SPOKANE, Wash. — There were no tears from the District’s Tyrieshia Douglas late Saturday night, no somber emotions after her hopes of competing in the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament in London ended with resounding defeat.
Douglas, who a decade ago landed in juvenile detention for street fighting and then used boxing as a means of redemptive escape, perhaps not surprisingly threw punches until the very end — even beyond the end.
In a sports bar not far from the ring in which she had been eliminated from the U.S. Olympic trials in women’s boxing in the championship round, Douglas, 23, dissected her six bouts in the flyweight class here and the long year she had toiled leading up to it.
Her words registered like the flurry of jabs and hooks she had fired earlier that night at Houston’s Marlen Esparza, whom the judges ruled had prevailed in a 32-17 decision.
“I’m not sad,” Douglas, 23, said. “I’m not upset about my results. The fix was already in. I’m going pro. I’m not staying around for another four years for the politics and all the other stuff.”
Added Douglas: “They already had, when we came out here, who they wanted to win. I wish they would have let me know that, because then I would have turned pro.”
Like in figure skating and other judged sports, attacking the judges’ scores in boxing can be a sport itself, especially on the amateur side. In Olympic boxing, fights go four rounds only. Like Douglas, her coaches disputed the lopsided nature of the margin Saturday, but neither Calvin Ford nor Mack Allison backed the claim she made immediately after the bout that she should have been the victor over Esparza, a six-time national champion who has lost just once in the last decade.
Douglas, who began boxing at the Headbangers’ Boxing Team gym in 2004, said she thought the winners had been predetermined. That opinion, she said, came from various things she heard from various officials and intuition based on the weeklong event’s progression. The three women who on Saturday claimed the Olympic team slots — Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields — all went undefeated during the week. All fought from the winners’ bracket.
The scoring all week “was ridiculous,” Douglas said. “But when it’s all said and done, I don’t wish those ladies anything but the best. I hope they bring home the gold.”
Douglas made her frustration with the score plain after the fight, turning her head and wrinkling her nose at her coaches when the final tally was announced. Esparza, who led 6-5 after the first round; 14-10 after the second; and 26-14 after the third, said she sensed Douglas had run out of steam in the last two rounds.
Indeed, Esparza fought just three times to win the Olympic team slot while Douglas, who lost Tuesday, fought six times in six days. Had she defeated Esparza on Saturday , she would have had to beat her again Sunday to earn the Olympic position.
“It’s what every boxer is going to say when they lose,” Esparza said. “She definitely didn’t think she won. That is ridiculous. She didn’t even hit me in the last two rounds.”
The debate might never be settled in Douglas’s mind, but she figures she can lay down some more decisive victories once she begins fighting as a professional. Before ordering chicken and French fries off the bar menu Saturday night, she vowed to be back practicing by Monday and ready to fight professionally as soon as it could be arranged.
“By the time they turn pro,” Douglas said of her amateur rivals, “they will have to fight me to get the world title.”