Heavyweight Cam F. Awesome was among nine men’s boxers to move closer to Rio Olympic berths by winning the U.S. Olympic trials in Reno, Nev., over the weekend.
Awesome and a group that includes 2014 Youth Olympic champion Shakur Stevenson can clinch spots at the Rio Games via results at international tournaments next year. The first opportunity is in March in Buenos Aires.
They hope to join the lone U.S. boxer already qualified for the Olympics, lightweight Carlos Balderas. All potential 2016 U.S. Olympic men’s boxers would be first-time Olympians.
In 2012, U.S. men’s boxers failed to win a medal for the first time in Olympic history.
The vegan Awesome, 27, won the Olympic trials four years ago as Lenroy “Cam” Thompson in the super heavyweight category but received a one-year doping ban in February 2012 not for failing drug tests, but for missing three out-of-competition drug tests.
He then changed his name — “because I am an entertainer,” and the F stands for “whatever you want it” — and, after reportedly ballooning to 270 pounds, shed 70 pounds to compete in the heavyweight division.
“I’m trying not to cry,” Awesome, who calls himself the Taylor Swift of boxing on his Twitter profile, said after winning Saturday night, according to USA Boxing. “It’s a long road and a very emotional week. I felt like I held myself together long enough that I can go cry now.”
Here’s the full list of U.S. Olympic men’s boxing trials winners:
108 lbs: Nico Hernandez
114 lbs: Antonio Vargas
123 lbs: Shakur Stevenson
141 lbs: Gary Russell
152 lbs: Paul Kroll
165 lbs: Charles Conwell
178 lbs: Jonathan Esquivel
201 lbs: Cam F. Awesome
201+ lbs: Marlo Moore