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AMBC Review of semis and Preview of Finals in Buenos Aires and Yaoundé
by Michael O'Neill
March 18, 2016
Photo: Courtesy

(MAR 18) Saturday in Buenos Aires is finals day of the 2016 AMBC Olympic qualifying competition for women with some ‘mouth-watering’ bouts in prospect as Gold and Silver medallists qualify for Rio in two of the three weights albeit only the Gold titleholder at 60kg will have that recognition since one of the slots has been taken by the host nation’s Adriana dos Santos Araujo.

Seems ‘unfair’ that all who receives Golds get a ticket to Rio save for one albeit the loser will have another chance at April’s World Championships in Astana,Kazakhstan.

In the writer’s view AIBA should ‘right that wrong’ and ensure that the runner-up gets a “wildcard” place in the Brazilian city in August.

Here we review Thursday’s semi-finals and preview Saturday’s finals.

In that 60kg lightweight division the Gold medal – and Rio ticket – depends of the outcome of the Victoria Torres/Mikaela Mayer ‘battle royal’.

On Thursday though Mayer decisioned Puerto Rico’s Kiria Tapia Rodriguez thus gaining sweet revenge against her ‘old foe’. Mayer said after the bout:

“Revenge is sweeter when I had to fight her for two qualifying fights. The first was for the Pan Am Games,” Mayer said. “She’s not super aggressive but she makes you come to her. She’s very elusive so you don’t really know what angle her punches are going to come from. I was a little hesitant with letting my hands go but when I did, they were landing. The game plan going in was to make sure that I fake a lot because you don’t know when she’s going to punch. So it was faking a lot and not pulling back again but slowing down the movement and stepping to her with the right hand. Now I focus on my next opponent and I don’t even know who it is because Billy (Walsh) wouldn’t let me look at my bracket from the beginning. I see why now because I had the toughest bracket. I had to fight all the top girls and I dealt with it one fight at a time so it worked really well for me.”

Well by now Mikaela will know that it is the tough Mexican Victoria Torres Canul who stands in her way and this promises to be the highlight of the Women’s finals.

Torres Canul, seeded 10 (in the world) against the unseeded here and unseeded in the AIBA world rankings. That Mayer is not in the World top 40 is unbelievable

And goes but to illustrate my previous comment re AIBA rankings.

She has though made considerable progress under Team USA’s ‘new’ Irish Head Coach, Billy Walsh and it would be ‘no surprise’ if she comes away with Gold and a Rio slot. It will though be a very tough fight which could go down ‘right to the wire’ since Torres fights ‘tough and mean’ to the bitter end.

In the women’s 51kg final will be Canada’s Mandy Bujold and the 26 yrs old Colombian, Ingrid Lorena Valencia Victoria from Morales (Bolívar). Bujold as World no. 4 is ranked some 14 places higher that the Colombian but as we have seen so often, current AIBA rankings are often out of date even when published since some boxers, predominantly males, will have turned pro and those rankings are compiled on a two year rolling basis and thus do not reflect current year form. That said Bujold will be

strong favourite to win here. She has an impressive CV including : 9x Canadian Champion,2x Pan American Games Champion, and Commonwealth Games Bronze Medalist.

On paper, reigning Olympic 75kg champion, Claressa ‘TRex’ Shields will be an ‘odds on favourite’ to defeat St.  Nicolas Quebec native Ariane Fortin but anyone who knows 31 years old Fortin knows that she will 'leave everything in the ring' and if anyone is capable of defeating Shields then Canadians believe that their favourite Fortin is – that said, in world and ranking terms it would come as a great shock.

Join us again for all the news in the finals and remember that the African Confederation championships are also nearing a conclusion in Yaoundé where the defeat of London 2012’s 75 kg medalist Edith Ogoke has been the biggest shock to date. She went under O:3 to hitherto relatively unknown Yannick Azengue from Cameroon.

In the 51kg category the final will be between Zohra Ezzahraoui of Morocco and Caroline Linus of Nigeria whilst the 60kg title will go to either Hasna Lachgar, yet another fighter from Morocco or Tunisian, Khouloud Halimi.

All three titles heading to Morocco? Only on Saturday will we know but their boxers are amongst the best trained and successful in the African continent whilst several of their men are stars of the APB and WSB series so effectively semi-pro’s.

AMBC – result of every bout – male and female from Buenos Aires: (courtesy Strefa Poland boxing)


African Championships Yaoundé : results courtesy of Strefa Poland boxing:


AIBA/Daily Motion LIVE STREAMING from BOTH qualifiers:


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