The cancellation of this spring’s final Americas qualifying tournament kept most of the U.S. team’s fighters from building enough points to earn a spot in this summer’s Olympics. The International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force, which runs Olympic boxing, was forced to award spots based on rankings from results that came before the coronavirus pandemic shut down international tournaments. Because Davis had left the U.S. team in a dispute with leadership in January and Ragan and Isley had lost in the 2019 U.S. Olympic team trials, their replacements didn’t have enough points from international fights to qualify for the four Olympic slots allocated to the Americas region.
But the United States was able to take advantage of a 2016 rule that permits professional fighters to compete in the Olympics as long as they have qualified in amateur tournaments. In the past, the U.S. team hasn’t been able to use that loophole because state boxing commissions won’t let pros fight amateurs. But because Davis, Ragan and Isley had accrued enough international points as amateurs before leaving the team, USA Boxing was able to get them what are essentially Olympic wild-card slots.
“We’ve now added three very medal-potential, medal-quality boxers,” said Matt Johnson, USA Boxing’s high performance director. “It definitely gives our team a boost to have them back.”
Davis, who won a silver medal at the 2019 world championships, was seen as a serious medal hope for the Tokyo Games before leaving the team. He is 3-0 as a professional, including a win over Mexico’s Jose Antonio Meza on May 8.
Heavyweight medal possibility Richard Torrez Jr. and welterweight Delante Johnson, a gold medalist at the 2016 youth world championships, are the other American men who are going to Tokyo.