Panama’s Atheyna Bylon entered the eighth edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Jeju, Korea with little expectations.
After all, no previous boxer from her country had ever won a bout in an AIBA women’s competition, let alone won a medal.
Additionally, no women’s boxer who had taken part in an AIBA development program had ever won a gold medal in a worldwide competition.
The chances were widely against Bylon, but she defied all of the odds to secure one of the most unexpected gold medals in the history of any boxing competition.
Bylon defeated all five of her tough rivals in the Championships, writing history with each victory, all of which were accomplished with superb boxing skill and tremendous heart.
Her gold medal firmly established Panama in the world of boxing, and gave tremendous reward to AIBA’s development programs.
Atheyna Bylon was born in Panama City on April 6 in 1989 the daughter of Mrs. Marta Bylon, and after finishing her schooling at the Escuela Artes y Oficio Melchor Lasso de la Vega, she is now studying at the University of Panama City.
Bylon has also been working at the Panama National Police which also helps prepare her for boxing competitions.
The new star became Panama’s National Champion in 2012 which was her first career highlight following the Police tournament in her home city.
She then competed at the Central American Games in San Jose, Costa Rica 18 months ago where she was too strong for Guatemala’s talented teenager Zulema Alvarez and Nicaragua’s Panamerican Games quarter-finalist Ledy Mayorga winning her first gold medal at an international event.
Panama also hosted the Aristides Ernesto Rodriguez Cerrud Cup shortly after the Central American Games, where Bylon defeated Costa Rica’s Karla Rodriguez in the gold medal bout.
In the final of the Central American Women’s Championships she defeated Nicaragua’s Ledy Mayorga once again.
Later, her national boxing association sent her to the La Romana Cup and she was able to beat the local star, Dominican Republic’s AMBC American Women’s Continental Champion Yenebier Guillen which established her career even further.
The 178cm tall boxer returned to the Dominican Republic on February when the local federation hosted the prestigious Independence Cup, and she defeated three athletes including Brazil’s top Middleweight class (75 kg) boxer Flavia Figueiredo and secured another gold medal.
Bylon then arrived to the South American Games in Santiago de Chile as a gold medal contender in spite of her low number of international bouts, and Panama’s national pride defeated Argentina’s Lourdes Alonso and Venezuela’s experienced Francelis Carmona before losing to Flavia Figueiredo in a hectic gold medal bout eight month ago.
Following that silver medal, she bagged another important podium place in Tijuana, Mexico where she qualified for the Central American & Caribbean Games where following two triumphs at the Middleweight class (75 kg) she was beaten by her old rival, Dominican Republic’s Yenebier Guillen in narrow bout where the judges had a hard job to decide the winner.
Bylon was involved in the ‘AIBA Road to Jeju Program’ which gave an opportunity for the low-boxing-income nations to send athletes to the AIBA Women’s World Championships, and to ensure that the participants could raise their technical and tactical skills before the event in a joint training camp.
The Program was a great success for Bylon, and enabled her to improve on her stamina and strength, and her improvements saw her and her coaches decide together that her chances in Jeju would be better at the Welterweight class (69 kg).
It was a move which proved to be a masterstroke, as Bylon won her opening bout against India’s Neetu Chahal, ensuring Panama’s first ever triumph in an AIBA women’s event.
Her second opponent was a top Welsh athlete and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lauren Price, who failed to defeat Bylon in Jeju.
The fairytale continued as Bylon’s southpaw jabs consistently hit the target in her quarter-final bout against Turkey’s Guluzar Kara, and the win saw Panama achieve its first ever medal in an AIBA world competition.
Bylon’s style is based on her excellent physicality teamed with dynamic footwork and quick counter-attacks, all of which were evident in her semi-final against Azerbaijan’s AIBA Women’s World Championships silver medallist Elena Vystropova, who couldn’t get anywhere near to her South American opponent.
Despite tiredness after an tough tournament, her enthusiasm and skill was enough for her to beat Russia’s new sensation Saadat Abdullaeva in the final of the Welterweight class (69 kg).
“I am super satisfied with my performance in the 8th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Jeju. My tactic was clear to keep the distance and I tried to follow the instruction of my coach in the whole championships. I am feeling very great joy to get a gold medal for my proud country, Panama in a World Championships. I think I need some weeks to believe I am the World Champion,” said Bylon after she had written history in Jeju.