Boxer Secures Citizenship in Olympic Quest

Erick De Leon, a 19-year-old boxing champion alive in Detroit but born in Mexico, had said that if he obtained his United States citizenship, winning the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics could be a piece of cake, or pan comido in Spanish. Now, it looks as if De Leon will at least get his chance to fight for it.

After months of expectation, along with support from the office of Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, De Leon was sworn in as a United States citizen Thursday at a federal courthouse in Detroit. He participated in a custom ceremony with about 90 other immigrants who had achieved their citizenship.

“It feels really good to know that I can fight now in national tournaments here in the United States,” De Leon said. In an Olympic qualifying year, noncitizens cannot fight in national championships.“Making the Olympic team is one of my dreams, and it feels good that I’m finally a U.S. citizen, an American,” he said.

De Leon’s next step will be attending the 2011 Michigan State Golden Gloves Championships April 8 and 9, where he is likely to dominate the 132-pound weight class and progress to the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions April 25-30 in Indianapolis. From there, he would move on to the United States Olympic trials and attempt to qualify for the 2012 Games.


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