In Santiago, Chile, during the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games, Team USA Boxing showcased their strength by clinching three wins, bringing their score for the day to 3-1.
Omari Jones from Orlando, Florida, showcased his aggression against Puerto Rico’s Angel Gabriel Llanos Perez. Jones masterfully delivered multiple combinations, dominating the first two rounds with a 4-1 score. The climax was the unanimous approval from the judges in the final round, one of whom even marked it 10-8. With one judge’s scorecard tied, Jones emerged victorious with a 4-0 score.
Jones’s next fight? He’s up against Mexico’s Marco Alonso Verde Alvarez in the quarterfinals. Their history is spicy; they previously clashed at the 2022 AMBC Continental Championships semifinals. Alvarez had a slight edge over Jones in that thrilling fight, winning by split decision. Circle Oct. 25 on your calendar because that’s when they’ll square off again. The victor will not only advance but is also assured a medal.
Now, let’s talk about the sensational Jajaira Gonzalez from Glendora, California. Facing Canada’s Garinder Takhar, she was all fire and fury from the get-go. In the initial minute, Gonzalez’s fierce attacks led the referee to hand Takhar an eight count. Gonzalez’s unyielding spirit was evident when she swiftly got another eight count, leading the referee to end the fight in her favor with an RSC victory in the first round.
Dreams of the 2024 Paris Olympics fuel Gonzalez’s ambition. Her next hurdle? Camila Paola Pineiro Muino in the upcoming quarterfinals. Winning this fight not only paves her way to the semifinals but also punches her ticket to the Paris Olympic Games 2024.
And let’s not forget Emilio Garcia from Laredo, Texas. He wanted to wrap up the day with some fireworks for Team USA. Bursting with energy, he took on Jesus Nazaret Cova Romero of Venezuela. After capturing the first round 4-1, Garcia dominated the second round. Romero faced an eight count, with less than a minute left. Garcia’s victory was clear with a unanimous decision, and he’s all set for the next round.
Up next for Garcia? He’s set to fight Alexy Miguel De La Cruz Baez from the Dominican Republic on Oct. 25. The stakes? A chance at the semifinals and, of course, a guaranteed medal.
Team USA’s featherweight, Yoseline Perez, set the tone for the day. Her opponent, Airas Cataneda Yeni Marcela from Columbia, proved challenging. Despite Perez’s solid start, winning the first round 4-1, Marcela’s experience gave her an edge. She took both the subsequent rounds and the overall fight, 4-1.
On day five, the spotlight will be on featherweight duo Alyssa Mendoza from Caldwell, Idaho, and Jahmal Harvey from Oxon Hill, Maryland. Mendoza’s morning will be action-packed as she squares off against Canada’s Marie-Bathoul Al-Ahmadieh. Meanwhile, Harvey’s afternoon will see him fighting 2020 Olympian, Keevin Allicock of Guyana.
Fun fact? This Pan American Games is the gateway to the Paris Olympic Games 2024 for American boxers. For a direct ticket to Paris, male boxers need to be in the top two, while female boxers in the 57 kg and 60 kg divisions need to be in the top four. With participants from 27 countries, this 19th edition of the Pan American Games is definitely one for the books!