Five American boxers advanced to the semifinal round with quarterfinal wins at the 2016 Women’s World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas), bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.), light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) and heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) all clinched medals today at the Barys Arena. Welterweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) lost her quarterfinal bout on Tuesday in her first-ever World Championships.
Shields moved one step closer to defending her middleweight crown with her second straight unanimous decision win in Tuesday’s quarterfinal competition. She was the final American boxer to compete on Tuesday and she capped a highly successful day for the United States with another dominant performance at the 2016 World Championships. Shields won a 3-0 victory, taking the bout by a wide margin on each of the judges’ scorecards over Kazakhstan’s Violleta Knyazeva. The quarterfinal victory advances Shields on to a semifinal match-up with Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen in the sixth bout of Thursday’s evening semifinal action at approximately 8:20 p.m. local time (10:20 a.m. ET). Should she emerge victorious and former World Champion Savannah Marshall of Great Britain win her semifinal bout on the opposite side of the bracket, Shields could get the rematch she’s been waiting for since the lone loss of her career at the 2012 World Championships.
Fellow Olympic medalist Esparza set off the day for the United States in her light flyweight bout with Altantsetseg Lutsaikan of Mongolia. Esparza scored her second victory in as many days, winning a 3-0 decision over Lutsaikan in their quarterfinal contest. She moves on to a semifinal match-up with China’s Yuyan Wang in the opening bout of Thursday’s semifinal competition at 3 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). Esparza’s 2016 medal is not her first at the light flyweight division. She took home a bronze medal from her first World Championships in 2006 in the light flyweight division.
Cruz clinched her berth in the medal round with a victory over France’s Delphine Mancini in the bantamweight division. She took a 2-0 decision over Mancini in the quarterfinal contest to secure her second World Championships medal in the bantamweight division. She will box in her semifinal bout against Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova in bout three on Thursday at approximately 3:20 p.m. local time (5:20 a.m. ET).
In the light heavyweight division, Crews returned to the medal stand with a quarterfinal win over fellow boxing veteran Maria Kovacs of Hungary. She won a wide, unanimous decision victory over Kovacs in their quarterfinal contest to clinch a spot in the semifinal round. Crews will face off with China’s Xiaoli Yang in bout nine of the early session at approximately 5 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) on Thursday.
Green is the international newcomer of the group but that didn’t deter her from scoring a big quarterfinal victory over powerhouse Russia in her quarterfinal match. She earned a 2-1 decision over Zenfira Magomedalieva in her second bout of the 2016 Women’s World Championships. Green now moves on to a semifinal contest with Turkey’s Sennur Demir on Thursday evening at approximately 9 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).
Graham was also competing in her first World Championships and was able to advance to the quarterfinal round in the major international event. She dropped a 3-0 decision to Germany’s Nadine Apetz, eliminating her from the competition.
With quarterfinal competition now complete, the women’s boxing Olympic allocations have been finalized. As American flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) did not place in the top four and the two finalists from the Americas Qualifier did not advance to the semifinals, she did not qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
All of the competitors will enjoy a rest day on Wednesday before the event resumes with semifinal action on Thursday and the gold medal bouts on Friday at the Barys Arena.
The competition is being livestreamed on the AIBA website at www.aiba.org. For all of the tournament brackets, competition schedule, bout sheets and current results, go to: www.aiba.org/aiba-womens-world-boxing-championships-astana-2016.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Kazakhstan.
Over 275 boxers from 70 nations are competing in the ninth edition of the Women's World Championships. The first-ever Women's World Boxing Championships took place in Scranton, Pa., in 2001 and has grown exponentially since that time. The 2016 event is the second world championships since the Olympic debut of women's boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games. While only three women's weight divisions are contested in Olympic competition, all 10 weight classes are showcased in world championships action.
U.S. Quarterfinal Results
106 lbs/48 kg: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas/USA, dec. Altantsetseg Lutsaikan, MGL, 3-0
119 lbs/54 kg: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, dec. Delphine Mancini, FRA, 2-0
152 lbs/69 kg: Nadine Apetz, GER, dec. Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, 3-0
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Violleta Knyazeva, KAZ, 3-0
178 lbs/81 kg: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA, dec. Maria Kovacs, HUN, 3-0
178+ lbs/81+ kg: Shadasia Green, Patterson, N.J./USA, dec. Zenfira Magomedalieva, RUS , 2-1