CHATTANOOGA, TENN. – Six full days of boxing culminated in 11 championship round bouts on Saturday at the Chattanooga Convention Center. All 22 boxers stepped through the ropes with one thing on their mind – a National Golden Gloves championship. Yet only 11 could walk away with a national championship.
The first boxer to be crowned a 2007 National Golden Gloves champion enjoyed the same experience the previous year as defending light flyweight champion Luis Yanez (Duncanville, Texas) took home his second straight Golden Gloves title. Yanez defeated Francisco Ibarra (Brighton, Colo.) in their championship bout to take home his fourth national championship in the past two years.
Youth and experience faced off in the flyweight title bout as two-time National Golden Gloves champion Aaron Alafa (Visalia, Calif.) battled 2006 Under 19 National Champion Qa’id Muhammad (Atlantic City, N.J.). Experience won out as Alafa recorded a 4-1split decision over Muhammad to take his second straight National Golden Gloves title and third in the past six years.
A youngster grabbed the title in each of the next two weight divisions, beginning with the featherweight champion Ronny Rios (Santa Ana, Calif.). The 17-year-old won the gold in his first senior division tournament, taking a 3-2 split decision win over 2006 Under 19 National Champion Jorge Diaz, Jr. (New Brunswick, N.J.). Rios’ victory gave his California franchise two out of the first three national champions.
2005 Junior Olympic National Champion Hylon Williams (Houston, Texas) won his first senior division championship as well, pulling out a 3-2 decision over Raynell Williams (Cleveland, Ohio). At only 16-years-old, Hylon Williams is the youngest 2007 National Golden Gloves champion.
2006 Golden Gloves featherweight champion Sadam Ali (Brooklyn, N.Y.) moved up to the lightweight division for the 2007 edition, but he enjoyed the same success, winning his second straight Golden Gloves crown. Ali defeated Darwin Price, Jr. (St. Louis, Mo.) by a 5-0 margin in the lightweight championship bout to take the gold medal.
Light welterweight Brad Solomon (Douglasville, Ga.) joined Alafa in the three-time national champion club with a victory in his title bout with Jessie Vargas (Las Vegas, Nev.). Solomon won a 5-0 decision over Vargas to win his third straight title and his second consecutive light welterweight crown.
The defending champion winning streak continued into welterweight action as 2006 champ Demetrius Andrade (Providence, R.I.) won his second straight with a final round victory over Charles Hatley (Dallas, Texas). Andrade recorded a 4-1 win in the final round contest to secure this second straight Golden Gloves crown and fourth national championship overall.
In middleweight action, 2006 Under 19 National Champion Shawn Porter (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) grabbed his first senior division national championship with a final round win over J’Leon Love (Dearborn Heights, Mich.). Porter won a 5-0 decision over Love in the middleweight championship bout to win his first Golden Gloves title.
A first-time champion was crowned in the light heavyweight division as well with Siju Shabazz (Las Cruces, N.M.) winning his first national championship in Chattanooga. Shabazz pulled out a 3-2 split decision win over 2004 National Golden Gloves champion De’Rae Crane (Davenport, Iowa/NMU) to take the light heavyweight crown.
Two heavyweights new to the national scene faced off in an exciting championship bout with Deontay Wilder (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) and David Thompson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) competing for gold. With less than 20 bouts of amateur boxing experience, Wilder won a National Golden Gloves title, taking a 5-0 decision over Thompson to win the heavyweight crown.
The super heavyweight division closed the evening and the event with a battle between 2005 Golden Gloves runner-up Nathaniel James (Malden, Mass.) and Tyler Turner (Washington DC). James finished in exciting fashion, stopping Turner in the second round to win his first Golden Gloves title.
All of the 2007 National Golden Gloves champions earn a berth in the quarterfinal round of the 2007 U.S. Championships, the lone direct qualifier for the Olympic Team Trials – Boxing. The top eight boxers from the U.S. Championships, which will be contested June 2-8 in Colorado Springs, Colo., will advance to the Olympic Trials.
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