2012 Olympic gold medallist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and American heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) will compete for gold at the 2016 Women’s World Championships following semifinal victories on Thursday in Astana, Kazakhstan. Shields will have the chance to defend her 2014 middleweight title in Friday’s gold medal bout while Green has earned a spot in the finals in her first-ever World Championships at the Barys Arena.
Light flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) fell in semifinal action on Thursday and will take home bronze medals from the 2016 World Championships.
Shields took on Taipei’s Nien Chin Chen in her semifinal contest on Thursday evening in Astana. The 21-year-old star continued her international dominance in their middleweight bout, sweeping every round on the judges’ scorecards to clinch her spot in another gold medal bout. She can win her second straight world title on Friday when she faces Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. Shields will box for gold in bout eight of the final round session at approximately 4:40 p.m. local time (6:40 a.m. ET).
Green entered the World Championships as one of the least experienced boxers on the U.S. squad but she has rolled through the tournament. She faced Sennur Demir of Turkey in her semifinal contest late in Thursday’s action. Like her teammate, Green dominated the match, winning every round of the four round contest to claim a unanimous decision victory. The win earned Green a spot in the heavyweight gold medal bout and a chance at her first world title. She will box in the 10th and final bout on championship day at approximately 5:20 p.m. local time (7:20 a.m. ET).
Esparza battled China’s Yuyan Wang in her semifinal contest in the opening bout of Thursday’s competition. Wang claimed a 3-0 victory over Esparza in their light flyweight bout to advance in the tournament. Esparza will receive a bronze medal from the 2016 World Championships.
Cruz’s semifinal bout featured a match-up with Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova in Thursday’s afternoon session. Petrova claimed a unanimous decision win over Cruz in the bantamweight contest. Cruz wins her second bronze medal in the past three World Championships with her semifinal finish in the 2016 event.
In the light heavyweight division, Crews challenged China’s Xiaoli Yang for a spot in the gold medal bout. It was Yang taking the victory in the contest by a 3-0 margin, giving Crews a bronze medal to add to her World Championships medal collection.
Shields and Green will each box in championship round action on Friday afternoon at the Barys Arena in Kazakhstan and the action can be viewed via livestream at www.aiba.org.
For all of the tournament brackets, competition schedule, bout sheets and current results, go to: www.aiba.org/aiba-womens-world-boxing-championships-astana-2016.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Kazakhstan.
Over 275 boxers from 70 nations are competing in the ninth edition of the Women’s World Championships. The first-ever Women’s World Boxing Championships took place in Scranton, Pa., in 2001 and has grown exponentially since that time. The 2016 event is the second world championships since the Olympic debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games. While only three women’s weight divisions are contested in Olympic competition, all 10 weight classes are showcased in world championships action.
U.S. Semifinal Results
106 lbs/48 kg: Yuyan Wang, CHN, dec. Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA, 3-0
119 lbs/54 kg: Stoyka Petrova, BUL, dec. Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, 3-0
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Nien Chin Chen, TPE, 3-0
178 lbs/81 kg: Xiaoli Yang, CHN, dec. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA, 3-0
178 + lbs/81+ kg: Shadasia Green, Patterson, N.J./USA, dec. Sennur Demir, TUR, 3-0