‘full house’ here at the ExCeL Centre Arena in London Docklands
today for the Women’s semi-finals at the XXX Olympiad. The
atmosphere once again, as for the first two days , was
‘electric’ and again those present saw some first class boxing .
Most of the crowd this reporter spoke with professed to be
‘seriously impressed’ with the high quality of the action they
saw and literally hundreds had simply turned up in the vain hope
of finding a ticket – those were mainly ‘new’ supporters of
women's boxing as a result of the action they witnessed on TV
over the first two days.
Katie Taylor was
again in action as was her ‘old foe’ Sofya Ochigava in the 60kg
Lightweight division but first let us look at other news.
Today it was the turn of U.S Boxing’s Claressa Shields, the 17
years old from Flint to cause most excitement among non-
Americans for she has not been seen in Europe before now.
Clearly a ‘great find’ and star of the future should she remain
in the Amateur ranks between now and Rio 2016.
As with our previous reports from the ExCeL we have already
brought you comprehensive reports on the bouts involving
Claressa Shields and Marlen Esparza –
links here – so now we concentrate on the rest of the day’s
Nicola Adams vs. Chungneijang Mery Kom
Esparza/Ren bout came Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte (Mary Kom)
who was up against Team GB’s World Championship silver medallist
Nicola Adams in the second Flyweight (51kg) semi-final. For some
months now there has been a feeling in both Great Britain and in
Ireland that Nikki Adams would be a serious challenger for
Olympic Gold : here today she was much too strong for the great
Indian . Five-time AIBA World Pinweight (46kg) Champion Mery Kom,
as always, fought a gallant fight but she was at a significant
height and reach disadvantage not to mention the huge support
that Adams had from the home support.
Adams, at 29 has matured with age and never looked in any
trouble here, hard though Mary Kom fought. The British and Irish
fans were delighted to see the Indian they had read so much
about in action and she was generously applauded into and out of
the ring, as on Monday. The day belonged to Adams though , she
won 11:6 and now faces top seeded Cancan Ren in Thursday’s
final. For Mary Kom as for Canada’s Mary Spencer these Games
came four years too late though of course it was not so much age
but the absence of a Pinweight division that was the root cause
of her failure take an Olympic title.
AIBA.org brings us this report on the rest of the day’s action
from the ExCeL.
“The loudest noise was reserved for the women’s best pound for
pound boxer Katie Taylor as she battled the 19-year-old rising
star from Tajikistan Mavzuna Chorieva in the first of the
Lightweight (60kg) semi-finals. The Irish legend was moving
well, choosing her shots wisely against an opponent who was both
tough and undaunted with facing the top seed and overwhelming
favourite in the competition. Taylor, who looked in
scintillating form in her previous bout, continued where she
left off, using that jab before throwing a quality variation of
shots to take the first two rounds. The 25-year-old orthodox
Irishwoman had too much in her locker for the young Chorieva as
she stepped it up another gear in the final two rounds to
progress in style 17:9.
Araujo and the second seed from Russia Sofya Ochigava then went
to head-to-head to decide who would face Katie Taylor in the
Lightweight (60kg) final. It began evenly with both boxers
testing each other with the jab. Araujo tried to take the fight
to her opponent but was met by stiff resistance and the points
were shared in the first. The Russian southpaw’s quality
counter-punching made the difference in the second and third as
she connected with some good hooks to take a four point lead
going into the final round. Full of confidence, Ochigava was
fighting with her gloves down, inviting her rival in before
throwing some quick one-twos as the big left made the difference
- the Russian ensuring she would challenge Taylor in the gold
medal contest after winning 17:11.
In the final bout of
the afternoon session, Russian second seed Nadezda Torlpova met
Jinzi Li of China in a contest that would see the winner then
challenge Shields in the Middleweight (75kg) final. It was the
Chinese orthodox 22-year-old who took the first round after the
good use of the jab gave a slender point advantage. Torlpova
reassessed her tactics and threw some good variation of punches
in the second and third rounds to overturn the deficit. A huge
left-right combination rocked Li and the Chinese boxer had to
take a standing eight count and the 33-year-old two-time
European Champion and 2010 World Champion from Russia
confidently closed out the final stages to win 12:10.”
Three fascinating finals on Thursday to look forward to :
Will Adams or Ren become the first ever female Olympic boxing
Can Taylor add Olympic Gold to those 4 World, 5 European, and 4
European Union titles or will Ochigava gain revenge for that
recent loss in China?
Shields is a ‘star of the future’ without doubt but can she cope
with the huge pressure on her young shoulders in an Olympic
final against that wily Russian champion, Torlpova.
For the answers to those questions join us on Thursday
Our thanks to AIBA.org for their usual kind co-operation.
London 2012 Olympics: pioneering pugilists win hearts and
minds in boxing ring after long struggle for acceptance
It was shortly before five o’clock last Sunday afternoon and, in
a stifling, crowded concourse in London’s ExceL Centre, Mery Kom
Link to Story