The United States squad moved to a perfect 5-0 in 2016 Women’s World Championships competition with three victories on Friday in Astana, Kazakhstan. Reigning Olympic and World Champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) closed the undefeated day with a last second TKO following first round victories from featherweight Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.) and light welterweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) in the early session at the Barys Arena.
Shields faced off with Germany’s Sarah Scheurich in in the lone United States bout of the evening session. The number one middleweight seed put on a show in her opening bout, controlling the contest from the start. She put an exclamation point on the bout and the day, stopping Scheurich in the final seconds of the bout to take a TKO victory in her tournament opener. Shields will be back in the ring for her second bout of the tournament on Sunday evening against Uzbekistan’s Nafisakhon Askarova.
Competing in a world championship event is nothing new for Junior and Youth World Champion Gonzalez, but she competed in her first elite international bout on Friday in a contest with Azerbaijan’s Ayzanat Hajiyeva. It might have been a new age group but Gonzalez enjoyed the same success she’s had in previous international events. She dominated the first two rounds before stopping Hajiyeva at the 1:43 mark of the third round. Gonzalez will return for her second bout of the tournament on Monday afternoon for a match-up with China’s Wenlu Yang.
Leggett made her world championships debut in the first bout of the day for her United States team with Taipei’s Hsaio-Wen Huang. The California attorney set a winning tone, taking a split decision victory over Huang to move on in the tournament. Leggett will step back in to the ring on Sunday evening in a showdown with Italy’s Alessia Mesiano.
Flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) will both compete in their second bouts of the 2016 World Championships on Saturday at the Barys Arena. Fuchs will face Azerbaijan’s Anna Alimardanova in the 13th bout of the early session at approximately 4:50 p.m. local time (6:50 a.m. ET). Mayer will box in the first match of the evening session in a contest with China’s Junhua Yin at 7 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET).
The competition is being livestreamed on the AIBA website at www.aiba.org. For all of the tournament brackets, competition schedule, bout sheets and current results, go to: www.aiba.org/aiba-womens-world-boxing-championships-astana-2016.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Kazakhstan.
Over 275 boxers from 70 nations are competing in the ninth edition of the Women’s World Championships. The first-ever Women’s World Boxing Championships took place in Scranton, Pa., in 2001 and has grown exponentially since that time. The 2016 event is the second world championships since the Olympic debut of women’s boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games. While only three women’s weight divisions are contested in Olympic competition, all 10 weight classes are showcased in world championships action.
125 lbs/57 kg: Stalacia Leggett, Quartz Hills, Calif./USA dec. Hsaio-Wen Huang, TPE, 2-1
141 lbs/64 kg: Jajaira Gonzalez, Glendora, Calif./USA won on TKO over Ayzanat Hajiyeva, AZE, TKO-3 (1:43)
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Sarah Scheurich, GER, TKO-4