A total of 161 female boxers from a record 31 European nations have entered the upcoming EUBC Women's Elite Championships to be held in Rotterdam, Netherlands from October 16.
The strong Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and Polish teams will each be taking part in these championships with full 10-member squads, while the host nation is only represented by three athletes, though all are considered top quality fighters. Also competing are Bulgaria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Sweden who all have solid teams.
In the Olympic Flyweight category, 19 athletes will battle it out for the top prize with the favourites amongst these; Russia's veteran National Champion Olesya Gladkova, Poland's former AIBA World Champion Karolina Michalczuk, England's two-time AIBA World Championships silver medallist Nicola Adams and France's experienced Sarah Ourahmoune, who joined them by moving up a weight division this year.
The highest number of athletes in one class with 26 will be in the Lightweight division, also an Olympic category. The most anticipated fight of these European Championships will surely be the one between Ireland's three-time AIBA World Champion Katie Taylor and Russia's two-time AIBA World Champion Sofya Ochigava, with their last bout resulting in a Russian victory. Turkey's Gulsum Tatar should also be a strong contender.
In the third Olympic division, the Middleweights, there is also a record number of competitors with 17 athletes challenging for medals. England's AIBA World Championships silver medallist Savannah Marshall moved up a weight class to compete with Hungary's two-time AIBA World Champion Maria Kovacs, former AIBA World Champion Anna Laurell of Sweden and local hero Nouckha Fontijn for the title.
Only six athletes will fight it out for the ultimate prize in the Super Heavyweight category and in the other non-Olympic weight division, at 69kg; the host nation has high hopes for veteran Marichelle De Jong. According to reports, the Dutchwoman has been training extra hard in order to be in the best possible shape in Rotterdam in the hope of clinching gold.
The Russian team is also very strong in these non-Olympic divisions with European Champion Svetlana Gnevanova, AIBA World Championships silver medallist Vera Slugina, European Youth Champion Svetlana Kosova and two-time AIBA World Champion Irina Sinetskaya all in with a good chance of winning medals.
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