Team USA Advances Five Boxers to the Medal Round at 2012 Womens World Championships

May 16, 2012, 4:22 p.m. (ET)

Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), featherweight Tiara Brown (Lehigh Acres, Fla.), light welterweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), welterweight Raquel Miller (San Francisco, Calif.), and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) will all compete in the semifinals on Friday.

One day after becoming the first U.S. female boxer in history to qualify for the Olympic Games, Esparza faced off with Ren in quarterfinal action. Esparza fell behind early in the bout and was never able to make up her deficit. She trailed by an 8-3 margin after two rounds of action and faced an 11-6 deficit with one round remaining. Can went on to win a 16-8 final decision to eliminate Esparza from the 2012 Women’s World Championships. She will now focus on preparation for the historic debut of women’s boxing in London.

Mayer had to wait until Tuesday to compete in her first bout but she opened the tournament in dominating fashion, winning a 34-13 decision over New Zealand’s Laura Matthews in preliminary round action. She quickly returned to the ring on Wednesday, facing India’s Meena Rani in her second bout of the tournament. Mayer once again poured on the points, taking an 11-4 lead after the first two rounds. She nearly doubled her point total in the third round, claiming a 20-8 advantage with one round remaining. Mayer held Rani to only two points over the last two minutes to win a 27-10 final decision and advance to a semifinal match-up with North Korea’s Kyong Pak.

Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) continued her run through the tournament with a late comeback win over Thailand’s Spikda Satumrum in her quarterfinal bout. The two boxers battled in a close match-up through all four rounds with Satumrum taking a slim one-point lead following a tied first round. Cruz fell behind by two after the third round, but refused to get discouraged, outscoring Satumrum by three in the fourth stanza to win a 20-19 decision. Cruz moves on to a semifinal contest with Italy’s Terry Gordini.

Brown mounted a comeback in her quarterfinal bout as well, defeating China’s Jian Qin on Wednesday. Qin held a 13-9 lead at the halfway mark of the bout, but Brown began chipping away at her lead in the third round. She trailed by only one point as the fourth round began and outscored Qin over the final two minutes to win a 23-22 final decision. Brown will take on Bulgaria’s Svetlana Staneva on Friday.

Crews faced Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova in her light heavyweight quarterfinal contest. Crews took a small 6-4 lead after the first round, but she took control of the bout in the second. She enjoyed a 10-point advantage over Shakimova after three rounds and pushed it a 30-12 final victory over the last two minutes of action. Crews will challenge Hungary’s Timea Nagy in Friday’s semifinals.

International newcomer Miller has enjoyed a strong showing at her first World Championships tournament and it continued in Wednesday’s action as she battled Turkey’s Bilgehan Karabulut. Miller grabbed a strong early lead and extended it throughout the bout. She enjoyed a strong 8-3 advantage as the final round began and won an 11-5 final decision to clinch a spot in the medal rounds. She will face Russia’s Irina Poteyeva in Friday’s semifinal action.

Light flyweight Alex Love (Monroe, Wash.) dropped her event opener by a slim margin in a preliminary contest with Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaybay on Tuesday. The bout entered the final round tied at 14 but Kyzaybay won a 20-19 final decision to eliminate Love from the tournament.

Although middleweight Olympic hopeful Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) lost on Monday, her opponent in the bout, Savannah Marshall, remains in action, keeping her potential Olympic hopes alive.

U.S. Results
112 lbs: Cancan Ren, CHN, dec. Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA, 16-8
125 lbs: Tiara Brown, Lehigh Acres, Fla./USA, dec. Jian Qin, CHN, 23-22
141 lbs: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA dec. Meena Rani, IND, 27-10
152 lbs: Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif./USA dec. Bilgehan Karabulut, TUR, 11-5
178 lbs: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA dec. Dariga Shakimova, KAZ, 30-12