Monday, November 9, 2015

Five Atlas Cops and Kids Boxers in Olympic Trials

(Left to right: Nkosi, Nick, Coach Aureliano Sosa, Africa, Shu Shu)

The Atlas Cops and Kids boxing team had a stellar showing in Memphis this October at the US women’s Olympic Trials and men’s qualifying tournament. Four of our young men will advance to the men’s Olympic Trials in Reno, Nevada. 

Nick Scaturchio, 108 pounds, won a gold medal in his first tournament without headgear. His excellent defensive movement and fast hands led to three straight wins. Little Nikki, 17, commutes to our gym all the way from Hartsdale, New York, where he attends West Hill High School. He is proud of his Calabrese heritage, fighting under the ring nickname “The Italian Assassin.” 

Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington, Jr, 132 pounds, won a silver medal in Memphis with a brave and elegant performance spanning six fights in six nights. Shu Shu, 18, is a proud native of Brownsville and a graduate of Teacher’s Prep High School. Last year, boxing took a back seat to grieving after the tragic death by gun violence of his brother Michael, but Shu Shu dug deep and refocused on training. He is a model of sportsmanship outside the ring, making friends everywhere he goes.

Richardson "Africa" Hitchins, 141 pounds, won a silver medal, fighting six times in six days in the deepest division of the tournament. “Africa,” 18, is a devoted student of boxing with a voracious hunger to learn and win. When he isn’t boxing himself, he assists trainer Aureliano Sosa in giving pads, and his voice is the loudest in the crowd, cheering on his teammates.

Nkosi "Big Black" Solomon, super heavyweight, won a silver in boxing’s showcase division. At 6’4” and 240 pounds, Nkosi is a gentle giant, eloquent and sensitive outside the ring. But he let out his beast in Memphis, thrilling the crowd with three hard-fought wars. Nkosi graduated from Sheepshead Bay High School, where he was a standout in football.

Christina Cruz, 112 pounds, took bronze at the women’s Trials, losing two very close fights to reigning world champion Marlen Esparza. Christina’s slick, technical boxing has converted many skeptics into fans of women’s boxing. She has won a record nine New York Daily News Golden Gloves titles, a world championships bronze, and was the first US woman to box in the Pan American Games. 

After the loss, Christina quoted Theodore Roosevelt: 

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.