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One step closer to her Olympic dream

Published 4:11 PM ET, Mon February 20, 2012
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Marlen Esparza (red) fought Alex Love (blue) from Monroe, Washington in the first round at the Olympic boxing trials. Her first opponent, Cynthia Moreno from Arizona, was medically excused for a sprained ankle and didn't join the competition. David Bluff/Northern Quest Resort
Esparza defeated Love 21 to 12 points. She had previously fought Love last year at the USA Boxing Nationals and the Pan American qualifier box-offs in Colorado Springs. She emerged victorious both times. David Bluff/Northern Quest Resort
In the final bout of the U.S. Olympic trials Esparza (red) fought Tyriesha Douglas (blue) from Baltimore. Esparza kept a low stance during the fight and faced Douglas with fast punch combinations. By the third round she held a lead of 12 points over a persistent and fierce Douglas. "Tyriesha looked way better than she usually does. It kind of surprised me" Esparza said about her opponent. Spokane Regional Sports Commission
From left to right: Middleweight Claressa Shields, lightweight Queen Underwood and flyweight Marlen Esparza make up the team that will represent U.S. at the World Amateur Boxing Championships in China. "Me and Queen have the most international experience, so just being with Queen, I feel good. This was the first time I saw Claressa and she's actually really good. She murdered everybody. [The scores] weren't even close" Esparza said. Marlen Esparza PR
Esparza, who is known for her dedication to training, is not taking a break. She still has to decide whether or not she will compete in this year's USA Boxing National Championships which start next Monday. If she wins, she would be the first female boxer in the U.S. to hold seven consecutive national titles. Marlen Esparza PR