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Wilson lands U.S. Amateur title

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ' Mike Wilson carried Bulldog Boxing to new heights Saturday.

The 2001 Crater High graduate claimed the program's first-ever U.S. Amateur Championships title at the Olympic Training Facility, after championship-bout foe Nicolai Firtha of Atwater, Ohio, withdrew because of an injured thumb.

Wilson, 20, is the super-heavyweight national champion and next challenges for his division's spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at the Olympic Trials Feb. 16-21 in Tunica, Miss.

This is the biggest win for our program ever, said Joe Pedrojetti, who founded Medford-based Bulldog Boxing eight years ago. Most programs go through 30, 40 years and never have a U.S. champion. There's only 12 divisions. ... We're talking the best of the best.

Wilson won four bouts before his forfeit victory Saturday.

— He defeated the nation's top- and seventh-ranked fighters in his class and shrugged off a cut suffered above his eye in his quarterfinal bout Thursday.

He overcame adversity, Pedrojetti said. There's normally no way you're gonna get to continue with that kind of cut. ... And he had the worst draw you could get. Basically all the ranked guys were on his side of the bracket.

Wilson, who improved his career record to 64-16, not only was undefeated in the tournament, but he won every round of every fight.

In order, Wilson defeated Nathaniel James of Malden, Mass., 18-9; No. 1-ranked George Garcia of Glendale, Ariz., 22-14; Ruben Woodruff of the U.S. Marine Corps by technical knockout; and Michael Marrone of Vero Beach, Fla., by TKO in the semifinals.

A U.S. Olympic alternate as a 17-year-old in 2000, Wilson will be one of eight qualifiers chasing the U.S. Olympic Team super-heavyweight spot at the Olympic Trials.

The Trials is a double-elimination event.

Wilson also boasts three junior titles and two under-19 championships for his career.

But he'd never done anything as big on the boxing stage as what he accomplished Saturday.

This is huge, Pedrojetti said.