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Roach ready to work with USA Women’s team
By Raquel Ruiz
Photos By Adriana Gonzalez
June 27, 2011


(JUNE 27)  The 2011 National Championships came to an end with three new women national champions in the Olympic weight classes, and Freddie Roach said he is ready to work with them during the summer.

“I’m very excited about the women, maybe they have the best chance to win gold,” said Roach who came to the national finals and sat ringside.

One of the three new champions is in the 112 lbs weight class, Marlen Esparza, from Houston, TX. She has been a favorite since day one, but who has had to fight in the most difficult bracket. She had bouts all week with the best boxers of her division.

“I feel that my hard work paid off and I don’t think in points, but in winning my bout,” said the now six-time national champion and one of the most favored women in the USA to go to the Olympics next year.

The second new champion, and also retaining her title, is Seattle, Washington native, Queen Underwood. She came from a difficult quest to finally conquer the spot to represent the USA in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Underwood also fought in one of the hardest brackets during the tournament but showed one more time why she is ranked third in the world.

During the second and third round Underwood was down in points. Tiara Brown from Leigh acres, Fla., was giving the champion a hard time with her movement and combinations.

“I knew I was down by a point and it scared me. I don’t like to lose so I knew what I had to do, so I finished with the win,” said Underwood who will be representing USA in the Pan American games in October.

The third woman to take the gold medal today in Colorado was 165 lbs Franchon Crews from Baltimore, Md. Crews came back to boxing after two years without competing.

Crews couldn’t get the point advantage over her opponent, savvy boxer Alyssa DeFazio, from Peoria, Ariz., until the end.

“My goal now is to improve my technique for the Pan American games,” said Crews.

During the summer, the tree boxers will be training in a camp with Roach and looking to compete next year in the Olympic trials, the world championships in China and hopefully in the Olympics.


Flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) made history on Saturday night, becoming only the third female boxer in history to win six straight national title. Esparza defeated Tyrieshia Douglas (Baltimore, Md.) 27-16 in a rematch of their 2010 showdown.

Lightweight Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) was the second female boxer to defend her crown on Saturday. Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) gave her a tough battle but Underwood won a 23-21 decision to take her fifth consecutive national championship.

Two former national champions faced off in the women’s middleweight division with Alyssa DeFazio (Peoria, Ariz.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) battling for the 2011 crown. Yet only one hand could be raised and the 2011 National Championship went to Crews on a 15-13 decision.

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