The American flyweights took the Pan American Games boxing stage in final round action on Saturday at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, men’s flyweight Antonio Vargas (Kissimmee, Florida) winning an impressive, unanimous (3-0) decision victory over Yosbany Veitia (Cuba) to claim Pan American gold.
Vargas is the first American male to win gold in Pan American boxing competition since Karl Dargan in 2007, Vargas winning four impressive bouts en route to his Pan Am gold.
This kid is the real deal.
“I worked hard for this victory. This is what I trained for, to be victorious. Cuba has a big name so coming in to this tournament, I studied Cuba and how to beat them and his strengths and his weaknesses. I’ve been studying him and training just for him. The right hand dictated the pace in the first round and got respect right off the bat. He usually keeps his hands low and with me, he was keeping them up so he respected me. I wanted to break his rhythm. He has good rhythm so the plan was to take his left side away and just throw punches in the middle,” Vargas said. “This is a good confidence booster. I feel really confident now, but always stay humble. This was a good experience and it helped me evolve as a better boxer. Getting another gold medal (in the 2016 Olympics) is my goal.”
Mandy Bujold (Canada) took on Marlen Esparza (Houston Texas) with hometown girl Bujold escaping with a close, very controversial, (2-1) split decision win for the women’s flyweight title.
Esparza boxed well but the loud and supportive Canadian crowd cheered wildly with every punch Bujold landed, that seemingly having an effect on the judges scoring, Esparza settling for the silver.
Finishing 2nd in the Team Standings (boxing) was redemption for the USA after not medaling in the 2011 Pan American Games boxing competition, the 2015 Pan American Games a huge success, bringing home 5 medals.
Antonio Vargas and 2012 Olympic champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Michigan) won gold, Esparza getting silver and bantamweight Francisco Martinez (Dallas, Texas) along with super heavyweight Cam F. Awesome (Lenexa, Kansas) winning bronze, made for an acceptable USA showing at the 2015 Pan American Games boxing tournament.
Claressa Shields was voted (by the American athletes) to serve as the flag bearer for the United States team in Sunday’s Pan American Games Closing Ceremonies, the reigning Olympic, Pan American Games and World Champion leading the United States delegation tonight, Team USA athletes returning to the United States on Monday.