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Boxing: Good batting average for NM

In baseball, a batting average of .200 — even .250 — won’t win a lot of games.

But in another hitting sport, 10 New Mexico amateur boxers traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, for last week’s USA Boxing National Championships. Two of them won titles; another made the finals.

Percentage-wise, that’s a pretty good haul.

Saturday night, Las Cruces’ Ariana Carrasco overwhelmed Texan Ruby Navarro in winning the women’s Youth Division (ages 17-18) 141-pound title. The bout was stopped in the second round, giving Carrasco the victory by RSC (referee stopped contest).

On Tuesday, Las Cruces’ Joscelyn Olayo-Muñoz defeated Californian Mia Garcia by split (4-1) decision for the women’s Intermediate (13-14) 95-pound title.

On Saturday, Albuquerque’s Sharahya-Taina Moreu lost by unanimous decision to Boston’s Arika Skoog in the women’s Elite 152-pound final.

Moreu’s loss can’t quite be classified as controversial, given that Skoog won two of the three rounds on all five official scorecards. But there was controversy involved, thanks to a referee that can be described, putting it kindly, as overly intrusive.

Time and again during the three rounds, the referee — name unavailable but listed as from New York — interrupted the action to reprove the two boxers for this, that and the other.

At some point, the referee deducted a point from Moreu. Exactly why, Moreu’s father and coach, Yoruba, said via social media, he was never informed.

In the second round, the referee stopped the action and gave Moreu a standing eight-count. That’s supposed to happen when a fighter sustains a stunning blow or series of blows, something that was not evident at the time on the USA Boxing streaming of the bout. Moreu did not appear to be hurt.

In amateur boxing, standing eights are not intended to factor in the scoring of a round. Still, judges are human. It’s unknown whether the standing-eight count factored in the referee’s decision to take a point from Moreu.

All that said, the Journal scored the second round as decisive for Skoog, standing eight or no standing eight. The Journal scored the third and final round solidly for Moreu, leaving the highly competitive first round as the pivotal factor.

The judges, though, were unanimous in giving Skoog at least two and sometimes all three rounds. The scores, allowing for the deducted point, read 30-26, 30-26, 29-27, 29-27, 29-27.

Carrasco, Olayo-Muñoz, Moreu and Elite 152-pounder Jocelyn Shalaya Shade of Rio Rancho were the only New Mexicans to win bouts in Shreveport, the state’s contingent limited to 10 by lack of training opportunities due to New Mexico’s COVID-19 restrictions.

But Yoruba Moreu Jr., Sharahya-Taina’s younger brother, could take solace in that his loss in the 119-pound junior (14-15) division came against Pennsylvanian Cornellio Phipps, the eventual champion.

For Sharayha-Taina Moreu, a decision looms: stay in the amateurs and focus on the 2024 Olympics — she’ll turn 22 in May — or turn pro. She and her father have fielded offers from professional promoters, and she recently sparred with top women pros Cecilia Braekhus and Mikaela Mayer.

“Time to go back to the drawing board,” Yoruba Moreu Sr. posted on Facebook, “and bigger and better things.”

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