US middleweight Claressa Shields, the London 2012 gold medallist and Rio Olympian, won her second bout of the AIBA Women’s World championships at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan on Sunday.
Shields occupied the centre of the ring and let Uzbekistan’s Nafisakhon Askarova come to her. The Uzbek was too wild with her swinging hooks, while Shields hammered her back with fast, straight shots. Claressa hit to hurt, dropping her gloves in the last round as she slung eye-catching punches in, maintaining her aggression throughout. An exciting four-round battle that Shields won widely, 40-36 and 40-35 twice.
British middleweight Savannah Marshall won her second bout at the Worlds. India’s Pooja Rani tried to rush Marshall, winging punches at her. But Savannah took her measure and bounced easily forward and back, light on her feet, punishing Rani and keeping her on the end of long one-twos.
Savannah took a unanimous decision, 40-36 for all three judges and now has her crucial quarter-final to look forward to. She boxes China’s Qian Li on Tuesday. Marshall must win that bout to qualify for the Olympic Games this year. Li is seeded third at this tournament and through her continental qualifier has already booked a spot at Rio 2016.
While Shields is the Olympic champion and reigning World gold medallist, Marshall remains the last boxer to beat her. Here they are on opposite sides of the draw so both would need to win through to the final in Kazakhstan to box each other again.
Lisa Whiteside, a 2014 World silver medallist, has moved up to 54kgs but ran into Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova. A tall, experienced southpaw, Petrova frustrated Whiteside at every turn. She stayed on the backfoot and tapped in counters as Lisa approached, pegging the Briton back with well-timed, flush back hands, winning unanimously, 40-36 for all three judges.
Britain’s Sandy Ryan is in action on Monday, boxing Russia’s Daria Abramova at about 10.15am (UK time). Both Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor are boxing in the second session of the day. Adams faces Azerbaijan southpaw Anna Alimardanova at about 2.30pm and Taylor boxes Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez at about 3pm.