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Team USA’s Esparza and Cruz the Open 2012 World Championships in Victorious Fashion While  Miller Notches Second Win
by Julie Goldsticker
May 15, 2012
     
   
   
   
   

(MAY 15) Former flyweight foes Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) opened 2012 Women's World Championships with first round victories in Qinhuangdao, China on Sunday. Esparza, who competes in the flyweight division, took her first step toward international qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games in London with an opening bout win in the qualifying tournament.

Esparza faced Argentina's Paola Benavidez in the flyweight preliminary round contest and she continued her impressive results against opponents from her continent, winning a 20-10 decision. Benavidez kept the bout close through the first two rounds as Esparza took a 3-1 lead after the first round and held an 8-6 advantage at the midway mark of the bout. Yet the 22-year-old six-time national champion grabbed full control of the match in the third, nearly doubling her point total while holding Benavidez to only one point in the round. She took a 15-7 lead into the final stanza and continued to add to her margin of victory over the final two minutes to win a 20-10 final decision. She will return to action on Tuesday in a bout with Vietnam’s Luu Thi Duyen.

Cruz, who previously competed at the flyweight division but moved up to bantamweight after the Olympic Trials, enjoyed a strong victory in her bantamweight preliminary round bout with Nicole Michel of Switzerland. The American boxer held Michele scoreless in the opening round, claiming a 3-0 lead after the first two minutes of the bout. She let her hands fly in the second, moving out a 6-2 lead over Michele at the halfway point of the bantamweight contest. Yet Cruz didn't sit on her lead in the final four minutes. She held a 14-6 lead as the bell for the final round rang and continued to pour it on in the fourth, winning a 22-8 final decision. She moves on to a match-up with Shora Rezaie Jahroni of Norway on Tuesday.

Welterweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.) returned to the ring for her second bout of the tournament in a 2012 Women’s Continental Championships rematch with Canada’s Myriam DaSilva. It was the Canadian taking the first match-up a few weeks ago in her home nation but Miller avenged her loss with a tiebreaker win in China. The bout was extremely close through the first two rounds with Miller taking a slim one point lead after the second. She picked it up in the third and enjoyed a three-point edge with round remaining. DaSilva came flying back in the final round to tie the bout at 18-18, but Miller was named the winner on tiebreaker to advance in tournament action. She will face Turkey’s Bilgehan Karabult in Wednesday’s action.

Four U.S. boxers will compete on Sunday with Olympic hopefuls Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) and Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) returning to the ring and featherweight Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) opening competition. Underwood will face off with New Zealand’s Alexis Pritchard with Shields battling World Championships silver medalist Savannah Marshall of England. Brown will battle India’s Mandakini Chanu Kangabam and Crews will take on France’s Sabrina Delarue on the fourth day of tournament action.

U.S. Results
112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA dec. Paola Benavidez, ARG, 20-10
119 lbs: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA dec. Nicole Michel, SUI, 22-8
152 lbs: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif./USA dec. Myriam Da Silva, CAN, 18-18


USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
 

 
     
     
   
 
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