After the women’s Olympic trials last month, it is now the men’s turn to prove their place in the US Boxing Team for Rio 2016 as Reno hosts the trials tournament from 7-12 December in the wake of three selection and qualification events.
A total of 72 boxers across nine weights will be vying for a place after 19 year-old Carlos Balderas secured his lightweight berth thanks to an incredible Season V in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
Another rising star, Pan-American Games champion Antonio Vargas, looks ready to make the cut, as does 18 year-old Shakur Stevenson, who took gold at last year’s Youth Olympic Games and AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. He will first have to overcome the Californian Ruben Villa, however, who has beaten him twice already this year and is another strong a contender for the bantamweight spot in Rio.
The light flyweight class is set to be one of the tightest categories, with WSB hope Nico Hernandez, National Champion Leroy Davila and US National Golden Gloves winner Pablo Ramirez all chasing the top spot.
“I feel very good but only God knows what’s going to happen in the US National Olympic Trials in Reno. I am just going to do my best and we will see how I can perform there. My form is not bad, but can always be better. I am training as much as I can before this important event”, said Davila ahead of his trip to Reno.
Abraham Nova won gold at the 2014 US National Boxing Championships, but he can expect a tough time against the likes of WSB hope Tyrek Irby and Gary Russell for the light welterweight berth.
“My expectations are high and I am ready to win the tournament in Reno. My current form is great and after putting in a total of 42 hours training a week to accomplish my goal, I’m ready”, said New York-native Nova.
Two-time US National Champion Jose Alday is among the favourites for the welterweight place along with Brian Ceballo, another double US champion, LeShawn Rodriguez, looks strong at middleweight, and AIBA Youth World Champion Darmani Rock will be hoping to represent his country in Rio at super heavyweight.