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Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor strike Gold on finals day of AIBA Women's Elites in Korea
by Michael O'Neill
November 25,  2014


(NOV 25)  The 2014 Eighth edition of the AIBA Women’s Elite championships was brought to a close this morning in the Halla Gymnasium in Jeju, South Korea.

It was, by general consent, the best in the series to date with several new young talents emerging, some from powerhouses like Russia and China, others from countries like Panama and Azerbaijan where the womens’ sport is in its infancy.

Claressa Shields in the Finals

There were many ‘stand out’ performances, of which more later but arguably the Championships will best be remembered for the superb achievements of 19 years old Claressa Shields from the United States – who took her first AIBA Elite title here – and for a record equalling fifth in a row title for Ireland’s Katie Taylor, who once again ‘saw off’ the challenge of all pretenders to her 60kg Lightweight crown.

The Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award went to Shields, the 75kg Middleweight champion and deservedly so. An extremely delighted Claressa said:

“I’m totally humbled, my heart feels so full. To win my first AIBA world title was more than enough, but to win the Outstanding Boxer award too, I’m just so thankful,” she concluded. . For more information on Shields’ success and those of the rest of the U.S team (inc. Marlen Esparza) check out Julie Goldsticker’s latest report.

Taylor Defeats Yana Allekseeva  Photo: AIBA

Meanwhile fellow Olympic Gold medallist Taylor was going about her business as usual. The Wicklow orthodox defeated Azerbaijan’s Yana Allekseeva on a unanimous decision (40-36,39-37, 39-37).

As for Taylor’s 154th successive win in competitive bouts, and her 17th in a row major International title, the Bray boxer’s thirst for Gold remains unquenched.

“It’s an absolute privilege to equal that record of 5 world titles. Thank God for another great victory and I know that everyone at home was praying for me; that’s so encouraging and reassuring as well.

I’m absolutely delighted. It was such a tough fight. I didn’t know what was going to happen at the end there.

It’s an absolute privilege to equal Mary Kom’s record. She’s a hero in the sport.

Thanks again to my dad and coaches Gerry (Storey) and Zaur (Antia) in the corner. The tactics again were spot on. It was very, very tricky. You can’t rush in, in these sorts of fights, you have to be very, very patient.”

After the tournament, it was revealed that she had been protecting an injured wrist and is set to have a scan soon after her arrival in Dublin, on Tuesday evening.

Those seventeen major titles include one Olympic, five World, six European and five European Union Golds – all since 2005.A remarkable record, from a remarkable athlete who at 28 is nearing the peak of her career. On the subject of plans for the future:

“It’s not hard to find the motivation at all when you see that every contest is so tight. Every championship is so hard to win and so hard to defend. I know how hard it is to win one world title so to keep defending those titles is an absolutely huge challenge.

“I’m going to try and defend the Olympic title now and try to make history again. I’ll take a good rest now, a few weeks off and enjoy my Christmas and I’ll be back for next year.”

Among the first to offer his congratulations was Ireland’s President, Michael D. Higgins.

His view on Taylor’s ‘five in a row’:

“All of us are so proud of her.

“She again showed such remarkable skill, determination and courage at the very highest level.

“Katie Taylor is without doubt the outstanding Irish sportswoman of her generation and has set a standard for all Irish sportspeople to follow in decades ahead,” he concluded.

AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu spoke about these championships and his hopes for the future:

“Since its historic launch at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Women Boxing has become hugely popular all around the world – and this is conclusively demonstrated by the enormous wealth of talent that has competed here in Jeju.”

“The development of Women Boxing has been one of my top priorities ever since my election as President of AIBA. When we announced that Women boxers would compete at the London Olympics in 2012, many people doubted whether it would work. Instead, the Women’s boxing competition proved to be one of the greatest successes of the entire Games.

“Now, just two years later, all multi-sports Games will have Women Boxing Competitions. Our intention is that Women’s Boxing will, in future, also be an integral part of both our new APB and WSB competitions.”

We conclude these Championships with the final report from Jeju courtesy of the AIBA’s communications team to whom our grateful thanks.

“The ten gold medal bouts of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Jeju were held in the front of the local boxing fans, as Ireland’s legendary Katie Taylor secured her fifth title in a row, US London 2012 Olympic Champion Claressa Shields won her first AIBA Women’s Championships gold, while Atheyna Bylon of Panama became one of the greatest sportswomen in the history of her country.

Bout of the day:

Katie Taylor began her boxing career with her coach and father Peter Taylor in Bray back in 1998 at the age of 12, and the Irish boxer joined the national squad in 2004, winning her first AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India in 2006.

She has subsequently successfully defended her throne in Ningbo City in 2008, in Bridgetown in 2010 and in Qinhuangdao in 2012.

Besides those gold medals, Taylor also won the London 2012 Olympic Games, and all continental Championships since 2005.

Her most difficult fight should have been held in the quarter-finals against Russia’s two-time AIBA Women’s World Champion Sofya Ochigava, but the Russian was forced to pull out before the bout due to injury.

Taylor had a tough contest in the semi-finals against China’s Asian Games winner Yin Junhua before her Asian opponent also became injured during the third round of their fight.

The Irish icon then had to meet for the gold medal with 27-year-old Yana Alekseevna to secure her fifth title.

Azerbaijan’s lone finalist tried to get close in the opening round of the Lightweight class (60 kg) final, but Taylor picked up the pace in the second round, and proved her undoubted class throughout the contest, ultimately winning a well-deserved fifth gold medal.

Team of the day:

Marlen Esparza Wins the Gold (Second to left)

London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Marlen Esparza also claimed a bronze medal in her first AIBA Women’s World Championships in New Delhi, and the 25-year-old’s Flyweight class (51 kg) final was against England’s Lisa Whiteside who replaced injured London 2012 Olympic Champion Nicola Adams in their squad.

Her English rival claimed a bronze medal at the last edition of the AIBA Women’s World Championships in Qinhuangdao at the Featherweight class (57 kg), and Whiteside was able to control the opening portion of the fight, before Esparza improved her tactics as the fight progressed.

The US boxer displayed wonderful footwork in the middle part of the bout, and her efforts were enough to win by a narrow split decision.

Claressa Shields is only 19, but she had won all of the major events during her career excluding the AIBA Women’s World Championships.

America’s teenage sensation defeated China’s Incheon 2014 Asian Games winner Li Qian in the final to complete the golden set.

The defence of Shields was excellent, and her energy unparalleled as she won the bout by unanimous decision and achieved her first World Championships title.

Surprises of the day:

Stanimira Petrova

Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova defeated four tough rivals on the road to the finals which was surprising enough as she was relatively unknown coming into the Championships, but her final opponent was the favourite of the Bantamweight class (54 kg), Italy’s defending EUBC European Women’s Continental Champion Marzia Davide.

The Italian claimed her first medal, a silver at the 2nd edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Antalya twelve years ago, and was looking for gold over a decade later.

This was a rematch of a bout they had at the Mohamed VI Trophy in Marrakech last month, which was won closely by Davide.

In the return match, Petrova’s tactics were much better against the Italian veteran, and her youth and sheer effort delivered an unexpected gold medal in Jeju.

Photo of Atheyna Bylon

Panama’s Atheyna Bylon claimed a silver medal in the South American Games in Santiago de Chile on March which was her career highlight before these Championships, and the ‘AIBA Road to Jeju Program’ member used all her recent experience to remarkable effect in Korea.

After becoming the first women’s boxer from Panama to win just one bout in a AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, she then went all the way and claimed the Welterweight class (69 kg) gold medal against Russia’s Saadat Abdullaeva.

Ones to watch:

Nesthy Petecio

Philippines’ China Open Tournament winner Nesthy Petecio joined their national squad in 2009 at the age of 17, and following five years of experience at international level she was able to reach the finals in an AIBA event.

The 22-year-old Featherweight class (57 kg) boxer eliminated the defending champion, Tiara Brown of the United States in the semi-finals, and her gold medal opponent was also a star rival, Russia’s EUBC European Women’s Continental Champion Zinaida Dobrynina.

Russia’s Dobrynina tried to prevent the attacks of the quick Filipino boxer in the opening round, which meant that Petecio’s attacks were stifled in the early part of the fight.

Despite some clever adjustments from the Asian athlete, the Russian boxer kept the control, which was enough to get the gold medal.

Both athletes look set to be gold medal contenders for years to come.

Stat/Fact of the day:

Katie Taylor secured her fifth title in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, and joins India’s Mary Kom who also won the same number of golds in the event between 2002 and 2010.

Bulgaria and Kazakhstan achieved their first ever gold medals in the history of the Championships, while unexpectedly Panama also did the same following Atheyna Bylon’s incredible performance in Korea.

Netherlands claimed a medal in the last edition of the Championships in Qinhuangdao, and Nouchka Fontijn was able to continue that run in Jeju.

Japan’s 19-year-old Madoka Wada became the youngest medallist of the 8th edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Korea, and the host of the Championships also bagged its first ever medal.

Quote of the day:

“It is an absolute privilege to equal that record of five World Championships titles, and I thank God for another great victory. I am absolutely delighted. It was such a tight contest, every round was very close and tricky. The tactics from my dad and Zuar Antia were spot on again. Every Championships is so hard to win and so hard to defend,” said Ireland’s Katie Taylor following her victory.

Upcoming AIBA Women’s World Championships in 2016:

The next ninth edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships will be the qualifying competition for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and is scheduled to take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan”.

Final day’s results: Link

Full results from every day: Link (thanks to Strefa and Tibor Kincses)

AIBA’s ‘You Tube’ coverage of ALL of the day’s finals: Link
(Beware----this is some 3 hours 50 mins. long so beware of costs – WBAN can accept no responsibility should you end up with a large invoice from your service provider)

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