entering in training camp in which they receive a grade, and as well as international competition, and form a candidate.
52 KG – Anthony Herrera, Los Angeles, CA. – flyweight
Anthony Herrera is a solid fighter with a really good jab-cross that is fast and has a solid style that will adjust to the pros, which probably is no surprise as he is working with Edgar Jasso, Manny Robles’ right-hand man, in the gym.
Herrera is currently 3-5 in international events, with three of his losses by way of split decision, since finishing in second place at the Olympic Trials to Abraham Perez, who defeated Herrera twice at the Trials. Herrera appears to be coming into his own, as he is learning on the job, as he had only won the national PAL in 2018, Western Qualifier in 2019, and a bronze medal in the Boxam international tournament.
Herrera is a high motor guy who gives an honest effort in each one of his bouts and seems to be a hard worker in the gym. Herrera looks to exchange but is still adapting to movers – especially on the world stage.
You can see from his punch selection as well as his drive in the ring that Oscar Valdez has inspired some of Herrera’s traits as a boxer, as his right-hand and especially left hook show an influence to me of the great Mexican boxer.
57 kg – Bruce Carrington, Brooklyn, New York – featherweight
Carrington could be a star of this Olympic class if he qualifies. A fighter held in high regard, known mostly by his nickname “Shu-Shu”, trains with Aureliano Sosa, an emerging top trainer in the sport of boxing, out of New York City, New York. Carrington holds national title wins, but is mostly known for being one of the few who fought in the 2016 Olympic Trials, and stayed amateur for a second chance at the Olympics.
Carrington fought from the eighth seed defeating Duke Ragan, Jonathan Mansour, Rashiem Jefferson Jr., and David Navarro, en route to winning the Olympic Trials. Carrington in fact didn’t lose a single fight in the tournament, in a crowded division, which was a major feat.
Since the Olympic Trials, Carrington has been 0-4 in international competition with one of those coming by way of a walkover, and two losses coming by way of a split decision.
Carrington is huge for his weight class being at or nearly six-feet-tall and has a great jab. The only downside is sometimes he can smother his punches, trying to get the most out of his combination punching, but when he put it together and fully extends with snap – Carrington is extremely special as his 2019 Olympic Trials was one the best performances put forth by any boxer there, if not the performance of the tournament.
Carrington reminds me of his teammate and 2016 Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins along with the 2012 Olympic Trials favorite going into the tournament Amir Imam, ironically both of those fighters are New York-based fighters and tall, so I might just be lazy as well.
63 kg – Charlie Sheehy, Brisbane, Ca – lightweight
The dark horse of this Olympic class, Sheehy might not be a name many have talked about, but he very well could be one of the fighters who walks away with a medal. Sheehy is one of the most experienced fighters on the team, with international fights, prior to being on the team dating back to a fight at the Chemistry Cup.
Sheehy had a confusing roadmap to the Olympic Qualification team, as he lost in the semi-finals to Ernesto “Tito” Mercado, who was too sick to compete in the finals against Keyshawn Davis, who won the Olympic Trials via a walkover, and was the Olympic Qualification team member. Mercado left the USA Boxing Olympic alternate position early last year, and Sheehy became the alternate.
Sheehy was promoted earlier this year when Keyshawn Davis was disqualified from the Olympic Qualification Team for undisclosed reasons.
That was a lot to explain, but Sheehy reminds me a lot of Erislandy Lara with a more refined ability to fight on the inside, and someone who has been around the best fighters in the world for a year straight. Sheehy is very live on this USA Team and getting better with each camp and tournament.
Currently, Sheehy is 3-4 in the past year of international competition, with two of his losses coming by way of split decision.
69 kg, Delonte “Tiger” Johnson – middleweight
Delonte “Tiger” Johnson, to me is the last of the old guard of fighters from the Ryan Garcia/Gabe Flores/Shakur Stevenson era of the amateurs, as Johnson fought everyone and is one of the most experienced on the team.
The Cleveland, Ohio native is 2-3 in international competition, with one losses being a walkover, and the two being split decisions.
Johnson is an experienced fighter, who fights in more of a pro-style, but is one of the best hopes for TEAM USA to pull a medal in the Olympics.
Johnson from day one since I filmed him at the Last Chance Qualifier in Oxnard, California, has reminded me of Daniel Jacobs in the amateurs. Johnson has not just lateral movement, but body movement that will allow him to be a hard target to hit and a very active and good jab. Johnson is one of our best hopes, if not the best hope to get a medal in the Olympic Games, in the men’s division, as he has the experience and a wealth of international competition to his resume.
Johnson went undefeated at the Olympic Trials.
Joseph Hicks – 75 kg, middleweight
Joseph Hicks spent most of his amateur career behind Javier Martinez, the southpaw volume puncher who ruled the division, and then found himself behind my personal favorite of the bunch, Troy Isley, who was the young guy on the block, who began to have a rivalry with Javier Martinez. Hicks tended to be the odd man out, as it felt like a two-man race for the Olympic spot, but Hicks worked his way to the Olympic spot, now has a chance to compete at the Olympics.
Martinez won the Olympic Trials defeating Hicks in a box-off on Monday after the two, went 1-1, and during the week, and saw Hicks selected for the team based upon a choice merited by the selection committee. Martinez went pro, and so did Troy Isley, as both are now with Top Rank.
Hicks is currently 1-3 with one walkover loss, but has been improving throughout the process. Hicks is a good boxer, who will be a solid pro, the major issue is, Hicks is having to learn on the job as he had very limited international experience prior to having the Olympic spot. Hicks is hard to compare as I have only seen limited amounts of footage of him, but he is solid at everything, but when fighting at his pace, can dictate a fight above average.
Rahim Gonzales – 81 kg, light heavyweight
The Las Vegas, Nevada, boxer, Rahim Gonzales loves amateur boxing, and has made no bones about it, that he would not be opposed to being a two-time Olympian, especially with the next Olympic Games not being that far off given the pandemic. Gonzales is currently 3-3 in international competition since the Olympic Trials, with two split decision losses.
Gonzales is a good range fighter being able to control distance, not unlike one of his mentors, Malik Scott. In these international bouts, Gonzales has displayed a tremendous ability to fight on the inside, as in one of his bouts he emulated one of the great Olympians, Roy Jones Jr, with blazing hand speed on the inside.
Gonzales didn’t lose a round at the Olympic Trials, and looks as dominant as any fighter currently on roster to make the Olympic Team.
The big thing I look at with Gonzales is his love for the sport, his dedication, and his want to medal in the Olympics. Gonzales is one of the most driven fighters on USA Boxing, and in many ways reminds me of a prior Olympian, in New York’s own, Marcus Browne.
Darius Fulghum, 91 kg – heavyweight
Darius Fulghum was one of the feel-good stories of the Olympic Trials, as one of two eight-seeds to win the Trials, along with Bruce Carrington. Fulghum defeated Trials favorite Adrian Tillman, and one of my favorite fighters in the tournament in Najee Lopez, but his limited international experience is making the world level competition a completely new experience.
Prior to 2020, Fulghum hadn’t fought internationally, as the Prairie View A&M University grad, who graduated with a degree in nursing, now has a chance to put Olympian on his CV as well. Fulghum is a solid boxer, but his heart and will are second to none in this group of fighters as he has beaten fighters with more technical skill, based upon his competitive nature, and desire. In short, Fulghum is a gamer, who wants it, and won’t get discouraged in a fight.
Fulghum is a fighter who uses all of his ability to the maximum of their capabilities.
Fulghum has gone 1-5 with one split decision loss.
Richard Torrez Jr. – 91 kg +, super heavyweight
Up until last year, Richard Torrez Jr., who is the captain of the USA Boxing team, would’ve been thought of as a favorite for the gold medal, but sadly, now questions arise after a brutal first-round KO loss to Bakhodir Jalolov, a professional boxer competing in Olympic boxing which I am not a fan of. Jalolov is currently signed to DiBella Entertainment.
Torrez is currently 4-1 in international competition, and is one of our best fighters, as he is our most dominant heavyweight to come through the USA Boxing program since Deontay Wilder, and that is high praise, despite whatever feeling you feel about Wilder.
Torrez Jr. from Tulare, California, who is from a well-respected boxing family, there is a lot to like about Torrez, who will be a special fighter both in the Olympics and the pros, the only concern is the day-and-age of the mega-heavyweight six-foot-five-inches-and-up, is Torrez not quite tall enough for the division.
That said, Torrez’s skills are vastly better than 95% of heavyweights in the world currently, but Torrez is more in the vein of an Evander Hollyfield or Dwight Qawi heavyweight and not a Tyson Fury or Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight.
It is also important to note that Antonio Mireles won the Olympic Trials, Jeremiah Milton faced Torrez in a box-off at the Olympic Training Center, which Torrez won, and Torrez earned the Olympic spot over the course of the year, as Torrez couldn’t compete at the Olympic Trials due to a medical suspension from his knockout loss.
Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs – 51 kg
Ginny Fuchs is going to medal in this year’s Olympics, she is just too good not to. Currently 8-2 in international competition in the past year, Fuchs has a wealth of experience in international competition with international bouts dating back to 2013, eight-years ago.
The former LSU cross-country runner, Fuchs is a southpaw, who packs a lot of power, and is deadly accurate. Fuchs, and a close-friend of Mikaela Mayer, the 2016 Olympian, seems to check all the boxes needed to be an Olympic medalist, now she just has to perform.
Fuchs has one of the coldest straight lefts in amateur boxing currently, and being a life-long athlete, she has an edge over a lot of fighters in the competition, and has been a lot of them prior as well.
Fuchs went undefeated at the Olympic Trials
Andrea Medina – 57 kg
Andrea Medina has become the breakout star of the team so far. Medina is currently 11-3 in international competition with each performance looking better than the last as “The Boss” is poised to be one of the stories of the summer.
The path for Medina was confusing as Medina, as she beat Sacramento, Ca’s Lupe Gutierrez at the Western Qualifiers, but then lost to Gutierrez at the Olympic Trials in the Monday, box-off, but was selected due to the comprehensive selection process, and a strong resume in international competition.
Medina, who is currently in college at San Diego State University, is a well-rounded fighter, with the ability to box, and apply pressure, and has been someone who has been a notable performer in the past two-years in amateur competition for me, dating back to the Western Qualifiers in Reno, Nevada.
Rashida Ellis – 60 kg
The sister of Ronald and Rashidi Ellis, Rashida Ellis is one of the most experienced, that has a chance to represent USA Boxing. Ellis is currently 6-3, with one of her losses being very dubious as current world champion Maiva Hamadouche defeated her in Spain in something I feel shouldn’t occur in amateur sports, a world champion fought an amateur boxer.
Ellis is getting better, and not being defined by her loss to Hamadouche, which I feared could have been a confidence killer, and just won gold in her recent amateur competitions. Ellis is surging at the right time, and has been around high level athletes, as well as with ties to the Boston area, could very well make a run that could make follow Boston sports legend, Marvin Hagler (R.I.P.), proud.
Ellis also never lost a bout at the Olympic Trials.
Oshae Jones – 69 kg
One of the most dominant if not, the most dominant fighter on the USA Boxing team is Oshae Jones. The southpaw out of the Soul City Boxing Gym, is my personal favorite to get a gold medal at the Olympics, of any fighter on the team.
Jones is 6-0 in international competition since the Olympic Trials. Jones only losses have come in recent memory internationally, and even those are few and far between. Jones is dominant, tactical, and well-conditioned, training alongside 2016 Olympian Charles Conwell, and her brother, Otha Jones III, with her father, Otha Jones II, and brother, Roshawn Jones coaching her, Jones is a very formidable fighter for Olympic competition.
The southpaw can box, and can bang, as her style is not just to win on point, but to break down opponents through conditioning and accurate punches.
Naomi Graham – 75 kg
The most underrated fighter on the USA Boxing team, Naomi Graham is someone who might not get the hype, but she keeps winning.
A decorated amateur with an extensive background, yet Graham was under-the-radar, and not unlike Rahim Gonzales, Ginny Fuchs, Delonte Johnson, Oshae Jones, and Rashidi Ellis, Graham had a flawless Olympic Trials, yet based upon her weight class, and stoic demeanor, has been one of the less talked about fighters so far, despite being in a position to go on an Olympic run.
Graham is currently 11-1 in international competition, since winning the Olympic Trials. For more information about Graham, I highly advise you to look at this article.