Posts Tagged ‘Olympic’
British heavyweight boxer Michael Sprott is interviewed by By Michael J Jones
A long-time contender on the British heavyweight scene, Michael Sprott seems to have been around forever. Turning pro way back in November 1996, Sprott has now had 54 pro fights and still has title aspirations at 37 years of age. Currently 36-18 (17), Sprott has been fighting at title level both in the UK and around Europe for ten years and has fought a virtual who’s-who of big names in that time from; Corrie Sanders in South Africa, Danny Williams three times, Audley Harrison twice an Ruslan Chagaev.
Not the tallest heavyweight at 6ft 1in, Sprott is usually a cagey operator with good boxing skills and a respectful dig. A long-time sparring-partner for both Klitschko brothers, Sprott was a British and Commonwealth champion in 04’ and as recently as 2010 was winning the latest Prizefighter.
Despite a patchy-looking record, when in the mood Michael can be a formidable fighter as seen in victories over Timo Hoffman, Mark Potter, Cengiz Koc and Audley Harrison.
The victory over Harrison was particularly impressive giving that the former Olympic champion was coming off a destruction of Danny Williams. Dropped to the canvas in the first, Sprott was well on top in the third round when a spectacular left hook knocked Audley out cold.
Although Michael has lost his last three fights, all came in very good company and one feels there still could be some memorable nights still left for the Reading contender. Here’s what Michael had to say-
MJ) How old were you when you first started boxing?
MS) I was thirteen when I first started. I had about 60 fights before turning pro.
MJ) Probably the first time I saw you was against Harry Senior in a Southern Area title fight on Sky. He stopped you in six with body-shots, what do you recall about that fight ?
MS) I remember that fight very well. I was going to pull out with a rib injury beforehand. I’d been sparring Danny Watts and Julius Francis and things weren’t going right in camp. My trainer talked me into going through with it saying it’d be all ok. I remember Harry going for a big haymaker and missing but he came back with a big shot to my solar plexus. It winded me and then seconds later another punch got me in the same place. I went down and the ref’ stopped it.
MJ) You lost to the much-bigger Wayne Llewellyn soon after, getting stopped in three before being matched with the hulking Timo Hoffman at York Hall. Nobody expected much from that fight but you boxed brilliantly to beat him on points over eight rounds. Were you as surprised at how well you handled him ?
MS) What happened was, we were both on the same bill and our respective opponents both pulled out so we were matched against each other. I think I was meant to fight Michael Holden. I knew I could do ok against Timo as I’d sparred him over in Germany. His team were impressed with me when we sparred, I out-boxed him most of the time. His trainer wasn’t very happy though, at the weigh-in he asked me “who was I fighting ?” I said “I’m fighting Timo”, he wasn’t happy, he didn’t have a clue !
We fought a rematch in Germany, I thought I won but they gave him the decision. Even the German crowd booed the announcement that he’d won.
MJ) The year after, you came in at late notice to take on Danny Williams for the British and Commonwealth titles. You fought bravely but he wore you down in seven rounds. You seemed to grow in confidence after that loss and reeled off the form of your career ?
MS) I don’t really count that fight as a loss as I only came in on four days notice. I was in Barbados on holiday when I got the call.
It was after that fight I started working with Johnny Greenfield and he completely changed my style of boxing. He taught me to punch more correctly and other things and I ended up winning eight fights in a row with six by knock-out. I stopped Pele Reid (KO 7), Mike Holden (KO 4) and Mark Potter (KO 3) among others.
When Johnny died it was a very hard year (2004). Denny Mancini (Sprott’s cut-man) died a short while after him so I lost two of my corner-men close together. Around the same time we also lost my sister’s boyfriend’s dad, it was a terrible time and a tough moment to get through.
MJ) Let’s talk about your second and third fights with Danny Williams. There was high anticipation for the rematch as your form was incredible at the time, but both that and the rubber match were controversial with Williams being awarded a stoppage win in the second bout and you won a close decision in the last encounter ?
MS) Yeah they were controversial. The second fight I was out-boxing him but he kept hitting me below the belt. The referee wasn’t even warning him when he should have penalised him. In the fifth I turned to tell the ref’ I’d been hit low again and (Danny) knocked me out. It was hard to take at the time but they say “protect yourself at all times” and, in that fight, I learned that.
The third fight, I know everybody said he won but I thought I boxed well and I was just really proud to be British and Commonwealth champion. That was a very proud moment for me.
MJ) You lost both titles a short time later to Matt Skelton. It seemed surprising at the time that only three months after winning the titles you were taking on an undefeated challenger in your very first defence ?
MS) It was a little bit frustrating because I only got told about the fight a month after winning the titles. I wanted it a bit later but the BBB of C pushed for it as he was my mandatory. Skelton is a hard worker in there. People don’t like his style but it works for him.
MJ) You fought mostly in Germany for the next couple of years but eventually came back to the UK to score probably your most famous victory. You fought Audley Harrison straight after he’d just wiped out Danny Williams and came off the canvas to knock him out cold with a left hook. Tell me about that fight ?
MS) When he fought the second fight with Danny Williams I was actually there ringside. I’d been offered the fight but turned it down (Matt Skelton pulled out at late notice). I watched the fight and, while Audley looked impressive, I knew for a fact Danny wasn’t fully prepared for that fight.
Big things were meant to happen for Audley but I had great training for the fight, six or seven weeks and got down to a good weight at 16st 8lbs; that’s a good fighting weight for me. I was told by my trainer to come out strong in the first but I knew that would be a mistake as Audley is a very good counter-puncher. I got dropped in the first but got through the round and took over a round later. It was a great left hook I caught him with, it was a similar shot that stopped Colin Kenna. I went to the body and came back with the hook. I was actually pretty surprised because I was aiming to wear him down and stop him later on in the fight in eight or nine rounds.
MJ) You came a cropper again against Matt Skelton in your next fight losing a close decision. Afterwards you went on your travels again boxing Lamon Brewster amongst others. You were due to return to take part in Prizefighter in October 2009 but tragedy struck and you were forced to pull out. Can you talk a little about that difficult period in your life and career ?
MS) My sister died tragically and I was devastated. It was a very tough time in my life, I thought about going through with Prizefighter but my mother told me not to. My head wasn’t in a good place, so I pulled out to support, and be there for, my family.
Audley Harrison won the tournament and immediately afterwards put his trophy up for auction. The money he raised he gave for my sister’s children. I never had the opportunity to thank him properly but it meant a lot what he did. I was hoping, win-lose-or-draw, I could speak to him at the end of our second fight but I never got the chance.
MJ) A lot of people will be surprised reading that. Why do you think he gets such a bad wrap in this country ?
MS) I don’t know, maybe he just doesn’t come across very well to certain people. I’ve known Audley a long time and know him well. When we were amateurs we used to spar and train together. He’s a good guy, I like him.
MJ) After a warm-up you fought Audley for the vacant European title. He was injured early and you seemed well ahead going into the last but he paid you back for that left hook ?
MS) Yeah he sure did (laughs). It’s funny how things work out but it just goes to show; it’s not over until it’s over. That’s why heavyweight boxing is so exciting; anything can change at any given moment. One minute I’m in control and waiting to be crowned European champion and the next it’s all over !
MJ) You came back to win the next Prizefighter tournament six months later, beating old foe Matt Skelton in the final. What was more satisfying; winning the tournament or finally beating Skelton ?
MS) I was very happy to do both. Obviously winning the tournament was great but also beating Matt after he’d beaten me twice was a good achievement too.
MJ) You had less success the following year in International Prizefighter losing to Tye Fields in the opening bout. It was very close did you think you’d won ?
MS) Yeah I did. I thought I landed the cleaner shots and combination punches while he hit gloves a lot. I thought I nicked it but also, with it being over here, I’d have a better chance again but they gave it him. It’s like that over in Germany; you’re never guaranteed the decision but I thought it’d be different over here.
MJ) You’ve lost your last three bouts to Fields, Alexander Dimitrenko and Kubrat Pulev. That’s great company but what do you hope to achieve in the last few years of your boxing career ?
MS) I’d really like to go for a world title…and win it. I was very close to getting a world title shot with the second Audley Harrison bout (Harrison getting destroyed by David Haye next time out), so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t get a chance with a couple of good wins. I’m 37 now but I feel good for my age, there’s no reason why I can’t carry on for a few more years.
Those last two fights I didn’t feel completely recovered from a bout of pneumonia I had last year. I sparred Alexander Povetkin for a month before falling ill with it. I didn’t feel great in either of those fights but I am much better now and can’t wait for my next fight. I wanted to continue against Pulev but my trainer Jim Evans said “you’re behind on points and taking unnecessary punches. You could go the distance but what’s the point ?” He was right I guess.
MJ) Who are you fighting next Mike ?
MS) I’m fighting (20-0 German) Edmund Gerber in Germany on August 26th. It was meant to be on the Povetkin-Rahman card on July 14th, so now it’s on the re-scheduled bill on the later date. It’s been a bit frustrating this year, I’ve not fought since January as I’ve had a few dates cancelled so I just hope this one doesn’t get scrapped like the others.
MJ) You’ve fought Matt Skelton three times, Danny Williams three times and Audley Harrison twice. If you could fight any of those former rivals again who would you pick and why?
MS) Hmmm…I don’t think I want to fight any of them again ! No seriously, I think I’ve kind of had revenge on all of them as I’ve beaten each one. Maybe I’d say Audley as it’s one win a piece.
MJ) What do you make of the younger heavyweight contenders coming through like Tyson Fury and Dave Price?
MS) We’ve got a good young generation of heavyweights coming through I think. David Price is the best for me, he’s tall, athletic and can bang. Tyson Fury is coming along well, I was impressed with his last fight. Fighting Martin Rogan as a southpaw was amazing. Richard Towers too looks a good fighter. They all look good but it’s time to see what they bring (in a higher class).
MJ) Is there any fight over the years that you wanted but never got ?
MS) Maybe Mike Tyson. I beat Danny Williams but he got the fight against Tyson. I have to give credit though; Danny beating him was a great achievement. Tyson wasn’t what he was but he still had the speed and power and was a dangerous man.
MJ) Many thanks for your time Mike and best of luck for your next fight.
MS) Thank you !
Published by kind permission of: Worldwide Weekly Boxing Predictions League
Olympic Boxing News Updates – 27 June, 2012 for: Malta, Ireland, England, Team GB, Haringey Box Cup and the AIBA
Malta - One Maltese Boxer who is doing rather well on the international amateur boxing scene is Haithem Laamouz. The Maltese boxer who originally hails from Sliema, Malta is based in London and trains at ‘The Lion Club’, under the tutelage of coaches Julian Borg and Steve Walters. Laamouz recently took gold at the fifth edition of the prestigious ‘Haringey Box Cup’ which is held annually in Wood Green, at the Alexander Palace, in London. Lammouz beat Jake Towse, of Hastings Westhill boxing club, in the 60KG class C category on a 4-1 points win. Earlier this year in March of 2012 at the Senior Elite London Finals in Croydon, the Maltese boxer made the finals and took the 60 KG championship in an all action bout against Ballinger.
Ireland – Ireland’s talented young boxers will be targeting semi-finals spots and at least a bronze medal apiece in Bulgaria today. Six Irish athletes are through to today’s European Junior Championships in Sofia. Today’s quarter-finals will be decided over two sesssion beginning at 3pm and 6.30pm local time (1pm and 4.30pm Irish time). June 27th European Junior Championships (Quarter-finals) – Afternoon session (1pm Irish time) 48kg: Jason McKay (Ireland) v Arturas Bankauskas (Lithuania), 50kg: Kalum McConville (Ireland) v Omer Koc (Turkey), 57Kg: Darren Pollock (Ireland) v Wladislaw Brayshnik (Germany), Evening sesssion (4.30pm Irish time), 60kg: Wayne Kelly (Ireland) v Alexander Morokhin (Russia), 66kg: Lewis Crocker (Ireland) v Oleksii Takarchuk (Ukraine), 75kg: Brian Wall (Ireland) v Mustafa Atmaca (Turkey).
England - The England team are still battling their way through the European Championships in Bulgaria. Each boxer has shown skill and determination throughout the tournament. England now have four boxer’s that will compete in the semi-finals tomorrow, they are Isaac Milburn (46kg), Brandon Daord (50kg), John Ruddick (54kg) and Reuben Arrowsmith (66kg).
Team GB – has recently announced their biggest ever GB Boxing squad for the 2012 Olympics. The team includes the three women who will make history by becoming the first British women to compete at the Olympic Games. Boxers on the GB team are: Andrew Selby, flyweight, up to 52 kg, Luke Campbell, bantamweight, up to 56 kg, Tom Stalker, light welterweight, up to 64 kg, Fred Evans, welterweight, up to 69 kg, Anthony Joshua, super heavyweight, +91 kg, Nicola Adams – Women’s Flyweight, 51kg, Natasha Jonas – Women’s Lightweight, 60kg, Savannah Marshall – Women’s Middleweight, 75kg, Anthony Ogogo – Men’s Middleweight, 75kg), Josh Taylor – Men’s Lightweight, 60kg. – The selections bring the total number of boxers who will fight for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics to ten – seven male and three female. They represent Team GB’s largest ever Olympic boxing squad, two more than were selected for the last Olympics in Beijing. – London is the first Olympic Games to include women’s boxing and Team GB will have plenty of reason for optimism after all three female boxers selected secured their qualification for London 2012 by winning medals at the recent World Championships in Quinhuangdao, China.
AIBA World Academy – With the grand opening of the AIBA World Academy expected for September 2013, AIBA and the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation are pleased to announce that the project is right on schedule. The revolution in grassroots development, that will see boxers from all over the world use the state of the art facilities in the beautiful setting of the Soldatskoye Valley, at the footsteps of the mountains near Almaty, is moving at great pace.
AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu – was recently elected to be the representative of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) on the International Olympic Committee Executive Board. The election took place at the ASOIF General Assembly, and Dr Wu won by competing against Mr Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union (UCI). “I have dedicated the past 30 years of my life to the development of sport and to the Olympic ideals. Today I am very proud to be able to contribute to the development and the protection all of our International Federation interests. Together with the ASOIF President, I will listen to all of you and defend your needs with dedication and with all my heart. I promise that I will do everything I can to bring our sports to the pinnacle of the Olympic movement”, stated Dr Wu after his election at the General Assembly.
SENI: Sat 2nd and Sun 3rd June 2012 at London’s ExCeL
Fight fans eager to check out some pugilism over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend should head down to SENI, the greatest combat sports show on the planet, where they can watch Matt Hainy take on Kreshnik Qato for the vacant English Middleweight title on Saturday 2nd June over 10 rounds. The showdown takes place at the ExCeL centre, which is the official Olympic venue for all the boxing events.
Qato, whose nickname is ‘The Eagle’ is based in Wembley and originally hails from Albania. He will be keen to clinch the St Georges belt and delight his huge fanbase, especially as Albania hasn’t qualified for the Euro’s this year. The former WBF Middleweight World Champion is managed by Spencer Fearonwhose boxing promotion company Hard Knocks will be hosting the professional boxing at SENI.
Fearon said: “The whole Hard Knocks team are really looking forward to the show, it’s great to be able to collaborate with one of the biggest and definitely the greatest combat sports show there is and it’s especially an honour to work with Joe Long. We’ll be brining some of the famous Hard Knocks energy that my fighters and I always bring – which was proven recently when my fighter Darren Hamilton took the British Light Welterweight title after stepping in to fightAshley Theopane with only five days notice! Hard Knocks for life!”
Hainy recently clinched the biggest fight of his career; beating Luke Robinson for the International Masters title. The 30 year old martial arts instructor from Derby has been sparring with Ryan Rhodes who takes on Sergey Rabchenko for a European title fight later in the month.
Hainy said: “My training was excellent for the Robinson fight and it’s been even better this time. My work rate will be better in this fight and I’m punching harder.”
There is also the highly anticipated comeback of former IBO Light Middleweight title holder, 40 year old Richard ‘the secret’ Williams who takes William Joppy who has held the WBA Middleweight title on three occasions!
Also on the card is Larry Ekundayo, the most exciting talent in British boxing at the moment who will be fighting in what is only his second professional contest. There’s action as 2010 Prizefighter winner Patrick Mendy takes on Geroge Jupp in a Super Middleweight bout. Plus fights from Danny Davis, Alredo Meli and Frankie Monkhouse!
There is also a London ABA event! All of this action takes place within Boxfair, the UK’s only consumer boxing expo that takes place within the SENI show.
SENI offers more boxing for your buck that any other combat sports show on the planet! Punters seeking toe-to-toe action can normally expect to pay anything upwards of £45 for a ticket to a professional boxing match; however visitors purchasing a SENI ticket for only £20 will have access to all parts of the show including the explosive Hard Knocks boxing promotion within Boxfair.
If you needed any more incentive to come along then remember that the SENI 2008 event was the first time David Haye got into Wladimir Klitschko’s face and they had the first of many face-offs. Both David Haye and Derek Chisora normally attend SENI, so could we have another face-off on our hands?
Plus fans can meet many of their past boxing heroes including former Commonwealth, British and World Featherweight champion Colin McMillan who will launch the updated version of his autobiography, Fight the Power at the show.
Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham the former British, Commonwealth and European Middleweight champion boxer will host a skipping exhibition at SENI and talk about his upcoming world record skipping attempt.
Plus there will be appearances from twice World Heavyweight Champion Tim Witherspoon, boxing promoter Frank Maloney and Jane Couch MBE who was the very ever officially licensed British female boxer.
By Michael O’Neill
7th AIBA Women’s World Championships
Report: Day 3
Today saw the first appearance of ‘ Magnificent Mary’ , at flyweight, at the 7th AIBA World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao as Indian ‘living legend’ and five times AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte came face to face with Japan’s Asian championships bronze medallist ,Ayako Minowa.
In truth it was a one sided encounter since Mary won their bout as easily as the 20:9 judges verdict suggests. She now meets Norway’s European Championships quarter-finalist 22-year-old Marielle Hansen. Marielle is ‘one for the future’ but it will be a major shock if she defeats Mary Kom.
The United States maintained their 100 percent record when US National Olympic Trials winner and AIBA Women’s World Championships bronze medallist Marlen Esparza defeated Argentina’s multiple Pan-American Champion Pamela Paola Benavides 20:10 . Next up for Esparza , is Vietnam’s 19-year-old Luu Thi Duyen .
The no. 1 seed was also in action Sunday when two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Games titleholder, Ren Cancan from China scored an impressive 16 : 4 win in front of her home fans as she eliminated Hungary’s EU Championships silver medallist Katalin Ancsin ,also at flyweight.
For Russia, Elena Savelyeva was another who won with something to spare when she met and defeated Chinese Taipei’s Pin Meng Chieh. As the bell tolled at end of round two Savelyeva led by 12:7 and she continued to dominate to the end against a gallant but overwhelmed Asian rival, 19:8 being the declared score.
Victory also for Ireland’s Ceire Smith, who boxes out of the Cavan BC under trainer Brian McKeown. This was the 20 years old‘s second win in two days as she overcame Jamaica’s Sarah-Joy Rae 12:4. In the Irish corner today were Peter Taylor – coach and father of Katie – and Zuar Antia and certainly Ceire carried out their instructions to the letter.
The number two seed in this weight division is Great Britain’s Nicola Adams and she too had an impressive second victory of the tournament overcoming Bulgaria’s Yana Levankova 19:7. Adams again demonstrated why she is one of the favourites for the title and now meets Venezuela’s Pan-American Champion Karla Magliocco in the last 16.
Astana International Tournament winner Azize Nimani was born in Kosovo but is fighting for Germany in the Olympic flyweight class. The 21-year-old won each of her contests until the 2010 AIBA Women’s World Championships in Bridgetown where she lost her first ever bout. Nimani continued her excellent winning series in Qinhuangdao as well where she turned back the fight against a favourite, Finland’s AIBA World Championships bronze medallist experienced Hanne Maekinen.
European Championships silver medallist Sarah Ourahmoune is a member of the French national squad since 2001 and these experiences resulted to her a victory over Ukraine’s former European Champion Tatyana Kob. The 30-year-old French boxer dominated the fight and advanced to the last 16 eliminating her seeded opponent.
Bulgaria’s European Championships bronze medallist and EU Champion Stoyka Petrova is on the right way to the London Olympic Games. She has eliminated a strong Asian rival, Thailand’s Peamwilai Laopeam in the first round and following that success, Petrova triumphed over Italy’s best hope, Valeria Calabrese in the next round.
France’s EU Championships silver medallist 25-year-old Delphine Mancini who is member of the national team since 2005, shocked the Turkish ringside and fans in Qinhuangdao. The French bantamweight boxer controlled her opening fight against Turkey’s European Championships bronze medallist strong Ayse Tas and had six points advantage before the final gong. The Istanbul-based Turkish boxer tried to turn back the fight and made an incredible last round but her efforts were not enough to win the bout therefore Mancini eliminated the Seed No.1.
Poland’s European Championships silver medallist Sandra Drabik could not secure her place in the Olympic flyweight class therefore she has decided to move up into the bantamweight division. The powerful Polish boxer did not give too many chances to Afghanistan’s Dushanbe International Tournament silver medallist Sadaf Rahimi and the referee stopped their unequal contest very quickly.
In the light flyweight division China’s President’s Cup winner 20-year-old Xu Shiqi who replaced Luo Yujie just before the tournament, started her competition and saved the host nation’s perfect balance. The young Chinese boxer outpointed Sweden’s Turkish Prime Ministry Tournament silver medallist Elin Roennlund in the first round and finally she could celebrate her advance winning the bout by 12:5. Xu Shiqi’s next opponent will be Wales’ European Championships silver medallist Lynsey Holdaway who was seeded as No.1.
Romania’s European Championships silver medallist Lidia Ion moved down into the light flyweight class following her loss at the National Cup in the Olympic 51kg. The experienced boxer had to use up all of her skills to beat Tajikistan’s 22-year-old Matluba Karimova who had less international contests in her career.
Poland’s former European Youth Champion 20-year-old Magdalena Stelmach’s skills and boxing knowledge extremely developed in the last one year therefore her great show against Venezuela’s Nurys Silvera was not a surprise. The referee stopped the contest in the third round when Stelmach led by 15:3 against her South American opponent.
Russia’s former European Youth Champion 22-year-old Daria Abramova secured the right at the very first time to represent her strong nation in Qinhuangdao. Her first rival was France’s European Championships quarter-finalist Laetitia Chevalier but the Russian boxer won their contest in the easier way than expected before the bout.
Netherlands’ current European Champion veteran Marichelle De Jong who was seeded as welterweight No.1 in Qinhuangdao, defeated the second Indian boxer in the competition. Her Asian opponent, National Games winner Neetu Chahal led by 2:1 after two minutes but De Jong stepped up to the gas and her efforts were enough to beat the Indian fighter. The Dutch boxer became the first in the event in China who could secure her place in the quarter-final stage of the championships.
US National Champion Raquel Miller,who began boxing only in 2010, fought for the last eight against Canada’s current Pan-American Champion Myriam Da Silva at the welterweight class. They met each other at the AMBC’s Continental Championships in Cornwall in March where the Canadian boxer won their narrow contest with one point difference. In Qinhuangdao the US competitor was able to strike back to her opponent and advanced to the quarter-final winning the equal bout by accepted scores.
China’s current Asian Champion 19-year-old Wang Dongmei finalized the perfect day for the host nation following her easy success over Sri Lanka’s Asian Championships bronze medallist Dapana Durage Shiromali Weerarathna. Wang’s next opponent in the quarter-final will be Russia’s former European Champion Irina Poteyeva who eliminated Wales’ 18-year-old Lauren Price in a narrow battle”
Monday sees the much looked forward to ‘battle royal’ between Claressa Shields (USA) and Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall whilst Ireland’s Katie Taylor begins the defence of her 60kg lightweight crown against Tunisia’s Rim Juini, a bronze medallist in the 57kg class in Barbados 2010. A great day’s boxing in store then Monday – and indeed for the rest of the week.
By Michael O’Neill
7th Women’s World Boxing Championship – and only Olympic qualifier
The 7th edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships got under way at the Qinhuangdao Olympic Stadium , in Qinhuangdao, China Friday where some 343 contestants from 77 are scheduled to take part, a new record for the event . In three weight categories, Flyweight 51kg, Lightweight 60kg, and Middleweight 75kg, there is even more than the world title at stake since the top eight in each, automatically qualify for a place in the 30th Olympiad in London later this Summer .
Host nation, China has entered all ten weight divisions, so too Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Turkey and Ukraine, while the United States, Canada, France, Romania and Kenya all send nine representatives each. Vietnam and Australia supply eight whilst seven each from Germany, Poland, Serbia, DPR Korea and Venezuela have entered this qualification event .
That women’s boxing continues to attract new nations can be seen from fact that for the first time Afghanistan, Armenia, Austria, Bolivia, Colombia, DR Congo, Honduras, Jamaica, Nigeria, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Uzbekistan have entered at least one boxer .
Sadly still no entry from Cuba or Saudi Arabia to name but two who have yet to embrace the sport.
On Friday, the AIBA announced the seeds for the various weight categories so let us look at those in the three Olympic weights.
Firstly at 51kg (55 participating) : 1.Cancan Ren, China 2. Nicola Adams,England 3.Elena Savelyeva ,Russia 4.Karolina Michalczuk, Poland 5. Tetyana Kob, Ukraine , 6.Steluta Duta, Romania 7.Mery Kom Hmangte, India 8.Marlen Esparza, USA
Next to 60kg : (58 entries) : 1. Katie Taylor, Ireland 2. Gulsum Tatar, Turkey 3.Cheng Dong,China 4.Tassamalee Thongjan, Thailand 5.Karolina Graczyk, Poland , 6.Adriana dos Santos, Brazil 7.Quanitta Underwood USA, 8.Denitsa Eliseeva , Bulgaria
Finally to 75kg: (40 contestants): 1.Mary Spencer, Canada. 2.Nazezda Torlopova,Russia 3. Jinzi Li, China 4.Roseli Amaral Feitosa, Brazil 5.Liliya Durneyva, Ukraine 6.Savannah Marshall, England. 7.Nouchka Fontijn, Netherlands 8. Maria Kovacs, Hungary
Surprises? Canada’s Mandy Bujold misses out at 51kg but the real ‘shock omissions’ come in the other two Olympic categories. At 60kg, amazingly no place for Russia’s two times World champion Sofya Ochigava nor for England’s Natasha Jonas , while at 75kg, U.S Olympic Trials winner, Claressa Shields misses out despite her recent convincing victory over Canada’s top ranked, Mary Spencer. Whilst most experts predicted Spencer would be at no.1 – and deservedly so -equally despite her inexperience, Shields was tipped for a top 4 seeding. Her first real test is expected to be against Hartlepool’s ‘silent assassin’ Savannah Marshall (representing England) on Monday evening. Marshall was a silver medallist in Barbados 2010 albeit at a lower weight.
To a large extent the absence of these ‘high profile’ fighters from the seedings serves but to demonstrate the current strength of women’s boxing but anyone ‘writing off’ the chances of such as Ochigava, Jonas, Bujold or Shields does so at their peril.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor, seeking a fourth successive 60kg title has a first round bye – the draw was also made Friday – and on Monday meets either Tunisian, Rim Jouini or Portugal’s Juliana Canedo da Rocha. Second seed ,Turkey’s Gulsum Tatar who has moved down to 60kg , also has a bye and this is followed again on Monday by a bout against Ayzanat Hajiyeva of Azerbaijan or India’s Asian titleholder Sarita Laishram Devi, the type of bout that neither boxer would have wished for this early in the tournament. Quanitta Underwood begins her quest for an Olympic place on Saturday (12th) against Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez . Arguably the biggest surprise in the 60kg event, apart from Ochigava’s omission, is the no 4 ranking of Thailand’s Tassamalee Thongjan, who normally competes at 57kg and was bronze medal winner at the last world championships in Barbados.
Five times champion Mery Kom Hmangte now competes in the 51kg classification though only ranked at no.7. Most boxing fans will be willing her on to gain a place in London 2012 but she is in the same half of the draw as England’s Nikki Adams who has been in superb form of late. An interesting point here is that England and Wales have both entered teams in China whereas in the Olympics they (and Scotland) compete under the Great Britain flag.
A reminder that the AIBA announced that boxing would be separated into men and women events at its 13th congress held in Beijing in 1994. The first official international amateur tournament for women boxers was then held in 1997 with the inaugural AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships taking place four years later in Scranton, USA. After six successful editions, AIBA is now organising the first Olympic qualification tournament for women boxers in conjunction with the event in Qinhuangdao.
Following the International Olympic Committee’s decision in 2009 to include women’s boxing into the Olympic program, the sport has reached a new phase in its development with a huge increase in the number of participants worldwide.
We end, courtesy of AIBA, with a review of the opening day in Qinhuangdao.
“The most anticipated AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships Qinhuangdao 2012 started this Friday 11 May in China with 57kg and 69kg advancing to the Last 16.
On the opening contest of the worldwide event, India’s two-time National Champion Mandakini Chanu Kangabam did not give too many chances to Serbia’s Silesian Open Tournament silver medallist Bojana Ranic. The Indian boxer led by 10:3 after the first two minutes and finally the referee stopped their unequal fight in the third round.
Chinese Taipei’s former Asian Champion Chen Chia Ling returned to the world of boxing last year and regained her place in the national squad. She proved in her first contest that she is a top fighter in the featherweight class and overwhelmed Australia’s AIBA Junior World Championships quarter-finalist 17-year-old Skye Nicolson in Qinhuangdao.
Turkey’s four-time European Championships bronze medallist Nagehan Malkoc Gul fought against Bulgaria’s former European Youth Champion and EU Championships silver medallist 22-year-old Svetlana Kamenova Staneva in the first preliminary round. The taller Bulgarian boxer opened with a 4:1 lead while the Turkish athlete did not find the best fighting distance therefore Staneva’s victory is not a surprise.
Hungary’s AIBA Junior World Championships bronze medallist Kornelia Kitti Nagy who celebrated her 17th birthday just before her first elite competition, had a brave attempt to beat Mexico’s Independence Cup silver medallist tough Cynthia Robles. The Central American boxer started better the bout and made a great last round when her teenager rival was too tired to turn the battle.
Japan’s multiple National Champion veteran Nana Yoshikawa won each of the rounds in her debut contest against Kenya’s best featherweight boxer Rebah Matanda. The final verdict of their bout was 22:10 to Yoshikawa who advanced to the last 16 in the AIBA Women’s World Championships and will now meet England’s European Championships silver medallist Lisa Whiteside who was seeded as No.3.
Canada’s Turkish Prime Ministry Tournament bronze medallist Melissa Guillemette led by 4:2 after the first tactical round against Denmark’s newly crowned Nordic Champion 22-year-old Sarah Mahfoud. Guillemette showed excellent footwork in her first contest and that performance was enough to beat Mahfoud by 15:7.
Vietnam’s current AIBA Junior World Champion 16-year-old Vuong Thi Vy who is member of the ‘AIBA Road to London Program’ had an easy opening contest in Qinhuangdao. Vietnam’s best future hope proved that her present is also great and she increased her boxing knowledge in the UK in the Winter. Her first rival was Croatia’s National Champion Annamarija Vujaklija who had no chance to beat her teenager opponent.
France’s 22-year-old Malva Hammadouche who had several victories in the international level last year, showed her great technique against Germany’s EU Championships bronze medallist Maike Klueners in the first preliminary round. The French boxer and her ringside found the winning tactic in the third round and eliminated her neighbouring rival by 29:18.
Russia’s European Championships bronze medallist Viktoriya Gurkovich outpointed her first opponent in Qinhuangdao, Slovakia’s only competitor in the event, 18-year-old Piroska Bodoki who has got only five contests in her career. The referee stopped their contest very quickly to save Bodoki’s health.
At the welterweight class India’s Asian Women’s Cup bronze medallist Neetu Chahal advanced to the last 16 after beating Hungary’s EU Champion 23-year-old Bianka Nagy who is member of the national team since 2006. The Indian boxer dominated during their contest and won the bout by a large margin of points.
Reigning US National Champion Raquel Miller who has been boxing since only 2010, also secured her place in the last 16 at the welterweight class following her success over New Zealand’s best future hope, Arafura Games winner 18-year-old Daena Stephenson. Miller’s next opponent will be Canada’s Panamerican Champion Myriam Da Silva in the next preliminary round.
So ends the first day in China with the ‘big guns’ entering tomorrow when among those in action will be Quanitta Underwood against Argentinian rival Dayana Sanchez at 60kg.