Perhaps half of the 10 fighters who’ll represent USA Boxing tonight in the Arena will wind up in the 2000 Olympics, the national team coach predicted Thursday.
Al Mitchell, who coached this country’s ‘96 Olympics team, heads the American contingent that will oppose Team Ireland in a dual match starting at 6.
“At least six of the team (the next U.S. Olympics team) will come from out of the woodwork,” Mitchell said during a busy Thursday that included school visits and a late-afternoon workout. “They’ll be guys we can’t even pick yet. But the team you’ll see here is our A team right now. I guarantee you, 50 percent of this team will be Olympians in 2000.
“This is a better team than we’ve had at this early a stage” with the Games two years away, the coach said.
“The A, B and C teams are so close,” said Mitchell, who heads the boxing program at the U.S. Olympics Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. “The more international experience we can give them now, the better they’ll be at Olympics time.”
Tonight’s dual is a tuneup for next week’s national tournament at Colorado Springs, where the top four in each weight class from 119 to superheavyweight will be sorted out. The top 4 go to camp in preparation for a boxoff, where No. 1 and No. 2 are determined, Mitchell said.
They go on to the Goodwill Games in July in New York, Mitchell said. Then come the Pan-Am Games. “After that we’ll start worrying about the Olympics,” said Mitchell, who’ll relinquish his Olympic team duties to another U.S. coach but may serve as an Olympics advisor.
Nine of the 10 U.S. fighters who go tonight are ranked either first or second in the country, including 139-pounder Larry Mosley of Los Angeles, the third-ranked light welterweight in the world according to USA Boxing.
Mosley holds the highest world ranking in this event.
Amateur boxing in this country has more turnover than other world powers, Mitchell said. “What other country lost all of their Olympians after the last Olympics? Ours all went professional. Only in the U.S. But we have great athletes and coaches and we’ve started them off young.
“I’ll be anxious to see where they’re at (tonight),” Mitchell said.
In amateur boxing, watch for a right-handed figher to score with right-handed shots. Watch how the jab controls a bout but don’t include it in the scoring. “Look for aggressiveness, how they set up angles and their defense,” Mitchell advised.
Each of 10 bouts consists of three 3-minute rounds, with a minute between periods.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: TICKETS Tickets for tonight’s U.S. vs. Ireland boxing card are $15, $25 and $50. They can be purchased at all G&B; outlets.