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Allan Russell Chosen For International Competition
By Kevin Wilson
Updated: September 1, 2007
MARYLAND — During the Midwest U.S. Championship Qualifying Boxing Tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2007, Allan Russell performed well, to advance to the Olympic Trials in July 2007 in Colorado Springs. The 132-lightweight champ, only 17, beat Miguel Gonzalez in Ohio, but lost to him in the trials.
Dan Campbell, a national coach for U.S.A. Boxing has assembled an international team that included Allan, a Capitol Heights, Maryland native. A congratulatory letter was mailed on August 8.
The Golden Belt Championship will feature U.S. vs. Romania from Tuesday to Saturday. “We selected guys that will do well,” says Campbell, a native of Norfolk, Virginia.
By not making the 2008 Olympic Team, Allan is more determined than ever before. His eyes are set on 2012, along with his brother, Antonio, now 14. The lost in the trials humbled him.
“The defeat in Colorado Springs will make me stronger. Another motivator, is the fact that my older brother is a member of the 2008 Olympic Team,” Allan says with a grin.
Within days of returning from the Olympic Box Off in Houston, Gary, Sr. is right back in a familiar spot — Nomis Gym in Washington, D.C. preparing his gifted son for international competition.
Walking with a limp, Gary, Sr. steps in the ring demonstrating the proper way to turn and spin. “Turn sharp, Allan,” he uttered repeatedly. After the 30-second bell stopped, Allan darts to the restroom.
Upon his return, he shadow boxed as instructed by his father, the trainer.
Minutes later, Allan removes his purple and black windbreaker, and began jumping rope. With sweat popping off his forehand and chest, he jumps and swings the rope without missing a beat.
Manipulating with either hand, Allan maneuvers the rope under and between his legs, makes a complete turn while maintaining his balance. What a display to see.
Fast and strong, Allan takes a few minutes to assist Gary, Jr. for three rounds with the hand mitts. The onlookers marvel at how the brothers push one another toward excellence.
One of the attendees was Maria Lopez, a childhood friend of Gary, Sr. She first saw Allan at the 2007 Mayor’s Cup Boxing Tournament in D.C. “It’s a pleasure to see Gary, Sr. doing something positive in the community, and it’s a great accomplishment for his sons to be winners in boxing”, says Lopez, a contracting security officer.
“A lot of kids, where we came from didn’t make it to age 17.”
Robert Simon, the director of Nomis Boxing Center, remembered how he learned from his failures, only to bounce back. “The experience in trying to get to the Olympic Box Off and being defeated can bring the best of out Allan”, said Simon.
“He got a good taste of what his brother went through, he’ll do well in international competition, and he’ll be more focused and hungry.”
Gary, Sr. woke up early on Thursday to acquire a passport for Allan. “It’s truly therapeutic, he’ll see different cultures, and I feel he can beat most of those guys”, noted his father/trainer.
“He’ll bring more to the table than most. Russians are strong, but not fast, and Allan is not one dimensional.”
The new school year has begun. Allan, an actor in the HBO hit show “The Wire”, will be traveling frequently, is eager to go to school. “Home school is so expensive, but we have to get him in another school soon,” said Lawan Russell, his mother.
For now, four days in Romania, he’ll be schooling opponents American style.