The 7th edition of the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships crowned ten World Champions in Qinhuangdao, China this weekend and ushered in a new era for the sport. With the quality and competitiveness at an all-time high and with women's boxing making its debut at the London 2012 Olympic Games later this summer, this enthralling tournament marked a watershed moment in the history of the sport of boxing.
Some of the boxers really lit up the competition with some magnificent displays; none more so than Ireland's national icon, newly crowned four-time AIBA World Champion Katie Taylor, who was also awarded the best boxer trophy due to the sheer class of her performances. Her technical skills alone proving that women's boxing is truly ready to steal the show at the XXX Olympiad.
Record number of participants and countries involved has seen these AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships demonstrate the meteoric rise in the popularity of the sport and although still in its developing stage, the diversity has almost reached the level of the men. 305 women from 70 nations ensured a feast of boxing in Qinhuangdao, with 48 of these athletes winning at least one contest. New nations such as Afghanistan, Armenia, Austria, Bolivia, Colombia, Jamaica, Nigeria, Serbia, Republic of South Africa and Uzbekistan all made their debuts in women's international competition.
The host nation, China, secured three gold medals in the front of its home crowd and ended the tournament by topping the medal ranking chart. Flyweight winner Ren Cancan was their leading athlete as she claimed her third World Title in style whilst Heavyweight No.1 Li Yunfei and 19-year-old Yuan Meiqing, the youngest winner in the competition, also claimed gold medals.
Nine out of the ten competing Russian women advanced to the semi-finals but unfortunately for them, only two actually progressed to the finals. Aleksandra Kuleshova, who had moved up to Bantamweight, secured her first gold medal in a major tournament. Sofya Ochigava also proved her excellent skills in Qinhuangdao but came up against the irrepressible Katie Taylor's in the Lightweight final and had to settle for silver.
The United States of America finished the tournament ranked third and proved yet again that they have some of the toughest fighters within their squad. Despite the fact that the top Middleweight favourite, super talented 17-year-old Claressa Shields lost to eventual winner Savannah Marshall of England during the preliminaries, the strong nation secured two Olympic quotas and a total of five medals, including one gold, in China.
England was also one of the stand-out teams at these championships after a string of remarkable performances in Qinhuangdao. Each of their four representatives reached the podium. Savannah Marshall, a silver medallist at the last edition, went one better this time as she celebrated her 21st birthday with a World Title. In each of the three Olympic weight categories, Great Britain will now have a representative at London 2012 so look out for them to make headlines this summer.
The quality of boxers continually coming out of DPR Korea never ceases to amaze and dumbfound critics and once again the Asian nation made its mark. Light Welterweight No.1 Pak Kyong Ok continued her winning streak to claim her nation's seventh worldwide title. Unfortunately none of her teammates achieved an Olympic quota.
The Polish team travelled to Qinhuangdao with seven boxers, claiming two silvers and one bronze medal in the process. Former AIBA World Champion veteran Karolina Michalczuk became the first boxer from Poland to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Talented duo Sandra Kruk and Magdalena Stelmach took home silver.
India's five-time AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom was unable to continue her golden series in her new weight class but still qualified for London. There she will seek to set the record straight against her victor in China, England's Nicola Adams. The Indian team started the championships with several solid victories but in the end only Heavyweight Kavita Chahal was able to claim a medal.
Josie Gabuco made history after becoming the first Filipino women boxer to be crowned World Champion and Tajikistan secured its first ever medal as 19-year-old Asian Champion Mavzuna Choriyeva recorded a personal career highlight and qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Azerbaijan also achieved its first women's medal as Yelena Vystropova also booked her place for London.
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