The 13-strong Mexican boxing team is raring to go as the Panamerican Games get underway today on home-soil. The squad held long training and sparring sessions with the French, English, Brazilian, Swedish and Spanish teams during the AIBA World Boxing Championships in order to be fully prepared for the challenges ahead.
Baku was a great opportunity for the Mexican team to actively prepare for the Games. With their boxers not in top form in the Azeri capital, they did not manage to gain any qualification places for London 2012 there but they will be gunning for the spots made available at the American Olympic Qualification Tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May 2012.
For the very first time in the history of the Panamerican Games, female boxers will be taking part in the official program. There will be three weight categories in the competition and with the Mexican women's team the youngest amongst the participants in Guadalajara, many pundits believe their youthful dynamism will bring them several medals. Their most talented boxers are the 20-year-old Flyweight Panamerican Championships bronze medallist Silvia Torres, newly crowned National Olympiad winner Erika Cruz in the Lightweight category, while another Panamerican Championships bronze medallist, Alma Nora Ibarra will herself compete in with the Middleweights.
Mexico's youngest team member in the men's is 18-year-old Youth National Olympiad winner Joselito Velazquez, who also competed at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku. Their No.1 Flyweight, 20-year-old Elias Emigdio is an experienced WSB fighter as well as an AIBA World Championships competitor so will be targeting a podium finish at least.
Oscar Valdez is the only boxer in the team who fought at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games and he followed that up by winning a gold medal at the AIBA Youth World Championships in Guadalajara later that year. Valdez's best performance at senior level was his bronze medal at the 2009 AIBA World Boxing Championships. He is primed now to win the Bantamweight category in his homeland.
WSB boxer and multiple-National Champion Angel Jordan Gutierrez is the country's Lightweight fighter and 21-year-old Juan Pablo Romero will be the representative in the Light Welterweights and they will both be targeting at least bronze.
Oscar Molina became AIBA Youth World Champion in Guadalajara three years ago but is still waiting for his breakthrough amongst the elite boxers. After failing in his first bout at the AIBA World Championships in Baku he now has the opportunity of redeeming himself when he again faces the man who eliminated him, Venezuela's Gabriel Maestre.
Mexico's Top Middleweight boxer Juan Mercado advanced to the last 16 in Baku and will look to build on that in Guadalajara. Armando Pina is the only male boxer who did not compete at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships and the young Light Heavyweight replaces Dario Alfaro who struggled in Azerbaijan.
Mario Heredia is only 19 but has got great experiences from the World Series of Boxing where he competed for the Mexico City Guerreros. The heavyweight teenager had one win in Baku but was then eliminated by the Russian titleholder Artur Beterbiev.
Last but not least, Mexico's Super Heavyweight boxer at the Panamerican Games will be Juan Isidro Hiracheta, also an experienced WSB campaigner. After a first round defeat to eventual Silver medallist at the 16th AIBA World Boxing Championships England's Anthony Joshua, Hiracheta coach expects at least a silver medal for his boxer at the forthcoming Panamerican Games.
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