After an afternoon that saw the Women’s World Championship semi-finalists confirmed at seven weights, Tuesday’s evening session promised even greater emotion with 17 of the 24 flyweight, lightweight and middleweight boxers vying for a Rio 2016 quota spot alongside a place in the final four in Astana.
First into the ring were Britain’s Nicola Adams and Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Ting Lin, both with huge prizes at stake. Adams has her sights set firmly on a first World Championship title, while a win for the technical Lin would guarantee her a quota spot for Rio 2016. Fittingly, the bout went right down to the wire, both boxers ducking and darting away from trouble in an energetic encounter, but Adams’ battling win meant that Ukraine’s Tetyana Kob, third at the European Olympic Qualification Event in Turkey, now earns a quota place.
German revelation Azize Nimani’s brave challenge for an Olympic berth was halted by Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova who took the contest and the Rio 2016 spot by unanimous decision, before Sarah Ourahmoune was confirmed as France’s first female Olympic boxer, winning by a walkover against China’s Ren Cancan.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor was a woman on a mission as she chased the chance to defend her 2012 Olympic Lightweight title against Mexico’s Victoria Torres. The AMBC Champion struggled to halt Taylor’s repeated attacks, with stamina seeing the relieved Irish star through to the Semi-Finals. “It’s definitely a big weight off my shoulders, defending the title has been a dream of mine since London 2012. I knew I was going to need to dig deep at some stage but at times I really found it hard to get my distance and just had to stand there and box,” said the five-time World Champion after her crucial win.
Lightweight Estelle Mossely will be joining compatriot Ourahmoune on the plane to Rio after beating Azeri talent Yana Alekseevna with another commanding Astana 2016 performance. Mossely established some early superiority and piled on the pressure in the second and third rounds, leaving Alekseevna falling just short despite a brave final flourish.
The volume ramped up inside the Barys Arena during the bout between American World Champion Claressa Shields and young Kazakh Violleta Knyazeva, and Shields looked visibly lifted as she launched straight onto the offensive. Her first round domination was extended in round two leaving Knyazeva with no response, and the top-seed’s win means Brazil’s Andreia Bandeira, third at the Olympic Qualification Event two months ago, joins Adriana Araujo in the Brazil team at Rio 2016.
Chinese Taipei’s 19 year-old Nien-Chin Chen then overcame Morocco’s Khadija Mardi to book herself an Olympic place, along with Netherlands’ experienced Nouchka Fontijn, who dashed the French team’s hopes of a third Rio 2016 spot by beating Erika Guerrier by unanimous decision.