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U.S. Boxers To Take On Puerto Rico At Eldorado

By Steve Sneddon

April 6, 2004
Copyright ©2004 RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL. All rights reserved.

It's one of the stepping stones for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team as it makes its way to Athens this summer.

The U.S. will face Puerto Rico's Olympic Boxing Team in a dual at the Eldorado Hotel Casino showroom Friday, May 7.

The U.S. team will include five boxers who have qualified for the Olympics and six alternates. Among the alternates will be 106-pounder Diego Hurtado of Sparks, who was a runner-up in the Olympic Trials Box-offs.

Three Olympic team members from California - 178-pounder Andre Ward of Oakland, 152-pounder Vanes Martiroysan of Glendale and 132-pounder Vicente Escobedo of Woodland - will box in the dual. Martiroysan has been living in Virginia City and training in Reno.

"They (Puerto Rico) are one of the strongest teams in North and South America," said Clay Hicks, the manager of marketing and events for USA Boxing. "They're one of the teams that did well at the Olympic qualifier (in Tijuana, Mexico)."

The Reno dual will be the first of the two between the U.S. and Puerto Rico with the teams boxing again at Trenton, N.J., May 15. At Trenton, the remaining six U.S. Olympic team members and five different alternates will face the same team from Puerto Rico,"

"This is the team from North and South America that our coaches wanted to go against because of their style," Hicks said.

The Reno bouts will be a rematch of a dual that the U.S. won over Puerto Rico, 7-3, in Trenton, N.J., last year. It will be the U.S. team's second appearance in Reno in six months after taking a 7-4 dual victory over France.

On Puerto Rico's team will be four boxers who have already qualified for the Olympics and more are expected to earn berths in the qualifier at Rio de Janeiro that ends Sunday. Heading the group that has qualified is 132-pounder Alexander DeJesus, who qualified by reaching the finals of the Pan American Games before losing to Cuban star Mario Kindelan, 22-2.

Also among the qualifers are 112-pounder Joseph Serrano, 119-pounder Juan Lopez and 125-pounder Carlos Velazquez. They all qualified by reaching the finals in Tijuana.

Mike Martino of Reno, the treasurer of USA Boxing, said he expects the U.S. team in Reno to have more depth than the team in Trenton.

Tickets for the dual are $75 each. Martino said he expects the tickets to go on sale at the Eldorado's ticket office by Friday.

Both the U.S. and Puerto Rico teams will arrive in Reno on May 3. Puerto Rico won't leave until May 12, taking advantage of a long stay in Reno for high-elevation training.

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