CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- The preliminaries of the 2012 Armed Forces Boxing Championship here are complete and the Army team has seven fighters going to the finals Friday night.
In the current standings, the Marines are tied with the Army, but the outcome of the finals will determine if the Army team can continue their winning streak and take team gold in 2012.
In the classic match-up of Army vs. Navy, Pvt. Marquis Moore entered into a brutal slugfest with newcomer Seaman Daniel Silva. Despite hammering blows leading to a several knockdowns, Silva kept getting up, but ultimately experience won out and Moore took the match 31-17. Moore fights in the 165-lb. weight class.
Spc. Steven Nelson took the fight directly to Tech. Sgt. Thomas Jacob, driving clean punches straight into Jacob's face every time he saw an opening, leading to a 20-8 win. Nelson is in the 178-lb. weight class.
Returning 2011 Armed Forces gold-medalist Sgt. Charles Blackwell sent Seaman Brandon Wicker's head spinning with thundering hooks and savaged through the bout to a 13-10 victory. Blackwell represents the Army in the 201-lb. weight class.
Another returning gold-medalist, Sgt. Toribio Ramirez, brawled it out with Airman 1st. Class Dustin Southchack, coming out on top for a 17-12 victory. Ramirez fights in the 132-lb. weight class.
Ramirez and Blackwell can both expect deja vu Friday as they face the same opponents for gold they fought in the 2011 Championship.
In 2011, Ramirez trailed Marine Cpl. Tommy Roque by a wide point margin, but rallied in the last round to edge him out for the gold medal. Blackwell and Senior Airman Kent Brinson mashed each other with power punches to the point of mutual exhaustion, but Blackwell came out on top.
The Army took two losses in the preliminaries.
Pfc. Maxamino Ramos couldn't catch a solid bead on the agile footwork of Marine Sgt. Jamel Herring, losing to Jamel's stick-and-move style 22-3. Ramos was fighting in the 141-lb weight class.
Spc. Sidney Williams hopes to advance were doused when Lance Cpl. Jonathan Steel turned up the heat in the second round with an all-out onslaught leading to a loss for Williams by referee stopped contest.
In the coming finals, the Army assumes the role of defending champion with two fighters defending their titles and team gold on the line.
The Pentagon Channel is capturing all the action from the championship -- its series will premier March 9.