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Odds and Ends: Spain’s Sandor Martin and New Wrinkles in Olympic Boxing

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  • Odds and Ends: Spain’s Sandor Martin and New Wrinkles in Olympic Boxing

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    By Arne K. Lang

    It’s been a slow weekend for boxing. U.S. promoters are understandably reticent about going head-to-head against the Final Four. The most noteworthy campaigner in action on the first weekend of April was Spanish junior welterweight Sandor Martin and he’s hardly a big name.

    Martin scored one of the biggest upsets of 2021 when he ventured to Fresno, California and upset former four-division title-holder Mikey Garcia, winning a majority decision that should have been unanimous. It was named the TSS Upset of the Year.

    Yesterday (April 1), Martin appeared on a Matchroom promotion in his native Barcelona where he built upon his triumph over Garcia with a lopsided 10-round decision over Mexico’s Jose Felix. elevating his record to 40-2.

    Bearing a 39-5-1 record with 30 KOs, Jose Felix was, at least on paper, a treacherous opponent. But he was comprehensively out-boxed. Martin, 28, won every round on two of the scorecards and nine rounds on the other. At the end of the fight, Felix was conspicuously marked-up. There was swelling around both of his eyes.

    Sandor Martin isn’t a big puncher. Only 13 of his 40 wins have come inside the distance. But he’s a solid technician who figures to be a handful for anyone at 140 pounds. In a sense, his showing against Felix atoned for the poor showing by his countryman Kiko Martinez who lost his IBF featherweight title six days earlier in Leeds, England, where he was stopped in the seventh round by Josh Warrington. DAZN live-streamed both shows and promoted them under the title “The Spanish Revival.” Martinez also forged one of the biggest upsets of 2021 when he went on the road and snatched the title from Kid Galahad.

    Olympic Boxing Alterations

    The good news for USA amateur boxing is that boxing will be part of the mix at the forthcoming 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The sport was on thin ice; besotted by so many scandals that it was in danger of being expunged.

    The bad news for the men is that there will be fewer openings. The number of weight classes is being reduced from eight to seven.

    When the Olympic Games resumed in 1920 after the war in Europe, there were eight weight divisions. These were the classic weight divisions, the only divisions recognized for amateurs and professionals by the influential The Ring magazine throughout most of its existence.

    In 1952, the lords of Olympic boxing increased the number of weight classes from eight to 10. They raised the number to 11 in 1968 and to 12 in 1984 before rolling it back. At the most recent Olympiad in Tokyo, the number of weight classes for men was back to eight.

    If the Summer Olympics were being held tomorrow, this is what the USA men’s team would look like:

    Flyweight (51 kg) – Roscoe Hill, Springs, TX

    Featherweight (57 kg) – Jahmal Harvey, Oxon Hill, MD

    Junior welterweight (63.5 kg) – Emilio Garcia, Laredo, TX

    Middleweight (71 kg) – Omari Jones, Orlando, FL

    Light heavyweight (80 kg) – Rahim Gonzales, Las Vegas, NV

    Heavyweight (92 kg) – Jamar Talley, Camden, NJ

    Super heavyweight – Joshua Edwards, Houston, TX

    A lot can change in the next two years. There will undoubtedly be new faces on this list when the 2024 USA Olympic Boxing Team is finally assembled.

    The number of weight classes for men is being reduced to accommodate more slots for the ladies.

    Women’s boxing became an official Olympic sport in 2012. There were three weight classes – flyweight, lightweight, and middleweight – at the 2012 Olympics in London and again at the 2016 Games in Rio. Two new weight classes were introduced in Tokyo and the number will swell from five to six in 2024.

    However, the heaviest weight class for women remains 165 pounds. That locks out Fresno light heavyweight America “The Beautiful” Berber and Omaha heavyweight Brittany Parker, the top-rated amateur boxers in their respective weight classes.