Thursday’s afternoon session witnessed a brilliant win for Ireland’s Kellie Harrington as she became only the second Irish boxer in history to reach a Women’s World Championship final. The China and Kazakhstan teams dominated their matches, while Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova looked in title-winning form at bantamweight.
A strong start from Great Britain’s Nicola Adams in the first bout of the evening saw her hold off a spirited comeback from home favourite Zhaina Shekerbekova and secure her place in the final in Astana. After three silvers, Adams showed her desire for a first World Championship gold medal from the outset, but Thailand’s Peamilai Laopeam will be equally determined for glory after her narrow win over Sarah Ourahmoune of France.
“This is my last year in the sport after a long career and I travelled to Astana to get the Olympic spot for Rio, which I earned in a difficult quarter-final. I tried to move more than my French rival and managed to win a tough contest, so I am very happy,” said Laopeam afterwards.
Italian Alessia Mesiano then booked her place in the final with a composed unanimous win against Bulgaria’s veteran featherweight Denitsa Eliseeva, who secured her first World Championship medal with bronze in Astana. Mesiano will meet Sonia Lather of India in the final, after she defeated Kazakhstan’s Aizhan Khojabekova.
Having guaranteed herself a first Olympic Games appearance by reaching the lightweight semi-final, Estelle Mossely earned a first World Championship final appearance with a fearless performance against five-time World Champion Katie Taylor. The final round proved decisive as the French 24 year-old had the stamina to edge a close-run encounter, setting up a gold-medal match against Russia’s Anastasiia Beliakova, winner of the light welterweight title two years ago in Korea.
“I’m in the final but I don’t want to stop there, so right now I’m focusing on that final but all the stars are aligned for me to perform well,” said the French gold-medal hopeful after her bout.
Claressa Shields wore down Chinese Taipei’s Nien-Chin Chen with heavy body blows and then picked her way through her opponent’s defences with some accurate shots to earn a unanimous win. Shields faces Nouchka Fontijn in the final, who came through a stiff test against Britain’s Savannah Marshall with some superb boxing.
The heavyweights closed out Thursday’s semi-finals, with Shadasia Green reaching her first World Championship final after a powerful display against Sennur Demir. A brilliant contest between crowd favourite Lazzat Kungeibayeva and China’s Shijn Wang saw the Kazakh come back bravely against the big hitting Wang and as her opponent tired, Kungeibayeva took full advantage, landing enough scoring shots to earn a memorable win.