U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing Media Conference Call Highlights
(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Five of the top athletes competing in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing took part in a media conference call on Thursday, speaking on a wide array of topics. Two-time Olympian and 2007 World Champion Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio), two-time national champion and 2011 USA Boxing National Championships Outstanding Boxer Jose Ramirez (Avenal, Calif.), three-time national champions Louie Byrd (Denver, Colo.) and Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) and 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Champion Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) all took time out of their training schedules to participate in Thursday’s call.
The five of them will join their fellow elite boxers for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, July 31-August 6 at the Mobile Civic Center, in Mobile, Ala. The event will be a culmination of 10 months of qualifying tournaments in the 10 men’s weight divisions, which began in October at the 2010 National PAL Championships.
All of the participants will travel to Mobile on Friday, July 29 before the event draw on Saturday, July 30. Quarterfinal action in the champions’ bracket will begin on Sunday, July 31 and challengers bracket competition will start on Monday, August 1 and the first days of the tournament will feature two sessions.
The 10 winners at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing will represent the United States at the first international Olympic qualifier, 2011 AIBA Men’s World Boxing Championships, September 22-October 10, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing Media Teleconference Highlights
On the benefit of having a full quad to prepare for the upcoming run at London
“I’ve had a little more international experience, so I got to see styles from all over the world and I think that is a big advantage on my part.”
On having extra motivation following his championship round loss to David Carlton at the USA Boxing National Championships
“After that loss we went back to the drawing board, and the way my Dad put it that after winning so much you start to feel comfortable and little mistakes that can cost you, don’t really come out. But after that loss we went back and we saw those mistakes and we came back to the gym and we are now fixing those. I really do hope that I pull David Carlton at the trials because it will be a much different fight. I have been working on some things that are going to help me beat him more convincingly.”
On what he learned from facing taller boxers
“I was too focused on slowing him (David Carlton) down with the body shots, and I wasn’t really focused as much on getting those headshot points as I should have been. (With Correa) That fight shouldn’t have been so close. I had just gotten a bad cold before that fight, and I was not at my full potential, but he is a great fighter. I had to just sit there and rough it out. I know at the trials its going to a whole lot different story, everyone is going to see a different Louie Byrd.”
On the recent changes to the scoring system
“I feel like this is good for American boxers because we are used to fighting other countries that hit and run. Evidently if they throw a punch, they might not get a point so they have to let their hands go sort of like Ray Leonard did in 1976 Olympics when they were letting their punches go and throwing combinations so we just have to stay busy.”
On why he decided to stay amateur and try to go to a third Olympic Games
“When I lost it was a difficult decision to make. We worked so hard to get this far, but overall when I started thinking to the think about it. I thought of the dream I’ve had since I was young. Being the only one next to my mom while my brother is going in jail, it just kind of stuck with me that this is the dream that I want and I am still going to chase it. I am not going to give up and I am going to keep working hard for it. I want to get the medal and put it around my mom’s neck. I know how hard we worked for it. I remember there were a lot of times that I was training, and I was kind of slacking and she was there to push me. I feel like if my older brother was there, that he would have kept me going. I know he is behind me, but he is still locked up. She was always that person; she was like the brothers and the daddy. I feel that doing this is going to be a life changing experience.”
On anything he will do differently going into the Olympic Trials and potentially Olympic Games
“I’m working on sharpening my shots and trying to figure out how I’m going to score so the judges can see my punches land. There are a lot of times when I throw a combination and only get one or two points. I’m going to stay busy from the first through the third because as you could see at the 2008 Olympics, I thought I was up and let up off the gas. I stopped going after the guy then I found out I was down one. So I figure if I would have stayed busy from the first through the last round, I feel like I would have pulled out a victory.”
On what he learned from his loss to Erick DeLeon at the Golden Gloves and his plan for a potential rematch
“He is a strong fighter. He comes in real strong on the inside and kind of tries to brawl you into the ropes. I feel like I wasn’t fighting as strong as I should have been fighting. I came back and now I am using more of my ring movement and more jabs and learning how to fight on the inside as well. If Erick DeLeon or others want to come on the inside, I will be ready for them. I’ve been working on throwing short punches, and I’ll make sure the punches land real clean for the judges to see the points.
On any fellow lightweights that concern him and whether he feels that his run through the USA Boxing National Championships gave him extra confidence
“I’m not going into the Olympic Trials over-confident. I do have confidence in myself that I have the skill, talent and power to come out victorious. I fought Damon Allen and Toka Kahn Clary at the USA Boxing National Championships and I think I did good with them. I looked strong and they felt my power. Even just my jab, they felt my jab and once they felt my jab, they would try and run away. I felt like winning the USA Boxing National Championships again and getting Outstanding Boxer just raises my confidence and it’s just great motivation to me.
It’s good to go into the Olympic Trials strong. To be honest, there’s no one at 132 pounds that worries me, I feel like I’m the threat at this weight class. I feel like they are looking forward to fighting me, and they are getting ready for me, but I’m getting ready for them and I don’t feel any pressure. I am just going to go out and try my best and hopefully come out victorious once again.”
On how he won three straight national titles despite limited experience
“My supporting cast and my work ethic, and just trying to be the best and perfecting my craft. I’m doing what I need to do to win, and listening to my coach and my supporting cast.”
On the changes to the scoring system
“At the USA Boxing National Championships, I didn’t really see a difference but you do have to throw a lot more punches and you have to stay a lot busier because by throwing out the one second window, the clickers are going off.
On the difference between boxing at super heavyweight and his new heavyweight division
“These guys are in a little bit better shape, and I am going to have to be a little busier. Last time, I was able to pick and chose when I wanted to fight because of my feet. This time, I think it is going to be a little different and I am going to have to fight a little more then usual.
On his decision to stay amateur after winning the 2008 Olympic Trials
“The biggest reason is probably my father. As a kid, he and I always talked about fighting in the Olympics and getting a gold medal before anything. I was just so close to it (in 2008), so close, but so far at the same time. I was younger and now I am a lot more mature and heavyweights usually mature a little later in their career so I just decided to give myself a chance to get that gold medal.
On being prepared for a potential showdown with 2010 USA Boxing Athlete of the Year Steve Geffrard
“Most definitely! I just got back into the ring at the 2011 Golden Gloves. In the gloves, I thought I did just all right. I was happy to get the best boxer award. I’m definitely ready, I have the experience and I’m in great condition. The question is – Is he ready for me? I’m really the favorite to win the thing. So that is the thing for him. I’m the more experienced and older guy here so hopefully I will get the W.”
On what he learned from his father’s own professional boxing career
“As a little kid, I always grew up around boxing, just us talking and watching tapes. It’s just something that I’m accustomed to. At the time, I wasn’t really boxing but just being around him and having that knowledge all the time helped me out when I did start my career. I kind of already knew some of the game so I guess it did a lot for me.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).