The 2016 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships and Junior Open came to a close on Saturday night with 23 champions crowned after an exciting week of competition.
What began as 677 boxers looking for a shot at national titles ended with a rambunctious crowd of spectators cheering on the final two rings’ bouts at the KCI Expo Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The final four youth divisions took center stage to begin the evening session before the elite men and women stepped into the ring for their final bouts.
Local favorite Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) continued his reign of dominance taking home his fifth national title in front of screaming fans in the heavyweight division against Florida native Blake Davis. 2016 Olympian Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) and teammate Christiana Cruz (New York, N.Y.) each grabbed back-to-back titles after wins in the same weight divisions in 2015. Cruz was later named the Outstanding Female Elite Boxer of the Tournament.
Fresh off a three-week stint in St. Petersburg, Russia, three youth world championship members made a fierce start to their careers in the elite category with title wins. Fernando Martinez (Phoenix, Ariz.) was the first to take the championship win in the 114 weight class.
2016 Youth World Champion Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) became the nation’s first ranked elite 132-pound boxer less than two weeks after becoming the first in the world in the same youth category. The last member of the St. Petersburg squad to take to the ring was Freudis Rojas (Las Vegas, Nev.) as he added a national and Outstanding Elite Boxer of the Tournament titles to his resume.
Fernando Diaz (N. Las Vegas, Nevada) and Na’Shay Bradford (Toledo, Ohio) were named Outstanding Junior Boxers of the Tournament as Diana Estrada (Hillsboro, Oregon) and Lorenzo Simpson (Baltimore, Maryland) took the honors in the youth category. The tournament closed a successful year for USA Boxing as these athletes will look to continue the prosperity of Team USA into the 2017 year at home and abroad.