Boxer Oshae Jones secured the first medal for the U.S. boxing team with a 4-0 decision win in the quarterfinal on Friday.
She now has a gold in her sights, needing only two more wins to bring home the coveted top medal in the women’s welterweight, an event that’s in its first year at the Olympics.
It’s almost hard to believe that just over two months ago, she had lost nearly everything.
In May, before Jones knew for sure whether she would be coming to Tokyo, a late-night fire ignited inside her Toledo, Ohio, home. She and her partner managed to get out of the house only after neighbors alerted them to the flames.
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While they got out, most of what she owned did not. The fire destroyed 60% of her home, and as part of that, about $10,000 worth of boxing equipment.
She didn’t let it stop her.
Through an online fundraising website, she told her story and raised thousands of dollars back within just a few days.
“It’s just devastating to me that I work so hard for myself and I was never given any handouts or anything, but I feel like everything happens for a reason,” she said at the time.
“Having the community support was very shocking to me because when I post my stuff on Facebook, I don’t get a lot of shares, I don’t get a lot of likes, I don’t think a lot of people even notice me. I know I inspire a lot of people, but I didn’t know it would be this big.”
Just days after the fire, she found out she had clinched a spot on the Olympic team.
In Friday’s bout, which Jones reached after a narrow split-decision win in the first round, she put up a lead early and never ceded the advantage. Jones will advance next to the quarterfinal to face Hong Gu of China on Wednesday.
Olympic boxing awards bronze medals to both athletes who lose in the semifinals, meaning Jones is guaranteed to bring a medal of some color home from Tokyo.
The 23-year-old welterweight boxer won the top spot at the Pan American Games in 2019 and placed 5th in the Russian World Chamionships the same year leading up to Tokyo.
Jones is one of three boxers from Ohio to make the semfinals. Duke Ragan of Cincinnati and Delante Johnson of Cleveland are fighting on the men’s side.
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