Marc Castro, Delante Johnson win Gold at World Championships in Russia

(l to r) It is Marc Castro and Delante Johnson bringing home the gold for the US at this week's

(l to r) It is Marc Castro and Delante Johnson bringing home the gold for the USA Team at this week’s 2016 Youth World Championships at the Sibur Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Annamarie Blanco

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

(top) Sibur Arena on in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Hopefully the young boxers had a chance to tour this colorful and wonderous city

(top) Sibur Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (below) Hopefully the young boxers had a chance to tour this colorful, wonderous city.

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.

Marc Castro shows he as a good set of mollars as he bites into the two medals he has won in this tournament.

Marc Castro shows he has a good set of chops as he bites into the two gold medals he has won in this International competition.

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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.”

Photos show Delante Johnson throughout the course of

Photo (top) shows Delante Johnson delivering a big overhand right on an opponent during the weeklong competition. (below right) Johnson receives both the Gold Medal plus a bouquet of flowers.

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.”

Team USA poses for a photo before heading to St. Petersburg, Russia for this weeklong tournament.

Team USA poses for a group photo before heading to St. Petersburg, Russia for this weeklong tournament.

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. 

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About the Author

Jim Wyatt, a 1970 graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has written weekly sports features for several Military newspapers, WCKMuayThai.com, SportofBoxing.com and Examiner.com as their San Diego Boxing Examiner. He was one of the four "Wise Guys" who predicted winning football selections versus the Vegas spreads. Some of the people he enjoyed meeting: Earvin "Magic" Johnson, WWF Wrestler Lita, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nate Kaeding and Darren Bennett of the Chargers, Tony Gwynn and Jake Peavy of the Padres, soccer stars Shannon MacMillan and Julie Foudy, Mixed Martial Artists Cris Cyborg, Junior Dos Santos, the Nogueira brothers plus the many great people involved in boxing and Muaythai.