The 2012 Olympic Games in London will be the start of a large rebuilding process for the U.S. Olympic boxing program following a one-medal showing at the 2008 Games. Yet with the first three-time U.S. boxing Olympian in history, experienced female boxers competing in the first Olympic Games for the sport and a talented group of newcomers, expectations are high in London.
A total of 12 boxers will represent Team USA – nine men and three women.
Two-time Olympian and 2007 World Champion Rau’shee Warren is the first U.S. boxer ever to make the three-peat on the Olympic stage. Warren is now boxing at the new 114-pound weight division following the elimination of his 112-pound weight class. He possesses a rare blend of experience, speed and skills he hopes will lead him to his first appearance on the Olympic medal stand. Warren added a second world championship bronze medal to his trophy case at the 2011 World Championships.
“We want to represent the United States well,” Warren said. “The team is going to do what we need to do to win and bring some medals back.”
Three-time welterweight national champion Errol Spence, Jr. was one of three U.S. boxers to qualify his Olympic berth with a top-10 finish at the 2011 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. One of the most consistent and experienced male boxers on the U.S. squad other than Warren, Spence will look to utilize what he’s learned over the last four years.
“It’s a privilege to be wearing the American flag,” Spence, Jr. said. “I am enjoying the moment right now and soaking it all in.”
While bantamweight Joseph Diaz Jr. is the youngest member of USA Boxing, it hasn’t prevented him from qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in one of the new weight divisions. Diaz, a two-time national champion, won his bantamweight division at the U.S. Olympic Trials in August 2011, prior to finishing in the top 10 at the 2011 World Championships to punch his ticket for London.
“I am just focused and determined,” Diaz, Jr. said. “I train every single day for this.”
Boxing is scheduled to begin with first-round matches July 28.