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USA Boxing's Elite Women Prepare to take on the World's Best at the 2016 Women's World Championships
by Julie Goldsticker
May 6, 2016

(MAY 6)  COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (May 6, 2016) - USA Boxing's elite women are preparing to take on the best female boxers in the world May 16-28 in Astana, Kazakhstan. Ten American women will compete in the biennial event, which will also serve as the final Olympic qualifier in the three women's Olympic weight divisions. Flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) will look to qualify her spot for the 2016 Olympic Games, joining lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) and reigning World and Olympic middleweight champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.).

The top four finishers in the three women's Olympic weight divisions - flyweight (112 lbs), lightweight (132 lbs), and middleweight (165 lbs) will qualify berths in the 2016 Olympic Games. Mayer and Shields clinched their 2016 Olympic berths at the Americas Qualifier in March.

2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will vie for her second straight world title when she competes at her new light flyweight division in Astana. Former world championships medalists Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) will both compete for additional hardware, boxing at the bantamweight and light heavyweight divisions respectively. Light welterweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) owns junior and youth world championship titles as well as Youth Olympic Games gold and she will make her first foray in to elite international competition in Kazakhstan.

Fuchs, featherweight Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.), welterweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) will all compete in their first World Championships tournament in Kazakhstan.

Shields has dominated her opposition since winning gold at the 2012 Olympics and she will look to defend her 2014 world title in her third world championships. Mayer secured her berth in the 2016 Olympic Games with a gold medal finish at the Americas Qualifier in March in Argentina but she will vie for her first world championships gold at the Olympic lightweight division when she competes in Kazakhstan.

The team has been in training camp at the Olympic Training Center for the past few weeks and will depart for Astana on Sunday for a final acclimation camp in Kazakhstan. The official tournament draw will take place on May 18 prior to the start of competition on May 19. Quarterfinal competition will be contested on May 24 before all of the competitors enjoy a rest day on May 25. Action will resume with semifinal competition on May 26 and the event will conclude with gold medal bouts on May 27.

While only three women's weight divisions are contested in Olympic and Pan American Games competition, the full 10 women's weight divisions will be on display in the Women's World Championships. The final rosters have not yet been released but approximately 300 athletes are expected to compete in the ninth edition of the Women's World Championships.

Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.), and Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) will lead the American squad in Kazakhstan with Dr. Larry Lovelace (Oklahoma City, Okla.) joining the squad as the team physician.

United States Women's World Championships Roster
106 lbs/48 kg: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas
112 lbs/51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas
119 lbs/54 kg: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y.
125 lbs/57 kg: Stalacia Leggett, Quartz Hill, Calif.
132 lbs/69 kg: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.
141 lbs/64 kg: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif.
152 lbs/69 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo.
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich.
178 lbs/81 kg: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md.
178+ lbs/81+ kg: Shadasia Green, Newark, N.J.

Head Coach: Billy Walsh, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach: Benny Roman, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Coach: Israel Acosta, Milwaukee, Wis.
Physician: Dr. Larry Lovelace, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Team Manager: Matthew Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo.
ATC: Dana Johnston, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Paul Titus, Colorado Springs, Colo.

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