AMERICAN middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) accomplished the goal he set on Friday, winning a gold medal at the Americas Qualifier. He clinched his berth in the Olympic Games with a semifinal win on Thursday and added his fourth straight win in the middleweight championship bout. Heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) competed in the lone qualifying bout of the day for the U.S. team but lost a split decision in the consolation bout. Light flyweight Nico Hernandez (Wichita, Kansas) also qualified for the Olympics on Thursday before competing in today’s championship bout but fell just short in Friday’s action.
The American boxers competed in the first three bouts of the tournament on Friday afternoon with Conwell and Hernandez boxing in tournament finales and Awesome vying for an Olympic berth.
Conwell faced off with Mexico’s Misael Uziel Rodriguez Olivas in the middleweight championship bout. For the fourth straight bout, Conwell’s bouts quickly evolved in to a slugfest and once again, the American boxer excelled in an action packed bout. He showed off his aggressive style and powerful body shots en route to a unanimous decision win over Olivas and the first gold medal for the United States team at the Americas Qualifier. Conwell will return home as both an Americas Qualifier and a U.S. Olympian.
“It’s an honor to be called number one in the continent, but there are still bigger fish out there to fry at the 2016 Olympic Games. It’s no longer Road to Rio, Rio Ready is what I’m going to start saying. It feels great,” Conwell said. “My heart and determination and listening to my corner gave me the success I had in the ring and the great team I have behind me. I did it for my country. I have one more step in the 2016 Olympic Games and I want to hear the national anthem again.”
Hernandez competed in the opening bout of the day against Colombia’s Carlos Eduardo Quipo Pilataxi. They engaged in an all out battle in the light flyweight finale. The bout went in to the final round with the decision in doubt, but at the end of the contest, the judges named Pilaxti the victor by one round. Hernandez earned a silver medal as well as a light flyweight berth in the 2016 Olympic Games. “I got what I came for and now I’m just going to focus on getting ready for Rio,” Hernandez said.
Awesome was the only American boxer who could clinch a berth in the Olympic Games on Friday and he faced off with Brazil’s Juan Goncalves Nogueira. Awesome looked to box and dictate the pace of the fight in their consolation bout match-up but Nogueira sought to make the match a slugfest. Awesome came out strong behind a good jab in the second round, mixing in his unique angles and punching style. The bout continued in a similar fashion over the third round and after the match concluded, the two boxers waited for the decision in the center of the ring. The Brazilian boxer was named the winner by a split decision and Awesome was unable to qualify the Olympic berth he was hoping for. He will have two more opportunities in June to qualify an Olympic spot in Bulgaria and Azerbaijan.
Light welterweight Gary Russell (Capitol Heights, Md.) and light heavyweight Jonathan Esquivel (Anaheim, Calif.) both won their consolation bouts by walkover.
Three American boxers will compete in championship round bouts on Saturday with lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) seeking to qualify her Olympic berth in tomorrow’s finale against Mexico’s Victoria Torres. Bantamweight Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) will take on Argentina’s Ezequiel Alberto Melian in his gold medal bout while middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) will face Canada’s Ariane Fortin-Bruchu. Flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) will compete against Brazil’s Grazieli Jesus De Sousa in the consolation bout.