After eight intense, excitable days of competition, the 2016 Youth World Championships came to a close on a snowy Saturday evening at the Sibur Arena as Team USA placed second overall in the medal count.
123 lbs/male: Marc Castro, Fresno, Calif., decision victory over Samatali Tolytayev, Kazakhstan, 3-2
Reigning Junior World Champion Marc Castro from Fresno, Calif. won his second international title in St. Petersburg, Russia along with teammate Delante Johnson of Cleveland, Ohio who edged out his competitors to bring home two Gold Medals. All told, the U. S. left Russia with an impressive four medals, two gold and two bronze. Light flyweight Dylan Price of Sicklerville, N. J. and super heavyweight Richard Torrez of Tulare, Calif. were awarded bronze medals in today’s final session.
In the finals on Saturday Castro changed tactics from his semifinal victory by going all out early and completely dominating his opponent in the first two rounds. Using straight right hands and probing jabs, he was able to take a commanding lead over Kazakhstan’s Samatali Tolytayev. Behind in the scoring, Tolytayev had no other recourse but to go full bore in that third and final round but he just couldn’t stop the durable Mr. Castro. With his win, Castro became the first back-to-back Youth and Junior World Champion in U. S. history.
“It means the world to me that I was able to turn my dreams into reality,” said Castro after the fight. “All the hard work paid off. The main thing was to stay focused and stay on my A-game, like Coach Billy says you gotta simplify and intensify.”
Johnson continued his domination by taking a 4-1 decision over last year’s returning Junior World Champion Bilolbek Mirzarakhimov of Uzbekistan to win his first international title. Beating some of the top nations in the world en route to his first ever international boxing medal, Johnson’s performances throughout the tournament showed how dominant he has become.
“It feels good. I trained really hard at camp,” said Johnson. “I want to give thanks to coaches Billy, Kay and Guzman for helping me stay in shape and being in my corner. It was tough to make it this far but I kept listening to the corner and just took one fight at a time. Now it’s time to go home and train for the Elite Nationals in Kansas and get ready for Tokyo 2020.”
The U. S. ended the tournament with 20 wins and only seven losses to take second place just behind Cuba. Many of the boxers in this tournament will now be competing in the 2016 Elite and Youth National Championships in Kansas City, Missouri starting on December 5th.