(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Reigning Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) returned to major international action with a second round TKO victory on Tuesday at the Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Albena, Bulgaria. Shields took one of four victories for her U.S. squad in the second straight successful day of World Championships action for Team USA. Junior light bantamweight Ashley Perez (Sparks, Nev.), junior lightweight Iesha Kenney (Alexandria, Va.) and youth light flyweight Marisol Lopez (Stratford, Calif.) all enjoyed victories on Tuesday as well.
Team USA’s two junior competitors kicked off the day’s action in Bulgaria with both Perez and Kenney facing off with Romanian foes. Perez claimed her first international victory with a 3-0 decision over Alexandria Luca to advance on to the quarterfinals. She will face Italy’s Irma Testa on Wednesday afternoon for a spot in the medal round.
Kenney wasted no time in her lightweight bout with Angela Iordache on Tuesday afternoon, taking a TKO win at the 1:43 mark of the first round in her preliminary contest. Kenney’s quick win moves her on to a quarterfinal bout with Russia’s Kaysarat Khazikhanova tomorrow.
Lopez claimed the third win of the day for Team USA in her light flyweight bout with China’s Lan Xiao. She won 2-1 decision over Xiao in the preliminary round contest to join Perez and Kenney in the quarterfinal round. Lopez will face Romania’s Stefania-Melinda Pantis in Wednesday evening’s youth light flyweight competition.
Shields didn’t even make it to halftime in her first bout of the tournament. The Olivet College freshman put an end to her middleweight bout with Ukraine’s Mariya Viachkina at the :28 mark of the second round. Shields’ second round TKO earned her a spot in the quarterfinal round with Hungary’s Fanni Kaszanyi.
Featherweight Dida Gonzalez (Houston, Texas) suffered Team USA’s second loss of the tournament in her international debut, dropping a 3-0 decision to Ukraine’s Maryna Malovana in preliminary round action.
Three U.S. boxers claimed first round victories on Monday and they will return to the ring for quarterfinal competition on Wednesday. Junior bantamweight Jessica Galvez (Sparks, Nev.) will face Armenia’s Ani Hovsepyan while her junior teammate JaJaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) takes on Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst in featherweight action. Welterweight Samantha Kinchen will look to duplicate her dominating first round win in a bout with Tetiana Ryzhenkova of Ukraine in Wednesday’s evening action. Junior pinweight Caitlin Orosco (Anaheim, Calif.) will make her tournament debut in a match-up with Russia’s Iulia Chumgalakova in the first United States bout of Wednesday’s action.
The Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships will be live streamed throughout the tournament at boxing.albena.bg and bgboxing.org. Quarterfinal action will be contested on Wednesday, September 25 with junior competition taking place in the afternoon and the youth women boxing in the evening. The afternoon sessions are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT) and evening action will start at 7 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT). All of the tournament participants will enjoy a rest day on Thursday, September 26 prior to semifinals on Friday, September 27 and the event finals in both the junior and youth divisions on Saturday, September 28. The junior division championship bouts will begin at noon local time (5 a.m. ET/2 a.m. PT) and the youth final round contests will take place at 4 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).
Coaches Jason Crutchfield (Flint, Mich.), William Farris (Lexington, Ky.), Michael Newson (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Bienvenido “Benny” Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), will guide the U.S. boxers in Bulgaria with Dr. Larry Lovelace (Oklahoma City, Okla.) serving as the Team Physician.
114 lbs/junior: Ashley Perez, Sparks, Nev./USA dec. Alexandria Luca, ROU, 3-0
132 lbs/junior: Iesha Kenney, Alexandria, Va./USA won a TKO over Angela Iordache, ROU, TKO-1 (1:43)
106 lbs/youth: Marisol Lopez, Stratford, Calif./USA dec. Lan Xiao, CHN, 2-1
125 lbs/youth: Maryna Malovana, UKR dec. Dida Gonzalez, Houston, Texas/USA
165 lbs/youth: Claressa Shields/Flint, Mich./USA stopped Mariya Viachkina,UKR, TKO-2 (:28)