Team USA's Elite Women Score
Victories on Sunday at the 2016 World Boxing Championships
by Julie Goldsticker/USA Boxing
May 22, 2016
(MAY 22) COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.
- Team USA bounced back from a rough day on Saturday with four
preliminary round wins on Sunday at the 2016 Women's World
Boxing Championships. Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), Naomi
Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Claressa Shields (Flint,
Mich.) and Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) all recorded
victories over the two sessions of action at the Barys Arena in
Astana, Kazakhstan. Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.)
dropped her second bout of the tournament in the featherweight
division on Sunday.
Cruz opened the day for her U.S. squad in her first bout of the
2016 event. An international veteran, Cruz used her experience
in a bantamweight preliminary bout with Helina Bruyevich of
Belarus. She took three of the four rounds on all of the judges
scorecards to win the match by unanimous decision. Cruz will
compete in quarterfinal action on Tuesday afternoon in a bout
with France's Delphine Mancini.
Graham competed in her first-ever World Championships bout on
Sunday afternoon in Astana and she made a triumphant entrance in
to the event. The U.S. Army boxer faced Ukraine's Marila
Badulina in welterweight preliminary competition. The two
battled in a closely contested match over the eight minutes but
Graham pulled out the bout by split division to advance on to
the quarterfinal round. She will face Germany's Nadine Apetz on
Tuesday afternoon for a spot in the medal round.
Another World Championships veteran, Crews represented Team USA
in Sunday's light heavyweight competition. She took on Italy's
Flavia Severin in preliminary round action. Crews controlled the
match to win a strong unanimous decision victory and close the
opening session for Team USA. The victory earned her a spot in
the quarterfinal round with fellow long-time boxer Maria Kovacs
of Hungary on Tuesday afternoon.
As usual, Olympic gold medalist Shields thrilled the crowd with
another dominant performance in the middleweight division.
Shields and Nafisakhon Askarova of Uzbekistan faced off in her
second bout of the tournament on Sunday evening at the Barys
Arena. She showcased her power and skills in the second round
bout to win a unanimous decision and move on to Tuesday night's
middleweight quarterfinals. Shields will take on Kazakhstan's
Violleta Knyazeva in her next bout.
Leggett opened the tournament with a victory in her first bout
of the tournament but she wasn't able to add a second victory on
Sunday. She dropped a unanimous decision to Italy's Alessia
Mesiano on Sunday evening.
Two United States boxers fell on Saturday at the Women's World
Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. Flyweight Virginia Fuchs
(Kemah, Texas) and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles,
Calif.) each dropped their second round bouts in hard-fought
contests at the Barys Arena.
Fuchs battled Azerbaijan's Anna Alimardanova in her second bout
of the World Championships in Astana. The four round contest was
closely contested throughout with the match resulting in a
tiebreaker on one of the judges scorecards. Yet Alimardanova
pulled out the bout by one round on the other two scorecards to
win a 2-0 decision over Fuchs. Although she is eliminated from
the tournament, Fuchs can still clinch a berth in the Olympics
Games if Canada's Mandy Bujold advances to the semifinal round.
Bujold won gold at the recent Americas Qualifier and due to to
Fuchs third round finish at the Americas Qualifier, the American
could still earn a spot in Rio with a top four placement by
Mayer competed against fellow 2016 Olympian Junhua Yin of China
in the evening session. The two boxers met previously in
lightweight action with each boxer owning previous victories.
Although Mayer defeated Yin twice in earlier bouts, she wasn't
able to add another win in the 2016 World Championships. Yin
claimed a lightweight victory over Mayer in Saturday's action,
eliminating her from the World Championships. Mayer will look to
avenge the loss should the two meet in this summer's Olympic
Games. The American lightweight clinched her Olympic spot at the
Americas Qualifier in March and today's bout will not impact her
Three American boxers will box in the early session on Monday at
the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan. 2012 Olympic bronze
medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will make her
tournament debut on Monday afternoon at the light flyweight
division. The returning flyweight champion will face China's
Chorong Bak in her 2016 edition opener in the first bout of the
day at 2 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET). Light welterweight Jajaira
Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) will box in her second bout of the
event following a third round stoppage in her opener on Friday.
She will take on China's Wenlu Yang in bout five of the first
session at approximately 2:50 p.m. local time (4:50 a.m. ET).
Heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) will compete in her
first World Championships match on Monday afternoon, battling
Romania's Elena Turcin in the ninth bout of the session at
approximately 3:50 p.m. local time (5:50 a.m. ET).
The competition is being livestreamed on the AIBA website at
www.aiba.org. For all of the tournament brackets, competition
schedule, bout sheets and current results, go to: www.aiba.org/aiba-womens-world-boxing-championships-astana-2016.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta
(Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are leading
the U.S. team in Kazakhstan.
Over 275 boxers from 70 nations are competing in the ninth
edition of the Women's World Championships. The first-ever
Women's World Boxing Championships took place in Scranton, Pa.,
in 2001 and has grown exponentially since that time. The 2016
event is the second world championships since the Olympic debut
of women's boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games. While only three
women's weight divisions are contested in Olympic competition,
all 10 weight classes are showcased in world championships
Sunday's U.S. Results
119 lbs/54 kg: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA, dec. Helina
Bruyevich, BLR, 3-0
125 lbs/57 kg: Alessia Mesiano, ITA, dec. Stalacia Leggett,
Quartz Hill, Calif./USA, 3-0
152 lbs/69 kg: Naomi Graham, Colorado Springs, Colo./USA, dec.
Marila Badulina, UKR, 2-1
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec.
Nafisakhon Askarova, UZB, 3-0
178 lbs/81 kg: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA, dec. Flavia
Severin, ITA, 3-0
Saturday's U.S. Results
112 lbs/51 kg: Anna Alimardanova, AZE, dec. Virginia Fuchs,
Kemah, Texas/USA, 2-0
132 lbs/60 kg: Junhua Yin, CHN, dec. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles,