USA Boxing is holding a training camp in preparation for this year’s Olympics in Tokyo in an abandoned department store.
National team boxers have been unable to use the facilities at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center at Colorado Springs since March.
This is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also forced the postponement of the Olympics from 2020 to July 23 to August 8 2021.
In order to adequately prepare for the Games, USA Boxing staff moved training equipment into a department store in Colorado Springs.
Boxers and coaches are being housed at the nearby Hotel Eleganté.
“After spending most of 2020 waiting to be allowed entry back into our national gym at the Colorado Springs Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, it was time that we took matters into our own hands and established a training space that can properly accommodate our team’s training needs,” said USA Boxing high performance director Matt Johnson.
USA Boxing executive director Mike McAtee also revealed the camp is being held with strict COVID-19 protocol in place.
“We are able to continue to move forward in this COVID environment by applying multi-layer protection protocols, pre-travel testing, mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, regular cleaning, regular rapid antigen testing, daily health surveys and follow up polymerase chain reaction pool testing,” he said.
The camp began last week and will run until February 18.
Led by USA Boxing national head coach Billy Walsh and national strength and conditioning coach Jose Polanco, the camp features the majority of the American team for the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.
This includes 2018 world flyweight bronze medallist Virginia Fuchs and 2019 world lightweight bronze medallist Rashida Ellis.
Keyshawn Davis, the world light welterweight silver medallist, has not been included on the camp roster.
After the camp, the boxers are scheduled to travel to Bulgaria and Spain for international tournaments.
They will then participate in a camp at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in California before the Americas Olympic qualifying event in May.
The US finished joint fifth in boxing’s medal standings at the Rio 2016 Olympics, winning one gold, one silver and one bronze.
Claressa Shields was the nation’s sole podium topper after successfully defending her women’s middleweight title.
Shakur Stevenson was the men’s bantamweight runner-up and Nico Hernández was a third place finisher in the men’s light flyweight category.