(MAY 17) COLORADO SPRINGS,
COLO. (May 17, 2016) - All of the preparations are complete and
USA Boxing's elite women are ready to face the best boxers in
the world at the 2016 Women's World Boxing Championships, May
19-27 in Astana, Kazakhstan. More than 70 countries are slated
to be represented by 276 athletes in the ninth edition of the
The tournament will be the Olympic final qualifying event for
the world's female athletes with 12 Olympic berths up for grabs
in the three women's Olympic weight divisions. American
flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) will compete for her
Olympic berth in Kazakhstan and can clinch her spot with a top
four finish in the World Championships. Team USA's lightweight
Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Olympic champion
middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) are two of 21
female boxers worldwide who secured Olympic spots through the
four continental qualifying events this spring.
Due to Fuchs' third place finish at the Americas Olympic
qualifier, she can also earn her Olympic berth if Canada's Mandy
Bujold or Colombia's Ingrit Valencia, who both qualified at the
event in Argentina, finish in the top four at the 2016 Women's
The United States squad arrived in Astana on Monday, May 9 for a
final acclimation prior to the start of competition on Thursday.
The team made a visit to the American corner at the U.S. Embassy
in Astana on Sunday and answered questions about boxing for the
group assembled. U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol then
invited the squad in to his yurt, giving them a great taste of
the culture in Kazakhstan.
The U.S. team moved in to the official event hotel on Sunday and
is getting settled before the general weigh-in and official
tournament draw on Wednesday. The U.S. squad and all of their
competitors will learn their opening round opponents and the
additional potential match-ups during the tournament at the
tournament draw at noon local time at the Rixos Hotel (2 a.m.
According to the current schedule, the three Olympic weight
divisions - flyweight (112 lbs), lightweight (132 lbs) and
middleweight (165 lbs) will open competition in preliminary
bouts on Thursday, May 19. The bantamweight (119 lbs),
featherweight (125 lbs), light welterweight (141 lbs), and
welterweight (152 lbs) classes will kick off preliminary action
on Friday, May 20 prior to the debut of the light flyweights on
Saturday, May 21. The light heavyweight class will take the ring
for the first time on Sunday, May 22 and the heavyweight
division will be the final weight class to compete when they
step through the ropes on Monday, May 23. All of the weight
divisions will face off in quarterfinal action on Tuesday, May
24. Following a rest day for all of the athletes, semifinal
action will take place on Thursday, May 26 and the gold medal
bouts will be contested on Friday, May 27 at the Barys Arena.
Preliminary and quarterfinal competition will take place in two
sessions daily at 2 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) and 7 p.m. (9 a.m.) local
time. Semifinal bouts will be contested at 3 p.m. (5 a.m. ET)
and 7 p.m. (9 a.m.) local time and the championship matches will
begin at 3 p.m. (5 a.m. ET) local time.
Shields and light flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will
both be vying for their second consecutive world title at the
2016 World Championships. Esparza is returning to the light
flyweight division which she competed in at her first World
Championships in 2006, taking a bronze medal.
Reigning Olympic, Pan American Games and World Champion Shields
is the strong favorite in her middleweight division. The
21-year-old was recently named the American Boxing Federation's
2015 athlete of the year and was featured on ESPN's E60 and
HBO's the Fight Game in the past month.
Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), Mayer, and light
heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) are all world
championships veterans with each of them owning hardware from
the event. Mayer will compete for her first medal in the Olympic
lightweight division in Kazakhstan after a podium finish at the
light welterweight division. Light welterweight Jajaira Gonzalez
(Glendora, Calif.) enjoys a perfect international record with
junior and youth world titles on her resume and is the first
American woman to win a Youth Olympic Games gold medal. She will
make her elite division international debut in Kazakhstan.
Fuchs, featherweight Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.),
welterweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and
heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) will compete alongside
the veteran athletes in their world championships debuts.
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 full rosters by weight class will be made
available at the tournament draw on Wednesday.
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.