Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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Meet The Olympic Trials For Women's Boxing Lightweights
by Julie Goldsticker
October 15, 2015
Photo: Facebook/Mayer

(OCT 15) The lightweight division, which is a minimum of 126 pounds and a maximum of 132 pounds, is the middle of the three Olympic weight divisions in women's boxing. The weight class is contested in both Pan American Games and Olympic competition as well as world championships and national events.

Ireland's Katie Taylor, one of the most accomplished female boxers in the world, won the gold medal in the lightweight division in front of a raucous Irish crowd at the 2012 Olympics in London. Queen Underwood represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London but will not be competing in the Olympic Trials so a new face will take the American spot in 2016.

2016 Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing Lightweight Competitors

1. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif. (USA Boxing National Championships)
2. Lisa Porter, Van Nuys, Calif. (USA Boxing National Championships)
3. Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif. (Olympic Trials Qualifier I)
4. Rianna Rios, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Olympic Trials Qualifier I)
5. Stalacia Leggett, San Diego, Calif. (Olympic Trials Qualifier I)
6. Tiara Brown, Fort Myers, Fla. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
7. Samantha Kinchen, Lexington, Ky. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
8. Amelia Moore, Millersville, Md. (Olympic Trials Qualifier II)
The tournament next to the athletes' names denotes the tournament in which they qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing.

Lightweight Fun Facts

Three of the 2016 Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing flyweight competitors are competing in their second Olympic Trials event in Memphis. The returning participants are Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.), Lisa Porter (Burbank, Calif.), and Tiara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.).

Two of the lightweight participants are World Championships medalists in different weight classes than the 132-pound weight division. Tiara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.) won a world title at the 2012 World Championships at the featherweight class and added a bronze medal in the same weight division in 2014. Mikaela Mayer claimed light welterweight bronze in the 2012 World Championships.
The oldest flyweight competitor is Stalacia Leggett at 32-years-old and the youngest boxer in the division is 18-year-old Jajaira Gonzalez.

Tiara Brown has had the quite the crazy schedule recently, juggling her training for the Olympic Trials with her commitment to the Police Academy in Washington DC. Brown has a degree in Criminal Justice from Columbus State University and is working to become a Washington DC Metro Police Officer.

Brown isn't the only lightweight with a time consuming career outside the ring, there's also a lawyer and an accountant among the Olympic Trials competitors at 132 pounds. Stalacia Leggett is an attorney and obtained her legal degree at the University of California's Hastings College. Amelia Moore, the final lightweight to clinch her spot in the Olympic Trials, makes her living as an accountant and automotive service administrator.

Prior to becoming a boxer, Mikaela Mayer, the number one lightweight seed, was a model. A former member of the United States Olympic Education Center Program at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., Mayer was featured in Dr. Pepper's national "One of a Kind" campaign. She is currently an athlete representative on the USA Boxing Board of Directors.

Jajaira Gonzalez, the baby of the lightweight division, is certainly not the least experienced. She ruled the junior and youth divisions over the past three years, becoming the first American female to win both junior and youth world championships as well as Youth Olympic Games gold. Just days after winning the 2015 Youth World Championships, Gonzalez celebrated her high school graduation.

Former youth titlist Samantha Kinchen made quite the transformation to earn her Olympic Trials berth at lightweight. She dropped 20 pounds from her former welterweight division to qualify for the Olympic Trials in September.

Olympic Trials for Women's Boxing Information

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women's Boxing will be contested October 26-31 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn. The Olympic Trials winners in the three women's Olympic weight divisions will earn the right to represent the United States in the international qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Twenty-four athletes will box in the Olympic Trials in Memphis and the competitors will arrive in Memphis on Friday, October 23 prior to the official draw on Sunday, October 25. Olympic Trials competition will take place nightly at 6 p.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center from October 26-30 and final round action will begin at 7 p.m., on Saturday, October 31.

The 2016 event will be only the second edition of the double elimination tournament with the inaugural tournament taking place in Spokane, Wash., in 2012. The United States placed first in the team standings in women's boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London with middleweight Claressa Shields taking gold and flyweight Marlen Esparza winning bronze. The United States remains one of the strongest squads in the world in women's boxing as the two Olympic medalists both won world titles in 2014 and featherweight Tiara Brown claimed bronze.

The 24 Olympic Trials participants earned their berths in the event in one of three qualifying tournaments beginning with the 2015 USA Boxing National Championships in January. The two finalists from the national championships and top three finishers from qualifying tournaments in June and September all earned spots in the Olympic Trials. For more information on the Olympic qualifying process for both male and female athletes, go to www.usaboxing.org.

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