Boxer Danielle Perkins and China’s Yang Xiaoli were scheduled to fight in the semifinals of last year’s AIBA Elite Women’s World Championships, but Perkins had to withdraw due to medical reasons.
Perkins got the bronze by default and Yang went on to win heavyweight gold in New Delhi, India. It was Yang’s third world title.
This year in Ulan Ude, Russia, the fight between the two actually happened, and it wasn’t the semifinals.
Perkins and Yang battled for gold on Sunday in the final bout of the heavyweight division, and Perkins is now the new world champion after winning unanimously against the top seed.
This was Perkins’ first world championship final. She beat Katsiaryna Kavaleva of Belarus so soundly in the +81 kg. semifinal matchup that the referee stopped it in the second round and moved Perkins forward.
Perkins transitioned to boxing five years ago after her professional basketball career ended. The Brooklyn, New York, native who now lives in Houston is the top-ranked heavyweight in the U.S. and hoping to represent her country at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Her world title certainly sets her up not only as the U.S. boxer for the task but also a threat to medal next summer, although the heaviest weight class in Tokyo will be 75 kg.
Perkins posted on Facebook on Saturday from Russia: “On to the finals. I love my teammates and coaches. Let’s work #teamusa🇺🇸.”
On Saturday, Team USA bantamweight Mikiah Kreps and lightweight Rashida Ellis each won bronze medals as well.