Team USA Boxing’s AMBC Elite Championships Recap
The past week or so, USA Boxing took a team to Ecuador, to face the other international teams from the Americas, as USA Boxing appears to be in a good place, securing quite a few medals in the process. Have trouble watching, or you don’t like amateur boxing, but want to browse some names you will see on TV, well – look no further.
Roscoe Hill | Men’s Flyweight
I don’t want to overhype Hill, but he reminds me of…take a deep breathe, bits of Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones, now reminding and being are too different things, but what Hill is capable of in terms of boxing at such a young age, is quite remarkable. Hill outboxed a Cuban boxer in the finals in a bout that was not competitive and more so, Hill has a unique style, all to his own – Hill is trending in the right direction in amateur boxing.
Jennifer Lozano | Women’s Flyweight
Jennifer Lozano has only lost in the amateurs something like once over the past two or three years, a feat not often seen. Lozano won the last national tournament, defeating Kayla Gomez, and was very dominant in every bout en route to winning gold – one of the major forces of amateur boxing in the United States currently.
Jajaira Gonzalez | light welterweight
Jajaira Gonzalez took years away from boxing, and returned without missing a step. The Guy Mariano of amateur boxing, as she is the person you will have to beat to get respect on the world stage at this point in this weight class. The frontrunner for the 2024 Olympic Games, left with a gold medal despite not being completely happy with each every performance in the tournament – she still won rather comfortably.
Obed fights like a pro, as he loves to fight in close to gain respect, but has a solid ability to control distance as well. Each of Bartee-El’s punches are meaningful and his punch variety are some of the best along with fellow gold medalist Rahim Gonzales. Bartee-El is someone who is starting to peak at the perfect time in his amateur career, as a rough two years out from the next Olympics, Bartee-El is getting the best results of his career currently.
Rahim Gonzales | Men’s Light Heavyweight
It is safe to say that Rahim Gonzales is the most decorated men’s member of the team, as Gonzales would’ve won a medal in 2020, but is staying in the amateurs to obtain a medal he didn’t get in 2020, based on COVID-19 rules. Gonzales feels like the type of amateur that could win a world title in ten fights, and beyond that, his dominance in the United States has been impressive winning both ways boxing and in the pocket. This win over international competition should make him the team captain if we were to have one.
Jamar Talley | Heavyweight
The breakout star of the tournament as he knocked out a fighter in the semi-finals, a big puncher, who can box, and has a HUGE upside as a pro. Talley is really good, and will impact boxing at some level as I just see him fighting in a division that needs fighters as exciting as himself. Talley is a capital G Guy in America, and now it will be interesting to see who can emerge as his rival in coming tournaments.
Rashida Ellis | Women’s lightweight
Ellis is the true veteran of the team, and looking to be a two-time Olympian. Ellis has a much talent as anyone on the team, as her skills, ability and athletic development are as good as anyone – it simply comes down to focus. Ellis could’ve been an Olympic medalist, but saw a costly penalty against Caroline Dubois cost her that chance at the 2020 Olympics. As we watch Ellis in international competition I am looking to see how she responds to situations are that not ideal, as I am hoping to see growth from her experience, as an amateur at the world stage.
Jahmal Harvey | Men’s Featherweight
Harvey continues to look like one of the marquee guys in this Olympic group, and put on a show despite getting a cut from a headbutt at the end of the first fight, and coming up a bit short in the finals. Harvey is looking to be along with Rahim Gonzales, the faces of the 2024 Olympic men’s team as we start to project who will inevitably end up on that roster. Harvey is a unique mix of boxing skill, strength and physical toughness, that is making one of the youngest fighters on the team, one of the toughest to beat on any stage.
Arjan Iseni |
Iseni saw a nasty cut in the finals derail his chances at a gold medal is currently fighting in this tournament in a division that was one of the smallest of the tournament. Iseni has secured himself as one of the best in his weight in America, and now is gaining valuable experience that will show in further fights.
Kayla Gomez | Women’s
Gomez has a lot of star qualities, with a deep amateur background, a third generation women’s boxer, being coach by her mom and grandma, as well as being highly marketable with an exciting style and Hollywood-type look to her. Gomez left with a bronze, but as one of the youngest fighters on the team, she has a lot of room to learn from this and develop.
Amelia Moore | Women’s featherweight
The first thing I think of when I see Amelia Moore is that she would be the ideal sparring partner for every fighter who is in camp to face Mikaela Mayer, the 2016 Olympian, and now one of the best women’s fighters ever, but beyond that Moore is showing that she is a tough out for anyone. As tall of a fighter as I have seen in the division, with a lot of amateur experience, and a great coach in Ronald Simms working with her – Moore should continue to grow, and get the most out of her amateur boxing experience.
Jonathan Mansour | Men’s Lightweight
The most improved fighter of the tournament, who got a bad decision against a former Olympian, showed a lot of improvement, as Mansour looked to engage a lot more than previous tournaments. Mansour dropped his opponent in the bout he lost, and it was called a slip, a trend that happened far too much. Mansour is progressing quite nicely, and with a supportive foundation behind in San Diego will be a coveted asset for any and all promoters, because 1) Mansour has a big social media following, 2) will seemingly sell tickets from the start, and 3) has a personality that seems to be one young people could be drawn to.
Omari Jones | Men’s Welterweight
Jones keeps getting the wrong side of close fights as his 3-2 split decision loss to Marco Verde appeared to go in favor of the bigger, older, stronger guy, just as much on the perception, as it was on what happened in the ring. Jones has one of the highest ceilings as a pro fighter, and has yet to be outclassed in international competition. Jones has heart, will, skill, and an awkward style, as the college student, and USA boxer looks to be someone to keep an eye on.
Joshua Edwards | Men’s Super Heavyweight
A great international debut as Edwards put forth a boxing seminar against Mexico, and showed why he will be a world-level pro boxer if moved right, is a boxer-puncher, who shows a lot more craft than most are used to in the no man’s land of super heavyweight. Edwards has a lot of amateur experience, good distance control, and great ring IQ, we’re still learning more about Edwards at this level, but Edwards is going to be “one of the guys” heading into the 2024 Olympic Trials.
Those Who Didn’t Receive Medals
Emilio Garcia | Men’s Lightweight
Robbed! An awful decision didn’t go his way as he beat his opponent, giving him a standing-eight and having him on the ropes for long periods, yet somehow lost the decision. Garcia is a Texas come-forward fighter in the vein of a Vergil Ortiz or Errol Spence Jr., showing that his offense is a great form of defense as well. Garcia has a style in which you will see his name as a pro, more than likely with a big promoter, and a flashy record. Garcia getting bounced in his first match in a fight most people would’ve scored for him is why literally no one outside of scouts, matchmakers, and family members watch amateur boxing.
Arika Skoog | Women’s Middleweight
A hard-nosed north-east fighter, who shows the toughness in the ring that’d you expect for someone not living in year around great weather, fought with valor, as came up a bit short in action-packed bout. Skoog is all gas, no brakes, and when she gets going it is really bad for opponents. Sort of the boxing version of a running back, who is a down-hill runner, that once they get that first step going downhill, things become tricky for the opponent.
Morelle McCane | Women’s
Yet another surprise was seeing McCane depart from the tournament early, though I think a reason was fairly simple. McCane fought a pro-style fight in an amateur bout, as she looked to land a big punch that would alter the fight, rather than accumulate points to win. McCane has a lot of amateur experience, and is yet another Ohio fighter, who is amassing a great amateur career.
Naomi Graham | Women’s heavyweight
With seemingly the most experience on the team, and probably one of the most interesting people on the team, as well as it seems Graham has one of the most health attitudes towards the sport of boxing, Graham’s departure early was a surprise, but it was shockingly similar to her Olympic Games run as well. I am curious to see what version of Graham we see in her next international competition, as her exit was a shock of the tournament for me.