USA Boxing to Open 2013; Braehmer vs. Gutknecht

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – USA Boxing is opening 2013 international action with two events on opposite sides of the globe. Team USA will travel to China and the Dominican Republic for competitions in February as a pair of athletes head to Beijing for a dual event, February 4-7, while eight boxers will compete in the Independence Cup in Santiago later in the month.

With 2013 marking the start of a new quadrennial, the athletes are excited to embark on a fresh start for USA Boxing. The Independence Cup squad is currently taking part in a preparatory camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs prior to departing for Santiago on February 16. The athletes arrived in Colorado Springs on Monday for the three-week camp, the first of the year at the Olympic Training Center.

The Independence Cup roster features a strong mix of experienced international veterans and talented newcomers to the global scene. 2012 U.S. Olympian Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and 2012 Women’s World Championships silver medalist Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) will compete in female division action in the Dominican Republic. On the men’s side, six 2012 National PAL Champions will attempt to extend their domestic success to the international stage. Light flyweight Laroy Davila (Brunswick, N.J.), flyweight Shawn Simpson (Chicago, Ill.), bantamweight Gary Salazar (Fresno, Calif.), lightweight Kenneth Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.), light welterweight Erickson Lubin (Kissimmee, Fla.), and welterweight Rashidi Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) will be the six men’s boxers representing Team USA in the Independence Cup.

2012 Women’s World Championships bronze medalist Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and 2012 National PAL Champion Steven Nelson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will travel to Beijing for the USA vs. China Dual. The duo will be led by 2012 Olympic Coach Charles Leverette at the international dual in China.

USA Boxing International Teaching Coach Pedro Roque Otano (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will run the Independence Cup training camp at the Olympic Training Center and Edward Rivas (San Antonio, Texas) will join him for the preparatory camp and join the squad as the Head Coach in the Dominican Republic.

Athletes from 16 nations competed in the 2012 Independence Cup, but the full list of countries competing and the complete competition schedule for the 2013 event have not yet been announced. USA Boxing is currently finalizing its full 2013 international calendar and it will be released shortly.

International Rosters

USA vs. China Dual

119 lbs/female: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y.

178 lbs/male: Steven Nelson, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Coach: Charles Leverette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Independence Cup

108 lbs/male: Laroy Davila, Brunswick, N.J.

114 lbs/male: Shawn Simpson, Chicago, Ill.

123 lbs/male: Gary Salazar, Fresno, Calif.

132 lbs/male: Kenneth Sims, Jr., Chicago, Ill.

132 lbs/female: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash.

141 lbs/male: Erickson Lubin, Kissimmee, Fla.

152 lbs/male: Rashidi Ellis, Lynn, Mass.

165 lbs/female: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif.

International Teaching Coach: Pedro Roque Otano, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Head Coach: Edward Rivas, San Antonio, Texas

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).

Gutknecht: I have to keep the belt – for the kids!

Tension is rising now that the all-German European Championship clash between Eduard Gutknecht (24-1, 9 KOs) and Juergen Braehmer (38-2, 30 KOs) is just days away. Before the first bell rings on Saturday night to start the bout, both combatants met on Tuesday for the obligatory public workout and proved that they are in great shape.

The first one to show off his set of skills was Juergen Braehmer. The 34-year-old was hitting the pads of coach Karsten Roewer. And the southpaw proved that despite his age he still has the power and precision required to make it at world level. Nevertheless, he was keen not to give too much away, especially as Gutknecht’s trainer Ulli Wegner was following the action just inches away. “He didn’t show his lovely uppercut”, said Wegner. Braehmer also kept his prognosis open for the championship bout. Asked who would win on February 2 the former WBO Champion casually replied: “The better man on the night!”

Current titlist Eduard Gutknecht on the other hand had a very obvious prediction of the outcome. “My children (Mark, 3 and Noel, 4) use the EBU Belt as a toy and carry it around the house telling everybody that I have won it. I have to defend it or otherwise they won’t have anything to play with on Sunday.” However, coach Ulli Wegner revealed that Gutknecht’s motivation has another reason: “I am not surprised at all. Eduard wants to win on Saturday because he is aiming for a World Championship.”

The road to the top of the light heavyweight division is still a long one for Robert Woge (10-0, 9 KOs). Still, the German has a real career highlight ahead of him when he enters the ring at the Max-Schmeling-Halle. For the first time ever, the 28-year-old will challenge for title honors. The orthodox boxer takes on Hakim Zoulikha (18-3, 9 KOs) for the vacant IBF-Intercontinental Title and promises to deliver a real spectacle for the fans. “The people want to see two grown man beating each other up. That is exactly what you can expect watching my fights.”

Tickets for the big fight night at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany can be purchased at www.boxen.com and www.eventim.de.


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