What You Should Know About the 2021 USA Boxing Olympic Team | Complete Roster Breakdown
With the qualifications for Olympic boxing no longer happening in the Americas, below are the set Olympic team from the United States looking to bring back a gold medal.
Sadly, the following fighters, Anthony Herrera (men’s flyweight), Bruce Carrington (men’s featherweight), Charlie Sheehy (men’s lightweight), Joseph Hicks (men’s middleweight), Rahim Gonzales (men’s light heavyweight), Darius Fulghum (men’s heavyweight), Andrea Medina (women’s featherweight) will not get a chance to qualify.
Here are some quick thoughts on each of the fighters on the team.
Duke Ragan, featherweight
Duke is in a weird spot as he lost at the Olympic Trials to eventual winner, Bruce Carrington, and David Navarro, who recently turned pro. Despite that, Ragan was ranked in the top-15 of the world rankings, and despite being signed with Top Rank Inc, Ragan had the chance to represent Team USA this summer, in the olympics, and jumped at the chance.
Over the past few years, Ragan has had good success in international competition, but struggled in the finals, which in the Olympics wouldn’t be bad, since that would merit a silver medal, if the same result were to occur.
Ragan is a fighter who constantly underestimated, overlooked at times, a hardworking fighter, who lets his fighting do the talking for him, as he holds wins over Ruben Villa, Otha Jones, amongst many other great fighters. One concern is Ragan has more of a pro-style already which could lead to unfavorable cards in close fights, as Ragan looks to sit on his punches and land more meaningful hard shots, and less so about volume.
Ragan is someone to not underestimate, as it seems he thrives off being counted out.
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Jamel Herring, not in terms of frame, but with his ability to really work on the inside, and target the body. Ragan has a great left hook to the body
Keyshawn Davis, lightweight
The most popular U.S. Olympian this year is Keyshawn Davis, who has already let his star be seen on multiple professional cards, and made inroads to fame by being Shakur Stevenson’s sparring partner for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Davis is a walk you down, DMV (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) fighter, who has been influenced by Shakur Stevenson’s cerebral approach to boxing, creating a merger in styles. Davis is already fighting undefeated and accomplished pros early in his career, and looks to be on the men’s side of the U.S. team the favorite to medal along with Richard Torrez, with Davis’ chief Olympic rival being Cuba’s Andy Cruz, who has beaten Davis more than Davis has beaten him.
Davis, who was removed from the team late-last year, and replaced in favor of Brisbane, Ca’s Charlie Sheehy, now returns to the team with his top-15 world ranking. Davis should be a breakout star of the Olympic Games.
Pro Boxer Equivalent: LaMont Peterson, an aggressive come forward fighter who has the ability to box.
Delante “Tiger” Johnson, welterweight
A year-and-a-half ago a close friend of mine, Prenice Brewer, a former professional boxer, who is now a great trainer, called me out of the blue. He told me to drive down to Oxnard, California, and see “Tiger” Johnson. I did, and I was impressed. Johnson qualified for the Olympic Trials, at the last qualification event for the Olympic Trials, and stood out.
Johnson is one of our most talented fighters in the country, and has a high-ceiling when it comes to his potential. Johnson is a great distance control, but very cerebral with the ability to hit people and make them pay.
When Johnson fights this summer you should watch, as Johnson has the chance to be one of the best fighters out of this Olympic class, as he has the talent, boxing IQ and skill to become a generational talent.
Johnson also holds the distinction of being the only male Olympian from this class to win the Olympic Trials by fighting each bout (Keyshawn Davis got a walkover in the finals) and make the team, as Johnson is supremely talented, and from Cleveland, Ohio, a place that seemingly births great boxers, decade after decade.
Johnson joins Ricardo Williams Jr, Terrell Gausha, and Charles Conwell, as Cleveland, Ohio-based boxers, to qualify for the Olympics, with only Williams Jr. winning a medal, a silver to be exact in 2000 Olympics.
Johnson has a very strong chance of medaling with the only two factors playing against him being inactivity due to COVID-19, and that Johnson at times fights in a more pro-style looking to land cleaner punches, and less about the volume, as world-level amateur boxing can often come down to who throws the most landed punches as opposed to the most meaningful punches.
“My struggles are my stripes, and I wear them on my back, so that the people around me can see that even when you’re living in a jungle, you can still chase your dreams,” said a passionate Johnson via press release. “I am not only doing this for my city, but for my two coaches, Dante Benjamin Sr. and Clint Martin, whom I lost during my journey to these Games.”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Ricardo Williams Jr., defense meets offense.
Troy Isley, Middleweight
Toughness personified, Coach Kay Koroma’s project from the ground up, Troy Isley is now an Olympian, as his international success including a win over Israil Madrimov, a now top-rated professional being fast-tracked to a world title, proves that Isley can win internationally.
Isley, who lost in the Olympic Trials to Javier Martinez, a fighter who was his main rival during the amateurs, and was a bit older than Isley, as well as Joseph Hicks, a very good fighter, who always got overlooked in comparison to Martinez and Isley, but came in runner-up at Olympic Trials.
Isley turned pro with Top Rank Inc, and Martinez despite winning at the Olympic Trials, saw Joseph Hicks get the nod for the qualification team, then COVID-19 happened, tons of confusion, and now we’re at a point in which we’re going off world rankings to qualify, in which Isley still has a tremendous world ranking in amateur boxing.
Isley is a solid boxer, but what makes him special is his aggression, and willingness to inflict pain. Since the first time I saw Isley, I thought to myself, “he will be a good pro.” Isley has a real chance to medal since he is playing with house money going into the Olympics, but regardless of the result from the Olympics, Isley is someone you should watch as I feel he will be one of the major names of this wave of Olympians.
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Dwight Qawi, an inside fighter who is tough, relentless and skilled.
Richard Torrez Jr., super heavyweight
The captain of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, Richard Torrez Jr. of Tulare, California, was long thought to be a favorite for a medal, and still, I believe most think that, yet a brutal KO loss to Bakhodir Jalolov, a current pro signed to DiBella Entertainment, in September of 2019, has now raised some questions, as well as ethical questions around amateur boxing.
Torrez Jr. has been the most dominant men’s super heavyweight since Riddick Bowe and Tyrell Biggs, which is quite a compliment as those two Olympic medalists, fought amateur in the ’80s, Biggs winning gold in 1984, and Bowe winning a silver in 1988, and can’t recall another American super heavyweight with as much excitement around himself as Torrez, not even Deontay Wilder in 2008.
Torrez Jr., a tad undersized at the weight class at 6-foot-2-inches tall, by modern super heavyweight standards, is an explosive power-puncher who seemingly stopped most of his American rivals outside of Amisel Jimenez and Jeremiah Milton, in the amateurs.`Torrez Jr. has been the man to beat, and no one could do it, even after his loss in 2019, but after his loss to Jalolov, we now have to see what is next for the generational super heavyweight as he has fought just a selective few times since making the team, after a box-off in early 2020.
Torrez Jr. not unlike Johnson, and Davis is a fighter I am expecting to medal in the Olympics.
Torrez Jr should be a major focus of the telecast and content leading up to the Olympics, as he is a magician, a pro boxer, vlogger, and flat-out interesting person.
“Everyone is happy they’re going to the Olympics, it’s everyone’s dream, but I need to be there,” said Torrez Jr via press release. “The fire that was instilled in me before I could even walk, that drives me to be the best, the fire that has been in my family for generations, has overflowed. It has set ablaze all my second options, and it has made ashes of any other possibility besides that of success.”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Joe Frazier, the small big man, uses his smaller frame to make a hard target and press forward, bullies the bigger men.
Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs, flyweight
The USA Boxing women’s team might be the best squad in the world, and Ginny Fuchs is one of the key components. Fuchs, a close friend of 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer, is 8-1 in international competition, and as a southpaw, who is one of the most fundamentally sound fighters on the team, and will be a tough out for anyone.
Her lone loss during 2020 was to a Bulgarian fighter, in Bulgaria, and by split decision, so for those keeping track at home, they might be able to read between the lines there.
Fuchs is the most experienced fighters on the team with documented international experience dating back to 2013, and world-class coaching staff around her with Kay Koroma.
Fuchs is a potential breakout star of the Olympics as a good run in the Olympics, combined with her battles with OCD, could make for great on-air segments, that could vault her in position to be a story arch for coverage around these games.
In terms of on-television coverage, I am expecting Ginny Fuchs, Keyshawn Davis, and Richard Torrez Jr. to be the fighters that we see the most coverage around, and I believe all will deliver.
Who knows if Fuchs will go pro, but this Olympic run for Fuchs, should be a fun one to watch, as the LSU-grad, and Texas native, has worked most of her adult life to fulfill this dream.
“I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. I am so excited I can finally call myself an Olympian,” said Fuchs via press release. “With all this world has been through and having to postpone the Olympics a whole year, I am proud to say I am one of the participants in what will be known as the most recognized Olympics in history. I am ready to represent my country in the most respected way and bring home the gold!”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Mikaela Mayer, despite a different frame and build, Fuchs holds a lot of the same concepts of distance control and movement that makes Mayer one of the best female fighters currently in the sport of boxing.
Rashida Ellis, lightweight
The sister, to two pro boxers, Golden Boy Promotions’ welterweight Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis, and super middleweight Ronald Ellis, Rashida Ellis is looking to show why boxing is the family business for Massachusetts boxing family.
The tough part is Ellis is in one of the hardest divisions, and even worse a current world champion Maiva Hamadouche, IBF women’s super featherweight world champion, is fighting at this division, and the odds on favorite, as she beat Ellis this summer. Ellis went 5-3 over the course of 2020 in international competition, but has all the traits of an elite fighter who can medal, but has to put together a great tournament, not unlike her USA Boxing teammate, who didn’t make the team, Andrea Medina, who had one of the most impressive runs of 2020, and sadly we won’t get to see.
Ellis will have a tough path to medal but has the skills, pedigree, and a wealth of experience dating back with a decade worth of high-level amateur bouts, and international experience stemming from 2015-onward.
“Qualifying for the Olympics has been one of my deepest dreams,” said Ellis via press release through USA Boxing. “I never doubt my ability. I have stopped being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. So, I embrace my mistakes and learn from them, as my mistakes have helped me improve and reach the Olympics. I don’t do easy; I make things happen. The hard work and dedication with effort and determination, I can succeed.”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Natasha Jonas, a well-rounded fighter that will be live against anyone.
Oshae Jones, middleweight
Oshae Jones was one of, if not the most dominant women’s boxer in America, prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, and will more than likely draw comparisons to the greatest women’s boxer in amateur boxing history, Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Jones went 6-0 in international competition in 2020, and is poised to at the very least medal, though we have high hopes that she can bring back the gold medal for USA Boxing. Oshae Jones is a good body-puncher along with a southpaw, and present many different problems for fighters. On top of this, her father Otha Jones II, and brother Roshawn Jones, coached Charles Conwell in 2016, who was an Olympian, so this is the second consecutive Olympic year they will participate.
That is a huge confidence boost as Jones will have an experienced team both at Team USA Boxing, and with her family who got her to this point as well. Jones is must-see-television fighter and will make for great pro fights, once her amateur career is over.
“I may only take up one spot, but my one spot represents so much,” said Jones who looks to be symbol of hope for her community. “I’m beyond grateful for the chance to represent women, African Americans, my small city of Toledo, but most importantly, my country.”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Mike McCallum, a southpaw who breaks opponents down systematically with an attack-centered around the body and the opponents conditioning.
Naomi Graham, heavyweight
Often overlooked and underrated Naomi Graham put together one of the best runs of any of the Olympians, post-COVID-19 shut downs, and compiled a stellar international record of 11-1, and silently is one of the odds on favorites to win gold at Tokyo 2021, despite not being brought up often.
Naomi Graham, who is also a member of the United States Army, has been fighting at a high level of competition for six years, and fighting internationally since 2018. Graham has a lot of experience and is extremely confident at the right time, I feel Graham is all, but assured to win a medal, but for her – we’re hoping to see her in the finals to pick up a gold or a silver, as Graham is truly one of the most dominant fighters in her division, sadly her division often just doesn’t get respect.
“It feels unreal that I am going to the Olympics,” Graham exclaimed via press release. “I continue to surprise myself by finding my own limits, and then having the courage to blow past them.”
Pro Boxer Equivalent: Franchón Crews-Dezurn, a mix of power and skill at the higher weights
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