Albuquerque amateur boxer Abraham Perez has fought his way to the semifinals of the 2020 Boxam Tournament in Castellon, Spain.
In Wednesday’s second round, Perez defeated Spain’s Juan Manuel Torres Valdez by unanimous (5-0) decision in a 114-pound bout.
“The rust was definitely off, for sure,” Perez, who on Tuesday fought his first bout since January, said in a USA Boxing post-fight interview. “… There are still some things I can work on, but little by little I’m gonna get there. It’s just a process.”
Perez is scheduled to face another Spaniard, Gabriel Escobar, in Friday’s semis. Escobar is a 2019 European Championships gold medalist.
Anthony Herrera, Perez’s fellow U.S. competitor at 114 pounds, lost on Wednesday to Spain’s Martin Molina. Herrera was trailing on the scorecards (a 3-2 split) when he suffered a cut in the third round and the bout was stopped.
Herrera was selected by USA Boxing as the U.S. Olympic qualifier at 114 pounds, despite having lost to Perez twice at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The selection was based on training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, as well as on performances at the Strandja Cup Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria, in January.
In Sofia, Herrera won two matches, Perez one.
Now, Perez, who’s an Olympic alternate, has advanced farther than has Herrera in the Boxam Tournament.
There has been no indication that USA Boxing would re-open the Olympic selection process.