SAN DIEGO, August 6, 2012 – Even though there are only three women on the USA Boxing Team in the London Olympic Games compared to ten men, they are already guaranteed to outpace them in the medal count.
While only a single men’s competitor our of the ten left in the competition, welterweight Errol Spence, both flyweights Marlen Esparza and lightweight Claressa Shields are on their way to the medal rounds after winning their bouts today.
Esparza defeated Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela by a score of 24 to 16 in a fight with more action than most of the men’s bouts. Esparza smartly connected with left hooks despite having trouble with her headgear staying on. She later said her hair kept pushing it off. But she refused to get involved in brawling, preferring to do her damage and move away, playing the fight smart.
“I know the USA needed it badly, so I’m excited,” Esparza said. “Now it’s time to get what I really came here for.” She won’t have it easy. Esparza now faces reigning world champion Ren Cancan of China on Wednesday. If she wins, she goes into the gold medal round for either gold or silver. If she loses, she receives a bronze automatically; there is no consolation bout. Both losing fighters on Wednesday receive bronze medals.
The story is the same for 17-year-old Claressa Shields of Flint, Michgan. She was victorious over Anna Laurell of Sweden, 18 to 14. Shields now takes on Marina Volnoza of Kazahkstan, who beat world champion and gold medal favorite Savannah Marshall of Great Britain. Shields was behind but unleashed a late rally against the veteran Laurell, who fought at the first world championships 11 years ago.
“I had to keep myself calm out there,” said Shields, who could still hear instructions from her personal coach, Jason Crutchfield, shouted from the stands. “I didn’t want to be overanxious, but it was kind of like, ‘Wow.’”
“I definitely don’t feel like I fight like a girl,” Shields said. “I’m boxing out there. I just happen to hit hard.”’
Shields and Esparza are back in the ring for the medal round on Wednesday morning, August 8, starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
The venue for women’s boxing, the ExCel Arena, has been a sellout for all the women’s bouts and the crowds have embraced women’s boxing with enthusiasm. An Olympic official said the decibel level during the final bout of the day, pitting Irish world champion Katie Taylor against Great Britain’s Natasha Jonas, hit 113.7 decibels, the highest at the Games so far. This beat the cycling finals at the velodrome and is not far behind the 140-decibel roar of a jet engine.
The main event of the day was Taylor’s thrilling defeat of Jonas. Irish fans showed up in droves to cheer on Taylor, who was the Irish team’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony. The arena sounded more like a soccer match, which would make Taylor, a former member of the Ireland national soccer team, right at home. Jonas held her own against Taylor in the first half of the fight, but Taylor did damage with brutal combinations in the last two rounds. Jonas took two standing eight-counts and the deal was sealed for Taylor.
Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova won the day’s final bout, and said, “When you see women’s boxing at the highest level, after this kind of a performance, I don’t know how you can argue we don’t belong in the Olympics.” The crowds packing the ExCel Arena and fans old and new around the world agree.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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