THE USA Knockouts took the ring in Casablanca, Morocco on last week for their first road match at the Salle Omnisport Complexe and they emerged with their first away win of the 2016 World Series of Boxing season. The United States three youngest Olympic Trials champions led their squad to victory in front of a vocal Moroccan crowd to give the USA Knockouts their second straight win of the year.
Light welterweight Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.) was the first American boxer to compete in Friday’s World Series of Boxing competition and he made it clear that he was looking to avenge his opening bout loss in his contest with the Atlas Lions’ Abedlhaq Nadir. Russell showcased the power and speed that his boxing family is known for, landing strong punches in combinations and hurting Nadir with hooks and uppercuts. He picked up the pressure late in the third round before a thundering left hand sent Nadir to the canvas. The home ring boxer beat the referee’s count but Russell wasn’t able to resume his barrage as the bell sounded to end the third round. Yet the Atlas Lions corner determined that their boxer had had enough and called a halt to the bout between the third and fourth rounds. The victory gave the USA Knockouts their first win of the night and sent Russell in to the upcoming Americas Olympic qualifier with strong momentum. He can become the second Olympian in his family, following in the footsteps of 2008 U.S. Olympian and WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell, Jr. Russell’s skills extend outside the ring as he graduated with the highest GPA in his county.
American middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) was up next for the USA Knockouts and the 18-year-old boxer was looking to win his second straight WSB match in as many bouts. He faced the taller Badr-Eddine Haddioui of Morocco in his first away match of the World Series of Boxing season. After feeling Haddioui out in the first round, Conwell began to find his rhythm in the second round and his aggressive body attack and effective hooks impressed the judges. He continued to press the action over the next three rounds on his way to a 2-1 victory over Haddioui and win number two for his USA Knockouts. Conwell is the youngest Olympic Trials champion and can become the second straight Olympic middleweight from his hometown of Cleveland with a qualifying performance at the Americas Olympic qualifier. Conwell was named USA Boxing’s Youth Male Athlete of the Year in 2015.
Bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) impressed all of his WSB counterparts in his season debut against Great Britain’s Peter McGrail which won him WSB Boxer of the Week honors. Yet his bout on Friday presented a different challenge against rugged African champion Mohamed Hamout. With a loud crowd pushing him along, Hamout looked to hold and manhandle Stevenson and prevent him from landing punches. The five rounds of action saw several warnings from the referee to Hamout, but Stevenson managed to stay composed and land the more effective blows throughout the bout. Stevenson swept every round on the judges’ scorecards once again to win a wide, unanimous decision and his second straight World Series of Boxing contest. A former junior and youth world champion, the Olympic Trials Outstanding Boxer moved his international to 19-0 with Friday’s win.
With the overall team victory secured, heavyweight Brandon Glanton (Ellenwood, Ga.) competed in the final bout of the night for the USA Knockouts, facing Morocco’s Abdelijalil Abdouhamda in his first WSB contest. The loud Moroccan crowd cheered their boxer on as he won a unanimous decision victory over Glanton.
The night opened with a light flyweight match-up between USA Knockouts foreign boxer Hernan Alarcon of Colombia and Morocco’s Imad Ahayoun. Ahayoun claimed a unanimous decision win over Alarcon in the first bout of the night.
Coaches Augie Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Kay Koroma (Burke, Va.) guided the American team in Friday night’s action and Brandon Walker (Colorado Springs, Colo.) served as Team Manager for the squad’s long journey to Morocco.
The full U.S. squad of 12 Olympic Trials champions will depart from Colorado Springs for Buenos Aires on March 1 for the Americas Olympic Qualifying Event.
The USA Knockouts will return to action on March 3 in their second straight away match against the British Lionhearts in London.
USA Knockouts vs. Morocco Atlas Lions Results
108 lbs/49 kg: Imad Ahayoun, Morocco Atlas Lions, dec. Hernan Alarcon, COL/USA Knockouts, 3-0 (48-47)(48-47)(49-46)
123 lbs/56 kg: Shakur Stevenson, Newark, N.J./USA Knockouts dec. Mohamed Hamout, Morocco Atlas Lions, 3-0 (49-43)(49-43)(49-43)
141 lbs/64 kg: Gary Russell, Capitol Heights, Md./USA Knockouts won on TKO over Abedlhaq Nadir, Morocco Atlas Lions, TKO-4 (3:00)
165 lbs/75 kg: Charles Conwell, Cleveland Heights, Ohio/USA Knockouts dec. Badr-Eddine Haddioui, Morocco Atlas Lions, 2-1 (49-46)(49-46) for Conwell and (48-47) for Haddioui
201 lbs/91 kg:Abdelijalil Abdouhamda, Morocco Atlas Lions, dec. Brandon Glanton, Ellenwood, Ga./USA Knockouts, (50-45)(50-45)(50-45)