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Olympic Medalists Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields to Lead Team USA in to International Action on U.S. Soil....
by Julie Goldsticker
April 16, 2015

(APR 16)  (COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – As USA Boxing’s elite women travel the Road to Rio, they will make a stop in Atlanta on Saturday, April 25 for a battle with top foes from China at the Women’s International Clash of Champions at the Buckhead Fight Club. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will lead a talented squad of boxers in to the USA vs. China Duel match-up just over a year out from the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Women’s International Clash of Champions, sponsored by Sting Sports and Impact Mouthguards, is the first international event in the United States to feature all of the women’s weight divisions since the inaugural Women’s World Championships in Scranton, Pa., in 2001. All of the event’s bouts will showcase top athletes from both the United States and China in an important international competitive opportunity for Team USA’s women.

Shields, Esparza and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) have all qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing and the trio will box in rematches with Chinese opponents in the international competition. Esparza will take on her 2012 Olympic Games conqueror and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Cancan Ren of China in the first match-up between the two since London. Shields’ opponent Li Qian will be looking to avenge her loss to the Olympic champion at the 2014 Women’s World Championships when they reunite in Atlanta. Mayer dropped her bout to Asian champion Junhua Yin in international action earlier this year and is looking forward to a second opportunity to face Yin in Atlanta.

The event will not only showcase the three Olympic weight divisions but also feature outstanding women’s boxing action in six additional weight classes. Multi-time national champion and world championships medalists Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) will return to international action in the bantamweight and light heavyweight divisions respectively. 2015 light flyweight national champion Maureeca Lambert (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), three-time USA Boxing flyweight silver medalist Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas), 2015 USA Boxing National Championships featherweight silver medalist Ashleigh Moore (Buzzards, Mass.), 2015 USA Boxing National Championships light welterweight bronze medalist Nakarri Jones (Tampa, Fla.), and 2015 USA Boxing National Championships welterweight silver medalist Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.) will all take on China in Atlanta.

In addition to three Chinese boxers in the Olympic weight divisions, light flyweight Xiao Lang, bantamweight Liu Piaopino, featherweight Lu Qiong, light welterweight Yang Wenlu, welterweight Yang Liu, and light heavyweight Yang Xiaoli will face off with Team USA at the Women’s International Clash of Champions.

Coaches Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.), Kevin Greene (Enterprise, Ala.), and Everette Elliston (Denver, Colo.) will lead the U.S. team in Atlanta. An experienced group of AIBA officials will work at the Women’s International Clash of Champions, including Atlanta natives Kevin and Kevina Franklin. Tournament supervisor Debbie Holmes (Garland, Texas), Dawn Sanchez (Las Vegas, Nev.), Shawn Reese (Harrison, Tenn.), Sierra Samuels (Minneapolis, Minn.) will round out the group of officials from the United States who will team up with their Chinese counterparts to officiate the event. AIBA Women’s Commission member and 2012 Olympic coach Christy Halbert (Nashville, Tenn.) and Abbey Smith (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will oversee the event as Tournament Staff.

The United States team is currently preparing for the event at the Olympic Training Center and will travel to Atlanta on Saturday for a week of training and festivities prior to the competition.

Saturday’s event will begin with an opening ceremony and live music at 12 p.m., on Saturday, April 25 at the Buckhead Fight Club followed immediately by nine bouts of elite women’s boxing action. Tickets for the Women’s Clash of Champions start at only $20 are on sale now via this link - http://clash.doattend.com.


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