WHILE the US men are in an Olympic slump, America’s women’s team is their cause for hope. Both of the USA’s Olympic medallists, Claressa Shields, who won gold at 75kgs, and flyweight bronze medallist Marlen Esparza are in Jeju, Korea for the women’s World championships. The US has a full complement here of 10 boxers, more than Britain or Ireland.
280 boxers from 67 countries weighed in for the competition on Sunday (November 16) and the draw, which curiously was unseeded, took place that afternoon. The lack of seeding means that Olympic champ Shields and World gold medallist, GB’s Savannah Marshall would meet as soon as the quarter-finals, if they both keep winning. On Thursday (November 20) Marshall will face the winner of Russia’s Iaroslava Iakushina and Costa Rica’s Emily Jiminez. Shields opens her account against Uganda’s Helen Baleke on Wednesday and would then progress to the winner of Korea’s Suyeon Choi versus Poland’s Lidia Fidura.
At lightweight GB’s Chantelle Cameron has the rough draw. If Russia’s Olympic silver medallist Sofya Ochigava beats Chinese Taipei’s Chia-Ling Chen tomorrow, as expected, then Cameron would box the Russian on Wednesday. The winner of that would meet Katie Taylor in the quarter-final, if the Irish Olympic gold medallist wins her preliminary bouts. American lightweight Queen Underwood boxes Bulgaria’s Denitsa Eliseeva on Wednesday. Welsh lightweight Charlene Jones is on their side of the draw. She’ll box Canada’s Caroline Veyre on Monday.
Marlen Esparza boxes Mongolia’s Nandintsetseg Myagmardulam and on the other side of the draw at 51kgs GB’s Lisa Whiteside boxes Belarus’ flyweight Yana Burym, both on Monday.
England’s Stacey Copeland has a hard draw at 69kgs. Azerbaijan’s European champion a middleweight World silver medallist, Elena Vystropova is the Briton’s first bout on Monday evening. Lauren Price, after winning a Commonwealth Games bronze medal at 75kgs, drops down to welterweight. She gets a bye first and then on Wednesday will box the winner of Panama, Atheyna Bylon and India’s Neetu.
Ireland’s Michaela Walsh, after pushing Nicola Adams in the Commonwealth Games flyweight final, moves up to 54kgs and will box Jamaica’s Sarah-Joy Rae on Tuesday.
The World championships began at the Halla Gymnasium in Jeju on Sunday (November 16) with light-welterweight Sandy Ryan getting GB off to the start they wanted. With sharp movement, Ryan boxed well, powering into Bianka Nagy with back hand rights. She gave the Hungarian a standing count in the third round and won a unanimous decision.
A good start but it’s going to get even harder from here on.
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