Santiago, Chile – Puerto Rican boxing did not benefit this Wednesday, after the draw for the tournament of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and will debut this Thursday with the boxers Stephanie Pineiro and Caleb Tirado.
Six Puerto Rican fighters were drawn in the tournament – which Panam Sports oversees instead of the suspended International Boxing Association – and none received a bye in the first round of the tournament.
Even in the Pineiro division, in the 66 kilograms, they gave up to five ‘byes’ in the initial round.
“We had to take the hard road. I didn’t get a single ‘bye’ of the five they gave in my division. If the path is like this, it is because God knows I can pass it“said Pineiro, champion of the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador 2023.
Pineiro will fight this Thursday at 3:00 pm (Puerto Rico time) against the Venezuelan Yuliannys Alvarez.
Tirado will follow him at 4:00 pm against the Colombian Yilmar Gonzalez, gold winner of San Salvador 2023, in the 57 kilograms. If he wins, he will go to a fight against the world runner-up, the Cuban Saidel Horta.
“I had a tough draw. But those are the fights that will make us transcend to obtain the Olympic pass. I can’t wait for the bell to ring“said Tirado, bronze medalist in San Salvador 2023.
The national coach, Carlos “Cholo” Espada He said that it was strange that the Puerto Ricans did not take even a ‘bye’, but he downplayed processes such as the draw because he said that he has fighters to overcome a tough path to the medals and to the Olympic qualifications.
“Yes it was strange, but we respect random processes (random), as they say. There were divisions in which there were up to five ‘byes’ and we didn’t catch a single one. We were not lucky, but the boys are prepared and crazy to fight”said Espada.
The boxing tournament not only distributes medals, but also grants places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Pineiro has to win two fights to secure a medal in Santiago 2023. A third victory ensures his ticket to Paris 2024 as a Santiago 2023 finalist, Espada announced. He would also pass with Tirado.
Angel Llanos, Ashleyann Lozada, Gracemarie Quiles and Eliezer Brito are the other fighters in the Puerto Rican squad.