Puerto Rico have produced some of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, and one of their best international tournaments is the Cheo Aponte Tournament, which recently took place in the city of Caguas.
Although many boxers performed spectacularly in the tournament, it was the young teenager heroes of the London 2012 Olympic Games like home favourite Jeyvier Cintron and US female star Claressa Shields who were particularly impressive while winning gold medals.
Athletes of the tournament
Puerto Rico’s teenage sensation Jeyvier Cintron was one of the youngest competitors in the London 2012 Olympic Games, where he advanced to the quarter-finals, losing only to the two-time AIBA World Champion Misha Aloian.
Cintron is now 19, and defeated his main local rival, and fellow London 2012 Olympian Jantony Ortiz in the Puerto Rican National Championships in February, which enabled him to regain his place in the national elite squad.
His semi-final opponent was AMBC American Continental Champion Patrick Lourenco, and Cintron won the fight comfortably.
Following that triumph he defeated another Puerto Rican, the dangerous Orlando Gonzalez in the final.
Cintron will hope to continue his golden run in the upcoming Central American & Caribbean Games which are scheduled for Veracruz, Mexico in November.
US star, and London 2012 Olympic Champion Claressa Shields has also returned to elite competition this year.
The 19 year old star is planning a gold medal in the upcoming AIBA Women’s World Championships in Jeju, Korea in November, and she was a winner in the Cheo Aponte Tournament, as she triumphed over AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion Yenebier Guillen in the Middleweight class (75 kg) final.
Team of the tournament
The Puerto Ricans claimed six gold medals in the men’s section of the Cheo Aponte Tournament, while the US dominated the women’s competition in Caguas.
Besides Claressa Shields, London 2012 bronze medallist Marlen Esparza also won a gold for America after beating Brazil’s experienced Clelia Costa.
The third US women’s gold medal was achieved by Melissa Parker, who is a new face in their team.
Parker defeated Puerto Rico’s top women’s boxer, and AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion Kiria Tapia in the final of the Lightweight class (60 kg).
Surprise of the tournament
Puerto Rico’s Jose Rosario had a fantastic tournament, and eliminated his teammate, the former AMBC American Junior Continental Champion Jonathan Irizarry in the quarter-finals.
The young Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer then eliminated Guatemala’s AIBA Road to Baku Program member Joselito Aguirre in the semi-final, and met with US National Champion and Independence Cup winner Genaro Gamez for the gold.
Rosario won a silver medal at the last edition of the Cheo Aponte Tournament, and went one better this time around, as he beat his US opponent in a close contest by split decision.
One to watch in the future
Brazil’s two-time Olympian Myke Carvalho has moved up two weight classes since he was seeded number two at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships.
The experienced boxer competed at the Middleweight category (75 kg) in Caguas and started his life at the new weight class with success, as he took home the gold medal.
Carvalho defeated Puerto Rico’s current National Champion Magdiel Cotto in the semi-final, and he was too smart for Marcos Osorio in the gold medal bout.
Stat/fact of the tournament
The Puerto Ricans used their home competition to check their current levels before the Central American & Caribbean Games which will be held later this year.
Bahamas competed in the event as part of their preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and three of their athletes have been selected to take part in Glasgow following their performance at the Cheo Aponte Tournament.
Gold medal winners at the Cheo Aponte Tournament
Women’s 51 kg: Marlen Esparza, United States
Women’s 60 kg: Melissa Parker, United States
Women’s 75 kg: Claressa Shields, United States
Men’s 49 kg: Billy Rosario, Puerto Rico
Men’s 52 kg: Jeyvier Cintron, Puerto Rico
Men’s 56 kg: Joshuantony Ortiz, Puerto Rico
Men’s 60 kg: Jose Rosario, Puerto Rico
Men’s 64 kg: Abraham Nova, United States
Men’s 69 kg: Niclaus Flaz, Puerto Rico
Men’s 75 kg: Myke Carvalho, Brazil
Men’s 81 kg: Luis Aponte, Puerto Rico
Men’s 91 kg: Juan Nogueira, Brazil
Men’s +91 kg: Lenroy “Cam Awesome” Thompson, United States