The 6th edition of the Asian Women's Championships got underway today in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulanbaatar. As women's boxing continues its fast-growing development, the Asian continent sets the bar as one of leading world regions and this tournament has once again attracted a record number of participants.
The first demonstrational women's contest was held during the 8th South Asian Games boxing tournament in the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, back in 1999. The pioneers of the women boxing in the Asian continent were India, China, North Korea, Thailand, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. They all competed at the first edition of the Asian Women's Championships in Bangkok in August 2001 when the North Korean squad secured five gold medals in that historical championship. China took two golds whilst hosts Thailand and the Philippines both claimed one top podium finish.
Following three further editions last decade, Asia's leading nation in men's boxing, Kazakhstan, hosted the last instalment of the event, the 5th ASBC Women's Championships, in Astana two years ago. In that tournament, 84 boxers competed from a record number of sixteen nations, with Afghanistan, China, Chinese Taipei, DPR Korea, India, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam all present. Afghanistan, Jordan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were all making their debuts in the Asian Women's Championships.
Kazakhstan dominated these championships with four gold medals, while the traditionally strong countries of China, DPR Korea and India each triumphed in two weight categories. Then, 18-year-old rising star Mavzuna Choriyeva claimed an unexpected final victory in the Olympic Lightweight class and secured the first ever gold medal for Tajikistan.
This year, joining hosts Mongolia, China, India and Kazakhstan will be competing with a maximum number of ten athletes in Ulanbaatar. This 6th edition will bring together 92 boxers from 19 nations with Lebanon, Myanmar and Uzbekistan all set to make their debuts in the event.
India's legendary athlete, five-time AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom and China's two-time AIBA World Champion Ren Cancan will be the two big gold medal contenders in the Olympic Flyweight class. This draw is extremely strong on the Asian continent with Thailand's Asian Indoor Games winner Peamwilai Laopeam, Kazakhstan's Asian Champion Jaina Shekerbekova, Mongolia's Asian Championships silver medallist Myagmardulam Nandintsetseg, Philippines' Alice Kate Aparri and Sri Lanka's AIBA Road to London Program member Anusha Kodituwakku all in the mix.
China's two-time AIBA World Championships silver medallist Dong Cheng, India's former AIBA World Champion Sarita Devi Laishram, Tajikistan's 19-year-old titleholder Mavzuna Choriyeva, Kazakhstan's Asian Champion Saida Khasenova, North Korea's former Asian Champion Kim Hye Yong and Thailand's Southeast Asian Games winner young Supaporn Srisondee will be vying for the gold medal in the Olympic Lightweight division.
In the third and final Olympic weight category, China's AIBA World Champion Li Jinzi, Kazakhstan's Asian Champion Dariga Shakimova, Mongolia's Asian Games silver medallist Erdenesoyol Undram, India's rising star Pooja Rani and Japan's TV star Shizuyo Yamasaki are the notable names taking to the ring.
At the non-Olympic weight classes Philippines' AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist Nesthy Petecio, Vietnam's AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist Luu Thi Duyen, Thailand's AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Tassamelee Thongjan, Kyrgyzstan's Antonina Shevchenko and China's AIBA Youth World Champion Yuan Meiqing will be the athletes to watch in Ulanbaatar. It promises to be both extremely close and very exciting.
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