CLEVELAND -- Welterweight boxers Juan McPherson and Andre Berto failed in their attempts to get another shot at a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
After a hearing that stretched 12 hours into Friday morning, an
arbitrator declined to reverse USA Boxing's earlier ruling to
disqualify both after their fight in Tunica, Miss., last week.
McPherson got a medical disqualification when he injured his
neck while being thrown to the canvas by Berto, who also was tossed
from the competition for his actions on Feb. 17.
The Olympic box-offs will be held at the Cleveland State
Convocation Center on Friday and Saturday, with one fighter in each
of the 11 weight classes moving one step closer to the chance to
represent the U.S. in Athens.
While just two finalists remain in 10 of the classes, four
welterweights will compete in the division left wide open by the
disqualification of the two probable favorites.
The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a press release Friday morning listing the four-man field: Cory Jones of New York; Vanes
Martirosyan of Glendale, Calif.; Austin Trout of Las Cruces, N.M.;
and Edward Joseph of Fort Carson, Colo.
Spokesman Kevin Neuendorf didn't immediately return a call
McPherson, a 19-year-old Cleveland native, was considered the
favorite for the welterweight spot. He was carried off the canvas
last week on a stretcher after Berto, from Winter Haven, Fla.,
threw him out of a clinch during last week's trials.
McPherson was disqualified by USA Boxing physicians who feared further injuries. Berto was disqualified, then reinstated, then
disqualified again, prompting both boxers to join forces in an
attempt to appeal the decisions.
McPherson got a temporary restraining order from a Cuyahoga
County judge on Wednesday. The boxers and their lawyers appeared
before the American Arbitration Association in Cleveland on