London, Great Britain, July 26, 2012: boxers, it just a few days to go until the biggest show on Earth gets underway in the British capital, we look at the men and women in each of the weight categories who can have a real impact at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the final part of this series, we examine the Fly (51kg), Light (60kg) and Middleweight (75kg) women.
Women Flyweight (51kg)
Ren Cancan won gold at the most recent AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in China, a title she defended once again. Her main rival in London will be Great Britain’s Nicola Adams, whom she has defeated in the last two World Championships finals. Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, also known as Mary Kom, moved up weight classes in order to qualify for the Olympic Games and is determined not to leave the capital without at least a medal. Veteran Karolina Michalczuk from Poland, Russia’s Elena Savelyeva and the American Marlen Esparza, who was recently featured in Vogue magazine, are also tough competitors who can really make a difference.
Women Lightweight (60kg)
Difficult to look beyond the Irish icon Katie Taylor (photo) for this one, she was recently crowned a quadruple AIBA World Champion and took the best boxer trophy in China. Her main rival will be the impressive Russian Sofya Ochigava, who she defeated in the final. Quanitta Lee ‘Queen’ Underwood and Great Britain’s Natasha Jones are the other favourites behind the front two. New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard trained with the AIBA Road to London programs and sparred with some of the best boxers around in preparation for the Olympic Games so could be a dark horse in the draw.
Women Middleweight (75kg)
Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall, a 21-year-old orthodox fighter from Hartlepool, dubbed the ‘Silent Assassin’, became the first British woman to be crowned an AIBA World Champion after taking gold at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships Qinhuangdao 2012 and now will be the firm favourite to take the Olympic title after defeating all before her in China. Marshall will be the one to beat, but she has some tough opposition to deal with.
Azerbaijan’s Elena Vystropova came second to the young Brit in the World Championships this year and after losing by just two points in the final, she will firmly believe that she can claim gold at the ExCeL London on 9 July when then women’s finals take place. Canada’s triple AIBA World Champion Mary Spencer was one of the sport’s dominant forces in recent years so will be keen to re-assert her authority on the young pretenders. Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova was the Heavyweight (81kg) AIBA World Champion in 2010 so her power makes her a major contender too. Finally, American teenage sensation Claressa Shields is one the most talented fighters to ever emerge in women’s boxing and even though she is only 17, she has all the attributes of a future great. —- AIBA