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PanAm Games in Toronto - the story so far and preview of finals
by Michael O'Neill
July 24, 2015
Photo: Raquel Ruiz

(JULY 24)  The 2015 PanAm Games boxing tournament reaches its final stages this weekend with all 13 Gold medal bouts taking place Friday and Saturday.

Alas there are yet again but three women’s weights in these championships so let us take a look at the competition in the ring so far and take a look at what is in store in Friday and Saturday’s ‘mouth-watering’ finals.  

Toronto 2015 PanAm Games are taking place 10-26 July 2015 and involve some  7,000 athletes from Latin America, South America, the Caribbean and North America. Boxing is but one of the 36 sports represented . American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) President Osvaldo Bisbal said: “I am very excited about the  PanAm Games in Toronto and the fact that boxing is well represented by some of our strongest men and women boxers. I am looking forward to witnessing pure boxing action in the spirit of fair play, sportsmanship and respect”. 

Two of the champions from the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, Mexico defended their titles in Toronto namely Canada’s Mandy Bujold(51kg) and Kiria Tapia (60kg) of Puerto Rico, both again among the favourites  in Toronto. The 69/75kg crown then went to Canada’s Mary Spencer who defeated Yenibier Guillen of the Dominican Republic.  

The following boxers qualified  for Toronto 2015 from the PanAm event in June in Tijuana though *Sulem Urbina later withdrew due injury: 

W48-51Kg (8 places):

Marlen Esparza (USA)
Mandy Marie Bujold (CAN)
Claudia de los Angeles Perrales (NCA)
Tayonis Anaonis Cedeño (VEN)
Ingrit Lorena Valencia (COL)
*Sulem Urbina (MEX) replaced by Lucy Valdivia Bravo (PERU)
Nadia Joeunifer Barriga (BOL)
Monica Gonzalez (PUR) 

W60Kg (8 places):

Caroline Veyre (CAN)
Kiria Tapia (PUR)
Dayana Erika Sanchez (ARG)
Victoria Torres (MEX)
Stefani Lopez (AIBAP)
Valerian Kezial Spicer (DMA)
Karla Patricia Herrera (ESA)
Mirkin Sena (DOM) 

W75Kg (7 places):

Claressa Maria Shields (USA)
Yenebier Adelina Guillen (DOM)
Lucia Noelia Perez (ARG)
Chimere Crystal Taylor (TRI)
Flavia Tereza Figueiredo (BRA)
Jessica Paola Caicedo (COL)
Francelis Dilmar Carmona (VEN) 

The main highlights so far:

At 60kg,Canada’s Caroline Veyre had the home crowd on its feet as she overcame holder Kiria Tapia in a hard fought, thrilling quarter-final bout and the 26 years old former University of Montreal graduate thus repeated her win over the same opponent in the qualifying tournament a month earlier. 

Tapia looked in control early, before her Canadian opponent began to soak up the loud support from the crowd as her accuracy and concentration increased. 

Both athletes worked tirelessly through each round, but it was Veyre’s power which seemed to make the most significant difference, as she caused damage with many of her shots. 

In the semi-final she again had a fine win this time over the Dominican Republic’s Mirkin Sena (2:0) . Ringside judges scored the fight 38-38, 39-37, 40-36 for Veyre against Sena.

In the other semi-final Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez reached  Saturday’s final courtesy of a convincing 3:0 victory over Victoria Torres of Mexico. 

The Canadian is ever improving having first appeared on the International scene in 2013 when she gave a good account of herself against Olympic champion Katie Taylor at Dublin’s Mansion House in a bout televised live worldwide. Taylor forecast then that Veyre would be a force to be reckoned with come 2016 and the Rio Games.  

Rather surprisingly she was left out of the Canadian team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last Summer when she seemed ‘odds on’ to take a medal. 

The final is one that is difficult to call but the much improved Canadian can take Gold on her home soil if she can repeat her performances against Tapia and Sena and overcome the pressure

of being expected to take Gold but it could ‘go down to the wire’ or more correctly the judges’ decision. 

At 51kg, we can expect a classic final between Mandy Bujold (whom we recently featured here on WBAN) and Marlen Esparza and again it is a difficult one to predict. After her semi-final win over Monica Gonzales Rivera, Esparza said : "I was really just trying to go down and up, start on the body and come up and see what happens.

Her jabs were more accurate than I expected so once I caught the timing on her jab, I felt like it started going more my way," Esparza went on. "It worked out well, I felt good about my endurance. I felt like it unfolded well but I didn't go in with a game plan." 

Claressa Shields will start as ‘hot favourite’ for the 75kg Gold when she takes on Yenebier Guillen in the middleweight gold medal bout on Friday. Though her opponent is highly experienced at this level it is difficult to see her defeating Shields. Discussing that semi-final win vs Lucia Perez of Argentina, Shields commented : 

"I just wanted to improve on my last fight, I felt like I was on the ropes too much so I went back to the drawing board. It just wasn't good enough for me," Shields said. "My only goals today were to box her, have fun, use my combinations and do what I wanted to do and I did a great job. She tried to get in my head. She kept smiling and laughing. I thought it was pretty cute. No one has done that to me in a while. I wanted to let her know that I can hit you whenever I feel like it so that's just what I did." 

We will bring you results from the finals at the weekend but let us close by once more asking the AIBA to ensure, repeat ensure, that there are a minimum five weights for women at all future AIBA International events. If not it is time to tell us why not – could it be that powerful Male dominated countries like Cuba are determined to continue to veto women’s boxing in that country?  

If so what do the AIBA intend to do about it. Now that the Cuban government and that of the United States have forged a new friendship, perhaps we  can hope that such a partnership will ensure that sporting links between these two great boxing powers can also be strengthened beginning with women’s boxing. As always we invite our AIBA friends to let us know what the AIBA does intend to do to “assist” with the introduction of women’s boxing in Cuba. 

Remember that only a few weeks back, AIBA President Dr Ching Kuo-Wu signed a memorandum of agreement with his Cuban counterparts (undoubtedly approved by their Government) and said:

“Signing this memorandum with the Cuban Boxing Federation is a significant step in AIBA’s history, and it highlights our commitment to supporting the very best boxing talent in the world. We are very grateful for the trust and commitment shown by FCB toward our organization.” 

President of Cuba Boxing Federation Mr. Alberto Puig de la Barca also expressed his delight at the signing of the memorandum. “Today is an important day for the development of Cuban boxing and I am happy to be a part of this historic event for our sport. This agreement will ensure that Cuban boxing continues to grow and prosper all over the world,” he said. 

Since both partners are agreed on Cuban participation is it too much to hope that Cuba will now remove its ban on women boxing and before the year ends not next year or in the next decade? Over to you Dr Wu and Mr Puig de la Barca. Let’s be hearing your plans for Cuban women boxers. 

Results so far including semi-finals and the schedule for women’s finals: 

48/51kg:   http://results.toronto2015.org/IRS/en/boxing/event-overview-women-s-fly-48-51kg.htm

57/60kg:   http://results.toronto2015.org/IRS/en/boxing/event-overview-women-s-light-57-60kg.htm

69/75kg:   http://results.toronto2015.org/IRS/en/boxing/event-overview-women-s-middle-69-75kg.htm 

Results of every  bout (male & female) here courtesy Strefa Poland



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