Friday, May 28, 2004

U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Prepares



DATE: May 27, 2004

CONTACT: Julie Goldsticker (719-330-4072)

U.S. Olympic Boxing Team Prepares to Take On Top Athletes From Around the World at the 2004 Titan Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - With their first international competition as Olympians under their belts, the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team looks to face the top boxers from Germany, Korea and Mexico at the 2004 Titan Games, June 18-20 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.

Although the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team competed in two international duals in May, the Titan Games will be the first competition where all nine U.S. Olympians compete in the same venue. With teams from Korea, Mexico and Germany traveling to Atlanta, the U.S. team will get a strong mix of diverse, strong talent, leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

2003 Pan American Games super heavyweight champion Jason Estrada of Providence, R.I., will be competing in his first Titan Games. The 23-year-old is not only the first U.S. super heavyweight to win Pan Am gold but also the first non-Cuban and he will look to extend his international success in Atlanta. 2001 World Championships bronze medalist Ron Siler of Cincinnati, Ohio, will also be boxing in the Titan Games for the first time. The flyweight (112 lbs/51 kg) Olympian is the only World Championships medalist currently competing for USA Boxing. Light heavyweight (178 lbs/81 kg) Andre Ward of Oakland, Calif., is accustomed to the thrill of boxing in the multi-sport event. Ward, a two-time national champion hasn’t suffered a loss since 1998, and he will be boxing in his second straight Titan Games.

“The 2003 Titan Games were a great experience for me; they really give you the feel of an Olympic Games with all the different sports being contested in one place,” Ward said. “Mexico, Germany and Korea will give me great competition as we train for the Olympics. The light heavyweight from Mexico was the Pan American Games champion; Germany will give me experience facing the European style; and Korea is always tough. The competition I face at the Titan Games will be essential in my preparation for the Olympic Games.”

Seventeen-year-old Junior Olympic Champion, light flyweight (106 lbs/48 kg) Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati, Ohio; 2003 lightweight (132 lbs/60 kg) National Champion Vicente Escobedo of Woodland, Calif.; three-time National Champion, light welterweight (141 lbs/64 kg) Rock Allen of Philadelphia, Pa.; 2004 Western Trials welterweight (152 lbs/69 kg) champion Vanes Martirosyan of Glendale, Calif.; two-time national champion, now competing at middleweight (165 lbs/75 kg) Andre Dirrell of Flint, Mich.; and 2003 heavyweight (201 lbs/91 kg) National Champion Devin Vargas of Toledo, Ohio, round out the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team showcasing their skills in Atlanta.

Two non-Olympians will complete the U.S. delegation as 2004 U.S. Championships bantamweight (119 lbs/54 kg) silver medalist Torrence Daniels of Fort Carson, Colo., and 2004 U.S. Championships featherweight (125 lbs/57 kg) silver medalist Ray Lampkin of Portland, Ore., join the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta.

The 2004 Titan Games team will be led by the Olympic coaching staff made up of Head Coach Basheer Abdullah of Fort Carson, Colo.; Assistant Coach Anthony Bradley of Philadelphia, Pa.; Assistant Coach Joe Zanders of Long Beach, Calif.; Technical Assistant Al Mitchell of Marquette, Mich., and Sandy Martinez-Pino of Albuquerque, N.M., will serve as Team Manager.

“We are very excited about the four countries that have accepted our invitation to this event and expect quality Olympic-style competition from all three countries,” Abdullah said. “The Titan Games will give the young U.S. team more international experience and allow them to become familiar with different styles of boxing before the Olympics.”

The U.S. team has faced off recently with their southern border rivals, taking on the Mexican team in several weight classes in the second Americas Qualifier in Tijuana, Mexico.

“We are very familiar with Mexico’s style of boxing,” Abdullah said. “They are a very aggressive team that forces you to be on your game or they will run you out of the ring.”

The Korean team competed in the United States in February of 2002, taking part in the USA vs. China/Korea Dual, but many of the U.S. boxers have not faced an Asian boxer and their experience at the Titan Games can provide valuable knowledge for them as the prepare for Athens.

The athletes from Germany complete the unique puzzle of talent competing in Atlanta, as the majority of the U.S. team has not faced boxers from Germany. The European nations provide a different style of boxing than many members of the U.S. delegation have seen, and facing off with the German athletes will give them valuable knowledge.

“Germany develops some of the best boxers in Europe and I was very excited they accepted the invitation,” added Abdullah. “They will really test the physical and mental abilities of our young boxers because Europeans are very physical. The Koreans will test us more mentally than physically because of their unorthodox style. I expect them to be tough in most of the lighter weight divisions.”

The Titan Games will be the final event for the U.S. Olympic Team before they compete in the Olympic Games in Athens.

Titan Games Boxing Roster:

106 lbs/48 kg: Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio*

112 lbs/51 kg: Ron Siler, Cincinnati, Ohio*

119 lbs/54 kg: Torrence Daniels, Fort Carson, Colorado

125 lbs/57 kg: Ray Lampkin, Portland, Ore.

132 lbs/60 kg: Vicente Escobedo, Woodland, Calif.*

141 lbs/64 kg: Rock Allen, Philadelphia, Pa.*

152 lbs/69 kg: Vanes Martirosyan, Glendale, Calif.*

165 lbs/75 kg : Andre Dirrell, Flint, Mich.*

178 lbs/81 kg: Andre Ward, Oakland, Calif.*

201 lbs/91 kg: Devin Vargas, Toledo, Ohio*

201+ lbs/91+ kg: Jason Estrada, Providence, R.I.*

*2004 Olympian

The Titan Games

A property of the U.S. Olympic Committee in partnership with the affiliated National Governing Bodies and hosted by the Atlanta Sports Council, The Titan Games, Built by Home Depot, is a multi-sport competition featuring the Olympic sports of boxing, fencing, judo, shot put, taekwondo and wrestling. The edgy, fast-paced mini-sports festival debuted in 2003 and will be the final competition for more than 180 U.S. and international athletes on their Road to Athens. The Titan Games -- It’s not all the Olympic Sports, Just the Most Painful Ones!

Matt Garvey

Director of Communications

Atlanta Sports Council | Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl