Top Boxers

Roberto Benitez - Born and raised in Brooklyn , N.Y. , Benitez began boxing in 1992. He moved to Marquette , Mich. , to continue his training at the U.S. Olympic Education Center. While training at the OEC, Benitez has enjoyed an impressive domestic career. In 2004, he became only the fifth boxer in history to win an Everlast U.S. Championships four times, finishing as the runner-up twice. He scored a lopsided 29-15 victory over Eric Hunter at the Olympic Box-Off to earn his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Benitez graduated from Northern Michigan University with an associates degree in business. He has a three-year-old daughter named Janiyah and he enjoys writing poetry.

Andre Dirrell - Dirrell began his boxing career when his grandfather, Leon "Bumper" Lawson, took him to a gym to keep him off the streets. The decision proved to be a good one. Dirrell stepped onto the national scene in 2000, placing fourth in the Junior Olympic National Championships.

He enjoyed a breakout year in 2001, winning the Everlast U.S. Championships and Everlast U.S. Challenge at 125 lbs and the Under-19 Championships at 139 lbs. As he grew older, he continued his weight class climb, landing as a middleweight (165 lbs) in 2004. Dirrell earned a spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team with a one-sided, 30-9, win over Clarence Joseph in the Olympic Box-Offs in March 2004.

Later that month Dirrell secured his spot in Athens with a victory in the first Americas Olympic Qualifier event. He credits his grandfather, the father he never had, with instilling the discipline it takes to be a great fighter. Dirrell's younger brother, Anthony, also boxes. Dirrell is known as "the Matrix" for his ability to move and control his body to throw and evade punches.

Jason Estrada - Estrada earned his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a 14-5 win over Mike Wilson at the Olympic Box-Offs in March 2004. Athens will mark his first trip to the Olympic Games. Estrada has enjoyed an illustrious domestic boxing career including gold-medal finishes at the Everlast National Championships and the U.S. Challenge.

He gained his greatest international victory to date when he won the Pan American Games gold medal last August. Estrada lists his hand speed as his greatest strength in the ring. He began boxing in 1990, introduced by his father as a way to keep him off the streets. When he is not in the ring, Estrada enjoys basketball and spending time with his son.

What does Estrada enjoy most about boxing? The thrill of competition.

Ron Siler - Siler began boxing in 1990. The Knoxville , Tenn. , native scored his first major win at the 1995 Junior Olympic Championships, when he captured the title at 106 lbs. At the 2000 Olympic Team Trials, Siler was eliminated in the quarterfinal challenge round.

Things have been different in 2004. Siler opened the year with a win at the Everlast U.S. Championships in January. He earned a spot in the Olympic Box-Offs and scored a place on the Olympic roster with a win over Aaron Alafa. He made quick work of his Pan American opponents at the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Tijuana , Mexico , in March, securing his ticket to Athens .

Siler is the only current U.S. amateur boxer to have won a World Championships medal. He is coached by his father, Ron Siler Sr. Siler has four little boys under the age of five: Ron'nikko Ruffin, four; Alerion Siler, three; D'Shawn Siler, two; Jamarion Siler, one.

Andre Ward -  Ward hasn't tasted defeat in a while. In fact, he currently enjoys a six-year winning streak. During this span, Ward has captured titles at the Junior Olympic Championships (1999), Caribbean Tournament (2001), Everlast Fran Jones Under-19 National Championships (2002), Titan Games (2003), Everlast U.S. Championships (2003), U.S. Olympic Team Trials (2004) and Americas Olympic Qualifier (2004).

Since the fall of 2002, he has dedicated all of his victories to his father, who passed away in August of that year. Ward has two sons, Andre Jr., 3, and Malachi, 17 months. He is trained by his godfather, Virgil Hunter.

Information provided by USOC Press Box