The exciting semi-finals took place today in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, and Jeju, Korea was treated to a masterclass in boxing from each participant.
Both London 2012 Olympic Champions competing in the Championships made it through to their respective finals, as Ireland’s Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields of the United States are both in the hunt for another major honour.
The most successful nation of the semi-finals were Russia, who have four boxers competing for gold medals.
Bout of the day
US teenage star Claressa Shields has won the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 2013 AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships, plus the 2012 and 2014 AMBC American Women’s Continental Championships, and is looking to add the only title that is missing from her collection, an AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship.
The 19-year-old Middleweight class (75 kg) has been undefeated since May 2012, and continued her winning streak to reach the final after an engrossing contest against Canada’s two-time AIBA Women’s World Champion Ariane Fortin-Brochu.
Fortin-Brochu claimed a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August, but had to settle for bronze in Jeju after being defeating by Shields, who used her lethal jabs and power to unsettle her North American rival, who in turn competed strongly until the end of their absorbing battle.
Shields will now fight for the gold against China’s Li Qian who surprisingly eliminated Netherlands’ EUBC European Women’s Continental Champion Nouchka Fontijn in the second semi-final.
Team of the day
Among Asia’s leading boxing nations, India had two boxers in the semi-finals and both of them advanced to the finals of the Championships in Jeju.
Firstly, AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion and current National Champion Shamjetsabam Sarjubala Devi was able to secure her place in the final of the Light Flyweight class (48 kg) following her wonderful performance against Thailand’s Taipei City Cup winner 21-year-old Chuthamat Raksat.
Their second final place and victory on Day 7 was delivered by Saweety Boora, who is competing in her first ever international competition.
The Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) boxer, who trains in India’s most successful boxing region in Haryana, was too strong for Ukraine’s last remaining boxer, Anastasia Chernokolenko.
Surprises of the day
Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova joined their national team in 2012, and the 23-year-old has achieved her career highlight in advancing to the final in Jeju.
Her opponent in the last four was Russia’s AIBA Women’s World Champion Elena Savelyeva, who began the bout with great footwork, but her Bulgarian opponent was patient enough to wait for the best attacking moments in their contest, and eventually won via split decision.
Following that great win, the Bulgarian Bantamweight class (54 kg) will now meet with Italy’s Marzia Davide in the final.
Yana Alekseevna was born in Ukraine but she joined to the national squad of the Azerbaijan last year, and since then she won the Women Boxing Days in Hamburg and secured a valuable silver medal at the Feliks Stamm Memorial Tournament in Warsaw.
The 27-year-old Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer was not at her best in the first round against France’s EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships silver medallist Estelle Mossely, but a clever change of tactics saw her control the middle part of the contest using her counter-attacks to stop Mossely’s forward pressure.
Mossely turned up the heat in the final round, but her efforts were not enough to eliminate Azerbaijan’s new sensation in Jeju.
Panama’s South American Games silver medallist and Independence Cup winner Atheyna Bylon was an unknown boxer two years ago, but the 25-year-old boxer was invited to the ‘AIBA Road to Jeju’ program, and there her coaches decided to move down a category into the Welterweight class (69 kg).
She has already written history in Jeju when she was able to win Panama’s first ever bout in a women’s AIBA Championships, and she then went on to defeat two further opponents and advanced to the semi-finals.
Bylon was incredible once again in her bout against Azerbaijan’s AIBA World Championships silver medallist and defending EUBC European Women’s Continental Champion Elena Vystropova, as Panama’s powerhouse able to use her reach superbly well, and the fairytale continued for her as she won the contest against her decorated opponent.
Ones to watch
Italy’s Marzia Davide is one of the most experienced athletes in Korea, and she claimed a silver medal at the 2002 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
The 34-year-old Bantamweight class (54 kg) boxer has lost only one bout over the past 18 months, and won the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships in Bucharest this June.
Davide was at a different level to her Turkish opponent Ayse Tas, and 12 years on from her silver medal, the Italian is looking for a golden opportunity in Jeju.
Ireland’s London 2012 Olympic Champion and four-time AIBA Women’s World Champion Katie Taylor walked over to the semi-final following her main rival Russia’s Sofya Ochigava’s injury, and the 28-year-old Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer had to meet with China’s Asian Games winner Yin Junhua in the semi-finals.
Much of Ireland stops to a standstill when Taylor fights, and she did not let her passionate fans down as her hooks were especially potent against an exciting opponent.
The Chinese ringside threw in the towel at the beginning of the fourth round, and Taylor will now meet Azerbaijan’s southpaw Yana Alekseevna for her fifth gold in a row.
Stat/Fact of the day
Russia was the most successful nation after the quarter-finals, and they were able to keep that excellent position following the twenty semi-finals contests as well.
Hosts Korea secured a historic first bronze medal in the AIBA Women’s World Championships on home soil.
The following nations have boxers in the gold medal bouts:
Russia: 4 boxers
China, England, India, Kazakhstan, United States of America : 2 boxers
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Panama, Philippines: 1 boxer
Quotes of the day
“I am delighted to be in another final. I was surprised that the towel came in, but it looked like she hurt her hand in the third round. The plan was just plenty of feints. Sometimes you have to be really patience against those kind of boxers. These kind of matches are just like a chess match. It is a game of patience most of the time. I am looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” said Ireland’s living legend Katie Taylor after her semi-final triumph over China’s technician Yin Junhua.
“I am very happy that I won my fourth bout here in Jeju and I am in the final of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. My semi-final opponent, Russia’s Elena Savelyeva was a very good fighter but inside in the ring I knew that I won the close bout. I will try to do my best against the Italian boxer tomorrow and hope to get a further triumph in the Campionships,” commented Bulgaria’s new flag-bearer Stanimira Petrova after her triumph.
The finals are scheduled for the last competition day of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Jeju, Korea on Monday.
48 kg: Shamjetsabam Sarjubala Devi IND – Nazym Kyzaybay KAZ
51 kg: Marlen Esparza USA – Lisa Whiteside ENG
54 kg: Marzia Davide ITA – Stanimira Petrova BUL
57 kg: Nesthy Petecio PHI – Zinaida Dobrynina RUS
60 kg: Katie Taylor IRL – Yana Alekseevna AZE
64 kg: Anastasia Beliakova, RUS – Sandy Ryan ENG
69 kg: Atheyna Bylon PAN – Saadat Abdullaeva RUS
75 kg: Claressa Shields USA – Li Qian CHN
81 kg: Saweety Boora IND – Yang Xiaoli CHN
+81 kg: Zenfira Magomedaliyeva RUS – Lazzat Kungeybayeva KAZ