Fulghum stuns field as 8-seed to continue Olympic dream

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Jamar Talley (red) takes on Darius Fulgham (blue) at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, La., Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman

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Darius Fulghum completed his return to the ring in style, closing out the USA Boxing Olympic Trials with a win over Jamar Talley in the last of three box-off fights held Monday at the Golden Nugget.

The fights were necessary after three boxers with one loss in the double elimination tournament, including Talley, beat an undefeated opponent Sunday in the first day of the final round.

Of the three, Lupe Gutierrez was the only winner on Monday. Talley and Joseph Hicks both lost the rematch, with Hicks getting edged by Javier Martinez in the 165-pound division.

Joseph Hicks (red) takes on Javier Martinez (blue) at the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, La., Monday, Dec.16, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman

Fulghum won the 201-pound tournament, scoring a knockdown of Talley in the third round in a rough-and-tumble affair that saw Talley go to the ground repeatedly after the two got tangled up.

Fulghum, who entered the Trials as the lowest seed among the eight 201-pounders, took a one-year pause from competition to finish his studies at Prairie View A&M University, where he graduated in May with a degree in nursing. He won the national Golden Gloves championship in May 2018 before pausing his career to focus on school.

“In nursing, they take attendance and you have to be there, obviously,” he said. “I couldn’t take a week off to go to a tournament somewhere. I still did my training but didn’t compete until I graduated this May.”

He joked after the fight of treating himself after getting a black eye in a second round win over Najee Lopez.

No laughs were exchanged between California rivals Gutierrez and Andrea Medina, who fought for the third time in the tournament Monday for the 125-pound title. After losing the first bout, Gutierrez bounced back to win the last two. Hicks bid to do the same, but lost a split decision to Martinez. Hicks had won four fights in as many days to get to the box-off.

All 26 boxers that made the final round will next train in January at the USA Boxing High Performance Center in Colorado Springs in advance of next year’s Stradja Tournament, an international tournament to be held in Bulgaria.