Ireland's three-time AIBA World Champion Katie Taylor is on course to achieve a fourth consecutive world title at the 7th edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, China, after coming through her semi-final in style. She now faces the powerful Russian Sofya Ochigava.
25-year-old Taylor, from Bray, triumphed in her semi-final against the tough 19-year-old Asian Champion Mavzuna Choriyeva, who became the fourth Tajik boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games. The Irish legend won the contest in impressive fashion, taking each round to record a 16:6 victory. Now only one win separates her from retaining her title.
Russia's two-time AIBA World Champion, 25-year-old Sofya Ochigava also advanced to the Lightweight final, ensuring the much anticipated showdown with Katie Taylor goes ahead this Saturday in Qinhuangdao. Their head-to-head record now stands at 1:1 following their two previous contests in 2010 and 2011. In her semi-final, the Russian boxer was simply too strong for England's Olympic Test Event winner Natasha Jonas.
Current European Champion, Svetlana Gnevanova was the first of nine Russian boxers in action in the semi-finals. Her opponent was Philippines' AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Josie Gabuco, who was quality in Light Flyweight contest. Gabuco prevailed and will now meet China's Xu Shiqi for the gold medal.
In the Olympic Flyweight class, it was as expected as England's gold medal contender European Champion Nicola Adams defeated Russia's reigning AIBA World Champion Yelena Savelyeva 11:6. The Englishwoman will face China's Ren Cancan in the final. Adams, from Leeds, triumphed over the Chinese fighter at the Strandja Memorial Tournament early this year, which bodes well for her gold medal aspirations.
Italian veteran Terry Gordini put in an incredible performance in Qinhuangdao and advanced to the Bantamweight final after beating the USA's Christina Cruz 11:7 following a sensational second round. Gordini will now meet Russia's AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Aleksandra Kuleshova with a world title on the line.
European Championships silver medallist Lisa Whiteside from England, who joined up with her national squad only last year, had defied the odds to make the last four in China but her fairytale journey was ended by the imposing Polish EU Champion Sandra Kruk. The Polish Featherweight No.1 will now be fighting for the title of World Champion against the USA Panamerican Champion Tiara Brown.
20-year-old Polish former European Youth Champion Magdalena Stelmach was one of the favourites in the Light Welterweight class coming into this tournament. The young Pole confirmed this status as she eliminated Russia's Daria Abramova to advance to the final where she her next opponent will be DPR Korea's former Asian Champion Pak Kyong Ok.
Netherlands' Marichelle De Jong defeated Ukraine's Maria Badulina in the final of the last edition of the European Championships in Rotterdam. In their re-match in Qinhuangdao, Badulina was the one to triumph this time as she overpowered her Dutch rival to progress to the Welterweight final where she will meet American National Champion Raquel Miller.
Azerbaijan's former Russian National Champion Yelena Vystropova started brightly in the Middleweight semi-final against her taller rival, Sweden's former AIBA World Champion Anna Laurell. The Azeri boxer led 5:3 after the first round but Laurell's came back fighting and the Swedish veteran clawed back her deficit in the second frame to draw level. Vystropova managed to contain this sterling fight back to gain the upper hand and in the end ensured she was the one to advance to the final, collecting an Olympic quota for herself as well.
England's AIBA World Championships silver medallist Savannah Marshall continued her exquisite form in China by eliminating another top rival, Russia's AIBA World Champion Nadezhda Torlopova. Marshall dominated their Middleweight contest and can now prepare for a second successive final at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.
China's Yuan Meiqing was in great shape against Russia's European Champion Svetlana Kosova and showed great footwork to win the battle. Her next opponent, in the Light Heavyweight final, will be multiple US and Panamerican Champion Franchon Crews, who was ruthless in her semi-final against Hungary's Timea Nagy.
AIBA World Championships bronze medallist and current Asian Champion, 21-year-old Li Yunfei has made a real breakthrough in her career on home soil. China's top Heavyweight eliminated Russia's two-time AIBA World Champion veteran Irina Sinetskaya 25:15 to meet Kazakhstan's Yulduz Mamatkulova in the final.
Tomorrow marks the end of these enthralling championships with ten World Champions to be crowned. Do not miss a second of action with all fights broadcast LIVE on aibaboxingtv.com.
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