Lake Charles attracts US boxing trials

The road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will pass through Lake Charles, which will host the U.S. Olympic Trials in Boxing and National Championships, Dec. 6-15, at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

The event is the first step to reach the Summer Games. Winners in each of the 13 weight classes — eight for men, five for women — will be crowned national champions and advance to the Continental Championship tournament, with winners qualifying for the Olympics.

Eight fighters will compete in each of the 13 weight classes. Preliminary rounds will be fought Tuesday through Friday with multiple sessions each day. Admission to those fights will be free.

Finals will be fought Saturday and/or Sunday. The two top fighters in each class qualify automatically. The remaining spots will be filled by the top two finishers at qualification tournaments to be held in March, October and November of next year.

The event will feature more than 800 boxers and 500 coaches and trainers.

Other sites considered for the trials were Salt Lake City, Detroit, Las Vegas and Chattanooga.

“It is a great fit for us, not just for U.S. Boxing but our participants as well,” said Mike Campbell, events and boxing operations manager of USA Boxing. “The hospitality is great, the culture, climate and people are all important factors.

“The geography fits — it is a central location that is easy to get to. We wanted to go somewhere we could have a big impact. We think this is a right-sized community; we won’t get lost and will be able to get the attention of the city and its residents. We are between two big markets with great boxing tradition in Houston and New Orleans.”

Among the top performers who will compete at the trials will be Houston native and LSU graduate Virginia Fuchs, who competes in the women’s 112-pound weight class. She won the 2016 Olympic Trials but lost in the finals of the Continental tournament. She is the top-ranked fighter in her class and captain of the women’s national team.””

Virginia Fuchs celebrates her win at the International Boxing Tournament on Dec. 6, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro.

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