The term “Olympic Trials” used to mean just that, the winners of such an event having punched their ticket. In some sports, it still does.
Not, however, in boxing.
Wednesday, USA Boxing, the amateur sport’s national governing body, announced that Albuquerque’s Abraham Perez will not be the U.S. representative at flyweight (114) pounds at an Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Buenos Aires this spring — despite having won the U.S. Olympic Trials at 114 in December.
Instead, USA Boxing has selected Los Angeles’ Anthony Herrera, whom Perez defeated twice at the Trials, the second time by unanimous decision in the flyweight title bout.
Perez is listed as an alternate, meaning he has no chance to represent his country in Tokyo this summer unless Herrera, for whatever reason, is unable to make the trip to Argentina.
In determining which 13 male and female boxers would travel to Buenos Aires, USA Boxing listed three criteria: the Olympic Trials, how invited candidates performed in training at USA Boxing headquarters in Colorado Springs, and the recent Strandja international tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.