The Barys Arena in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana was bouncing on day one of the 2016 AIBA Women’s World Championships, with 35 superb bouts of boxing and an entertaining opening ceremony thrilling the crowds. The flyweight and lightweight-class boxers dominated Thursday’s proceedings, with the two biggest fields offering the added incentive of eight Rio 2016 quota places between them, on top of the honour of becoming World Champion.
India’s five-time gold medallist Mary Kom began her quest for a record sixth title with a win over Sweden’s Juliana Soderstrom in an afternoon session that also saw big wins for Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia and Uzbekistan’s Dilnozakhon Odiljonova. The Uzbek will now be British Olympic champion Nicola Adams’ first opponent in the second round.
Adams’ teammate Chantelle Cameron got her campaign off to a flying start in the opening bout of the evening session with a first-round TKO against Jordanian Lina Al-Fayyad. Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson successfully negotiated her tricky tie against Italy’s Irma Testa, setting up a tough second-round match with Irish superstar and five-time World Champion Katie Taylor.
“I am pretty satisfied with today’s performance against Irma Testa, a great opponent who has already qualified for the Olympic Games. I felt I lost the third round but came back stronger in the fourth, now I am excited to face Katie Taylor in the next round. I boxed her about a year ago but I have improved since then and I know nothing is impossible,” said Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson after her opening contest.
In a repeat of the African Olympic Qualifier final in March, Morocco’s Hasnaa Lachgar again got the better of Tunisia’s Hlimi Khouloud to advance to the next round. North Korea’s Tong Sun Ri will face France’s Estelle Mossely after beating Germany’s Tasheena Bugar and Valerian Spicer made history for the Dominican Republican, winning their first match in the history of the tournament with a TKO against Hungarian Timea Takacs. In the final bout of the day, the American Mikaela Mayer put in an energetic display to progress against Turkey’s Esra Yildiz.