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Claressa Shields out of Rio Olympic Test event due wrist injury
by Michael O'Neill
December 1, 2015
Photo/Facebook
     
   
   

(DEC 1)  The AIBA has just confirmed the names of those competing in the 2016 Rio Test event December 4/6 and among the original entries were U.S Olympic trials winners Mikaela Mayer (60kg) and Virginia Fuchs(51kg),as well as reigning Olympic Gold medallist Claressa Shields(75) kg. Sadly, WBAN has learned that due to injury the Olympic champion announced Monday that she has withdrawn though will still travel with the team to Rio. So none of the current female Olympic champions will now be taking part.

Shields, commenting Monday via social media explained : “Hey! Me and my teammates Mikaela Mayer, Ginny Fuchs and Karlos Balderas are all heading to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil today! For the Olympic test event tournament!! Sadly my wrist is sprang very badly and I am unable to compete😓! This cast has to stay on for a month and two weeks. But still pray for me and my team for a safe travel and keep us in your prayers! Thank you”.

The women’s flyweight competition will see the return of India’s five-time World Champion Mary Kom, returning to the ring after injury. Brazil’s own Olympic bronze medallist Adriana Araujo will be hoping to put in a confidence-boosting performance in front of the home fans, with French titleholder Estelle Mossely and England’s Chantelle Cameron are also looking to leave their mark in the city.

Missing will be the Irish athletes who were taking part in their National Elite championships when entries closed. Also missing will be another Olympic champion, Nicola Adams from England. One of those paying special interest in the form of his boxers and the competition will be former Irish HPU coach, Billy Walsh now in charge of the U.S women’s team. This will give him a chance in particular to see both Mayer and Fuchs in top class international company. Shields of course being the reigning champion needs no introduction and he will without doubt ensure she too gains from the experience of being in Rio before the Games themselves and benefit from this familiarisation trip.

Another of those competing in the 51kg class is GB’s Lisa Whiteside, whom I saw win the GB Championship in Sheffield at the weekend. Great to see her back in near top form after such a serious injury that has kept her out of the sport for so long.

Earlier she was due to meet Adams in the 2015 championships in Liverpool but that fell through, as we reported then, due to a serious burglary at Adams’ home. That Liverpool meeting promised to be a classic encounter with many believing that Whiteside could ‘upset the odds’.

It would be good for the sport if the Team GB selectors had a ‘box off’ to decide on who will represent the country in the Olympic Games itself later in the year but informed sources in the UK suggest this is ‘unlikely’, a view shared by Whiteside herself in a recent interview with Press Association Sport:

"It's very hard to explain my feelings - it would have given me a massive boost if I could have fought Nicola for that spot but it didn't happen earlier this year and it didn't happen today.

"I honestly don't think it's going to happen, and it's going to come down to experience and who she is and what she brings to GB boxing. I'd love to have that box-off and everyone at GB knows that, but all I can do is concentrate on myself."

"I've come back from a fractured skull when a lot of people had written me off," added Whiteside. "A specialist thought my boxing career was over but I'm here fighting against the odds.

"I've gone from being a full-time firearms officer to having the luxury of training full-time on a phenomenal GB programme, and I'm going to box in the Rio test event on Sunday. When I found out it brought tears to my eyes."

The AIBA told us of the importance of the Rio test event though at the time they were unaware that Shields was injured and would not be taking part:

“As we draw nearer to 2016 and what is likely to be one of the most spectacular Olympic Games of all time, this is the perfect moment for the boxers and organisers to take part in a test event held by Rio 2016 Organising Committee,” said AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu. “The boxers and the city alike are entering the final stages of preparations for the world’s biggest sporting event, and we want to give men’s and women’s boxing the perfect platform for the enjoyment of fans around the world.”

The event will provide Brazilian sports fans with a sneak preview of the kind of talent they can expect to see in the ring in Rio next year. Thirteen of those taking part in the men’s test event have already secured their place to compete on the world’s biggest stage in 2016. Among those who will be hoping to make a swift return are Cuba’s London 2012 gold medallist Robeisy Ramirez and Kazakhstan’s super-heavyweight hero Ivan Dychko.

The women’s flyweight competition will see the return of India’s five-time World Champion Mary Kom, returning to the ring after injury. Brazil’s own Olympic bronze medallist Adriana Araujo will be hoping to put in a confidence-boosting performance in front of the home fans, with French titleholder Estelle Mossely and England’s Chantelle Cameron are also looking to leave their mark in the city.

What of the hosts? :“Our preparations have gone well and we are excited not just to stage the Olympic Boxing competition, but to have such a strong team ready to compete,” said Brazil Boxing Federation President Mauro Silva. “Our sport is enjoying huge popularity at the moment in Brazil, and if the home fans inspire our athletes to gold medals it will be an experience that nobody will ever forget.”

In parallel to the competition, AIBA will be taking its #HeadsUp! Charter to Brazil to be signed by Mr Silva to ensure the successful roll out of the initiative locally. Launched at the 2015 World Championships in Doha and committed to grassroots development of boxing and its aim to promote boxers’ safety and training as well as creating a more sustainable career platform for athletes.

AIBA with the local organising committee will also organise an engagement event on 3 December in Rio with presence of elite boxers for the enjoyment of local fans.

Men’s Entry: Link
Women: Link
Schedule: Link 

 
     
     
   
 
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