Sunday afternoon at the Barys Arena in Astana saw the bantamweight, welterweight and light heavyweight boxers take to the ring, vying for a place in the 2016 AIBA World Championship Quarter-Finals. It proved to be an excellent session for the Chinese, Russian and USA teams, whose boxers progressed in all three weight classes.

The afternoon began with Bulgarian bantamweight Stoyka Petrova putting in a near-flawless performance against Britain’s Lisa Whiteside to earn a unanimous points win and set up a Quarter-Final showdown with Russia’s top seed Saiana Sagataeva. Helina Bruyevich’s brave late rally wasn’t enough to halt American Christina Cruz, who successfully negotiated her way to the next round along with Kazakhstan’s second seed Dina Zholaman.

A brilliant welterweight match-up played out between Australia’s Jessica Messina and Saadat Abdulaeva, with the Russian eventually finishing an exhausting encounter on top. Valentina Khalzova then had the crowd on its feet with another imperious display to reach the quarter-finals, where she will meet Ireland’s Grainne Walsh, who scored an impressive win against Poland’s former Junior World Champion Hanna Solecka.

Naomi Graham had to dig deep to turn around her bout against Ukraine’s former world champion Marila Badulina-Bova, and China’s Hong Gu looked in title-winning form against Gulten Turker.

Morrocco’s Soukayna Rabih got the light heavyweights off to a spectacular start, landing some big blows against Canadian Alison Greey to earn a TKO win before the end of the first round. Liubov Pashina made it three wins out of three for the Russians with a powerful display against Yulduz Mamatkulova, and Hungarian veteran Maria Kovacs progressed against Uzbekistan’s Melieva Ezozakhon as she seeks a third world title in what will be her last ever World Championship appearance.

“The right and left-handed jabs were successful today and I am really happy to have won the bout against my Uzbek rival. I would like to get through to the finals as this is my last World Championships,” said a relieved Maria Kovacs after her close opening win.