Friday’s afternoon session at the 2016 Women’s World Championships offered a feast of different styles across the bantamweight, featherweight and light welterweight classes. There were big wins for China’s Meiling Gao and Kazakhstan’s first competitor of the championships, Zarina Tsoloyeva, while the German team celebrated three wins out of three as Ornella Wahner, Nomin Deutsch and Cindy Rogge all progressed to the second round.
In the evening’s hotly anticipated middleweight bouts, and with Rio 2016 quota places also available for the semi-finalists, defending World Champion Claressa Shields looked every bit the favourite to retain her title, the number-one seed powering past Germany’s Sarah Scheurich in a typically uncompromising display.
In a repeat of the Women’s World Championship final in Qinhuangdao four years ago, Great Britain’s Savannah Marshall faced Azerbaijan’s Elena Vystropova in the rivals’ first taste of Astana action. The taller Brit celebrated her 25th birthday in style, taking the contest by unanimous decision.
“I had a very strong opponent in the first round but this was not our first contest so her style was not a surprise for me today. I am satisfied and it feels good to get the first one out of the way,” said Savannah Marshall after her bout.
A brilliantly tight contest then played out between Panamanian Atheyna Byion and Brazil’s Andreia Bandeira. After all three judges had scored the match equally, Bandeira was eventually awarded the bout, sending the fifth seed out of the competition. Winner of the African Olympic Qualifying Event in Cameroon, Morocco’s Khadija Mardi dominated her bout with Ireland’s Christine Desmond, as countless long-range attacks wore down her opponent from the outset.
Saturday sees British Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams begin her latest attempt to win a first World title against Dilnozakhon Odiljonova, and five-time World Champion Katie Taylor faces Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson, knowing that a place in the semi-finals will finally secure her a crucial berth at Rio 2016.