The USA boxing squad made it to England, and thus far, have been so focused on getting gold. They haven't even managed to indulge in any sightseeing. But, Team USA PR head Julie Goldsticker reports the boxers aren't just tightly-wound balls of tension. When the person who oversees the gym they are using in Bolton walked in to greet the squad on Monday, he caught them dancing en masse.
"This team is very bonded," Goldsticker told NYFightBlog. She has a basis for comparison, having done PR for USA Boxing since 2001, "Their cameraderie is evident."
Goldsticker reports that both the New Yorkers on the squad, co-captain Jamel Herring (age 26) and Marcus Browne (age 21), show leadership qualities.
Herring, having served two tours in Iraq in the Marines, is a vocal leader and seen as a guiding light. Young Browne isn't afraid to pump up the others in the crew, and push them to push themselves. If you follow Browne's Twitter feed, you get the feeling he is the slightest bit homesick. I asked Goldsticker about that, and she chuckled. "He's enjoying England a lot," she said. "But he misses his family. Everybody does. Marcus is ready to fight."
The squad is looking forward to meeting the man who owns the gym in Bolton, junior welterweight pro Amir Khan. The Brit had some hard luck Saturday, when he was stopped in Round Four of his title defense against Danny Garcia in Las Vegas. "There is a press event Wednesday," Goldtsicker said. "We're looking forward to lifting Amir's spirits." The whole team, she said, was beyond pleased to see the gym in Bolton plastered with American flags, and all have been impressed that they haven't felt an ounce of territorial tension. "Everyone has been kind and welcoming. And, we haven't seen any sense of rivalry," she said.
The squad will leave for London on July 24, will enjoy the opening ceremony on July 27, and then will get their game faces on. The light heavy Browne will fight July 30, and light welter Herring will fight the next day. Their foes will be determined after they make weight, and the brackets are completed.
Ultimately, the amount of dancing done by USA boxing will be determined by how far they advance in the tournament.