Meet The Olympic Trials For Women's
by Julie Goldsticker
October 23, 2015
(OCT 23) The middleweight
division, which is a minimum of 153 pounds and a maximum of 165
pounds, is the heaviest of the three Olympic weight divisions in
women's boxing. The weight class is contested in both Pan
American Games and Olympic competition as well as world
championships and national events.
The United States' own Claressa Shields won the gold medal in
the 2012 Olympic Games in London at only 17-years-old. Shields
enters 2016 Olympic Games qualifying as the reigning World and
Pan American Games champion and was selected as the 2014 AIBA
Female Athlete of the Year.
2016 Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing Middleweight
1. Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich. (USA Boxing National
2. Raquel Miller, San Diego, Calif. (USA Boxing National
3. Tika Hemingway, Brackenridge, Pa. (Olympic Trials Qualifier
4. Danyelle Wolf, San Diego, Calif. (Olympic Trials Qualifier I)
5. Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Olympic Trials
6. Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
7. Iesha Kenney, Alexandria, Va. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
8. Cierra Taylor, Rochester, N.Y. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
The tournament next to the athletes' names denotes the
tournament in which they qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials
for Women's Boxing.
Middleweight Fun Facts
Four of the 2016 Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing middleweight
competitors will be boxing in their second Olympic Trials event
in Memphis. The returning participants are Claressa Shields
(Flint, Mich.), Raquel Miller (San Diego, Calif.), Tika
Hemingway (Brackenridge, Pa.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore,
In addition to Shields' 2014 world title, two of the
middleweight participants are World Championships medalists in
different weight classes than the 165-pound weight division.
Raquel Miller and Franchon Crews both took silver medals in the
2012 event, winning hardware in the welterweight and light
heavyweight divisions respectively.
The documentary chronicling Claressa Shields' improbable run to
Olympic history, "T-Rex", is currently screening across the
country and is slated to be shown on PBS in 2016. The film was
shown in 32 theaters in October 15 as a part of the Kickstarter
campaign and screened at SXSW in Austin in March.
The oldest flyweight competitor is Danyelle Wolf at 32-years-old
and the youngest boxer in the division is 17-year-old Iesha
Kenney. Kenney, a junior and youth world championships bronze
medalist, is the youngest athlete in the tournament. She is
currently a senior at TC Williams High School, which was
featured in the movie "Remember the Titans."
Multi-time time national champion and boxing veteran Franchon
Crews has talent outside the boxing ring as well. Crews is an
accomplished singer and is often chosen to sing the national
anthem prior to boxing and other events. She even tried out for
American Idol several years ago.
Three of the middleweight competitors, Claressa Shields,
Franchon Crews and Raquel Miller, found love in the sweet
science. Both Shields' boyfriend Ardreal Holmes and Miller's
boyfriend Steven Nelson are qualified for the Olympic Trials for
Men's Boxing. Crews is married to professional boxer Glenn
Dezurn who also serves as her coach.
Two-time welterweight national champion Danyelle Wolf prides
herself on perfecting both her own body and others as well as a
personal trainer. Wolf was previously featured on ESPN the
Magazine's Body Issue.
After taking a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Trials for
Women's Boxing, Tika Hemingway took an extended break from the
sport and found herself doing a different type of boxing. She
was making brown cardboard boxes at the Packaging Corporation of
America before returning to the sport. Since she came so close
to her Olympic dream in 2012, she decided to give it another run
in 2016 and is back for her second Olympic Trials in Memphis.
Naomi Graham is the fourth military athlete competing in the
Olympic Trials in Memphis. A member of the U.S. Army's World
Class Athlete Program, Graham is an ammunition specialist and
joined the Army in February of 2013.
Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing Information
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing will be
contested October 26-31 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in
Memphis, Tenn. The Olympic Trials winners in the three women's
Olympic weight divisions will earn the right to represent the
United States in the international qualifiers for the 2016
Olympic Games in Brazil.
Twenty-four athletes will box in the Olympic Trials in Memphis
and the competitors will arrive in Memphis on Friday prior to
the official draw at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Memphis East
on Sunday. All of the athletes will learn their first round
opponents at the official tournament draw, which is open to the
Olympic Trials competition will take place nightly at 6 p.m. at
the Memphis Cook Convention Center from October 26-30 and final
round action will begin at 7 p.m., on Saturday, October 31. The
final Olympic Trials for Men's Boxing qualifier will take place
in conjunction with the women's event and their competition will
take place at noon daily in addition to the evening sessions,
which will begin at the same time as the Olympic Trials for
The 2016 event will be only the second edition of the Olympic
Trials with the inaugural tournament taking place in Spokane,
Wash., in 2012. The United States placed first in the team
standings in women's boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London
with middleweight Claressa Shields taking gold and flyweight
Marlen Esparza winning bronze. The United States remains one of
the strongest squads in the world in women's boxing as the two
Olympic medalists both won world titles in 2014 and then
featherweight Tiara Brown claimed bronze.
The 24 Olympic Trials participants earned their berths in the
event in one of three qualifying tournaments beginning with the
2015 USA Boxing National Championships in January. The two
finalists from the national championships and top three
finishers from qualifying tournaments in June and September all
earned spots in the Olympic Trials. For more information on the
Olympic qualifying process for both male and female athletes, go