Oshae Jones righted the ship for the U.S. Olympic boxing team.
The fighting pride of Toledo, Ohio advanced to the quarterfinal round in the welterweight division following a three-round decision win over Dominican Republic's Maria Moronta.
Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 in favor of Jones, who scored a knockdown in round two and remained a step ahead throughout the bout Thursday at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo. One judge had the bout 28-28 even, though proving moot in the end.
The U.S. team as a whole had lost four of his previous five bouts, including three members of the women's team—Naomi Graham, Ginny Fuchs and Rashida Ellis—eliminated from competition in the past two days.
Jones put an end to that, jumping out to an early lead versus Moronta, whom she defeated in the semifinal round of the 2019 Pan Am Games. Jones picked up where she left off, taking the fight to Moronta, who came with firepower of her own but found herself outgunned.
It never proved more true than in the second round, when Jones—whose brother Otha Jones III is a pro boxer—floored the Dominican welterweight. A clean hook sent Moronta to the canvas, producing a mandatory eight count. To her credit, Moronta came roaring back after rising from the canvas, though still losing the round on all five scorecards.
Jones opened round three with the intention of closing the show. Moronta refused to go down without a fight, in fact doing well enough to win by 10-8 on the card of Argentina's Roberto Fernando Servide (though many will dispute it as reflective of what took place).
While the last remaining U.S. female in competition, Jones is now assured of at least bronze. She is the third American woman to claim a medal, joining two-time Olympic Gold medalist Claressa 'GWOAT' Shields and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Marlen Esparza.
The U.S. Olympic team is now 10-5 as a whole, include 3-4 on the female side. Jones has two of the three wins, with room to improve on that stat when she returns August 4 in the semifinal round. She will face China's Gu Hong, the number two seed who outpointed Helena Panguana (Mozambique) in the final quarterfinal bout of the evening.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox