By Gav Duthie: Part 3 focuses on Team America and the amateur scene in 2012. Boxing in the Olympics used to be a straight shoot between America and Cuba but those days are long gone. There have been no gold medals for the men since Andre Ward in 2004. In fact there have barely been any medals at all. The talent hasn’t dropped in the United States but the priorities have changed.
If I can convey one example of the attitude shift in America it would be Christopher ‘Lil B-Hop’ Colbert. The 20 year old is a 6-0(2) professional turning pro at 18 after an amateur record boasting 113-3. When interviewed at 15 he wanted to be the next American Olympic gold medalist. At 17 the money men had got to him and he now wanted to be the next ‘Money’ Mayweather. This is not a criticism of this young athlete, if you can make money why wait. The US team didn’t win any medals in 2012 but most are fairing pretty well in the pros. The young athletes have a combined record 165-4(107) with one current and one former world champion.
Dominic Breazeale 18-1 (16)
Heavyweight title contender
Dom Breazeale a former quarter was new to the sport when dominated by Magomed Omarov in round 2 of 2012 Olympics. He is still finding his feet in the pros weighing anywhere between 235 to 285 pounds as he finds his best fighting strategy. Breazeale was dominated by Anthony Joshua in an IBF title shot in 2016 but he came back with his best win in a 2017 fight of the year against previously unbeaten Izuagbe Ugonoh.
Michael Hunter 12-1(8)
Cruiserweight title contender
Hunter has a lot to live with being the son of Mike ‘The Bounty’ Hunter’s son, a fringe contender heavyweight who holds impressive wins over Oliver McCall, Pinklon Thomas and Dwight Qawi. Hunter died in 2006 age 46 when he was shot dead in a hotel. His son is a good boxer with his only loss a world title shot v Oleksandr Usykbut he looked great early on. His olympic loss was a countback against Artur Beterbiev so no disgrace there. He is definitely one to look out for.
Marcus Browne 19-0(14)
Light Heavyweight contender
Browne lost in the first round of 2012 against Australian Damien Hooper. He is rolling well in the pros though still undefeated with a good win over Thomas Williams Jnr. He fights fellow undefeated boxer Sean Monaghan this Saturday in a real acid test. If he wins that it will likely be a title shot next.
Terrell Gausha 20-0(9) age. 29
Super welterweight contender
Gausha has an impressive pro record but is yet to step up in competition. He won his first fight at 2012 by knockout and only narrowly lost in the last 16 to Indian superstar Vijender Singh. At 29 he still has time but should step up quite soon in a division that has a lot of opportunities.
Errol Spence Jnr 22-0(19)
IBF welterweight champion
Spence was the last man standing in 2012 for the US but went out in the quarter finals. As a pro however he is already seen as one of the best fighters in the world. He holds wins over Kell Brook, Chris Van Heerden, Leonard Bundu and Chris Algieri. He is already looking like a cert for a pound for pound place and will look to unify against the likes of Keith Thurman.
Jamel Herring 16-1 (9)
31 year old Herring lost his first real elite fight against two time world title challenger Denis Shafikov by 10th round knock out. He isn’t messing about though fighting unbeaten Alejandro Luma 22-0 at the end of the month to get back to contender status.
Jose Ramirez 20-0(15)
Jnr Welterweight contender
Ramirez narrow loss in 2012 was team US 6th loss in a row. He was only 19 and turned pro straight after. He has racked up 20 straight wins at super lightweight but as yet hasn’t stepped up to elite level. If Crawford beats Indongo in their ‘winner takes all belts’ contest it is quite possible that he could be in line for a shot if Crawford moves up in weight.
Joseph Diaz Jnr 24-0(13)
Diaz lost to world champion Cuban Lazaro Alvarez in the second round. He is a class act though. He has yet to fight for a world title but has stepped up to a high level against the likes of Manuel Avila and Jayson Velez and is still winning easy. He is ranked high with the WBO so a shot against Oscar Valdez could come shortly.
Rau’Shee Warren 14-2(4)
Former WBA Bantamweight World Champion
Warren has a huge amateur background and was World Amateur Champion in 2007. He is now 30 and resisted the urge to turn professional and competed in 3 Olympic games (2004, 2008, 2012). He was eliminated in the first round of all 3 the most notable loss to Zou Shiming in 04′. Warren hasn’t waited around already winning and losing a world title. Both his defeats to Payano and Zhakinayov were close and he was very angry at the results. He is talented but still boxes a bit like an amateur and needs to get better on the inside. He can definitely be world champion again.
2016 fared little better for team U.S with Shakur Stevenson grabbing a silver medal. Female Claressa Shields won gold again but with most top American prospects turning pro so early these days it might be a while before we get another gold medalist.