Women’s boxing made a historic debut at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the sport will make its highly anticipated return to the world’s biggest sporting event next summer in Rio de Janeiro. Twenty-four talented hopefuls will vie for those coveted Olympic berths at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing, October 25-31 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
USA Boxing will team up with Prize Fight Boxing and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau to put on the second edition of the Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing
“We are elated to be partnering once again with USA Boxing and bringing the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing to our hometown of Memphis. We look forward to seeing these world-class athletes compete and their hopes and dreams become a reality on their Road to Rio,” said Russ Young, CFO of Prize Fight Boxing.
The event will mark the first time in United States boxing history that a returning Olympic medalist competes in the Olympic Trials. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) and bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) both qualified their berths in the 2016 Olympic Trials with top finishes at the recent USA Boxing Elite National Championships and they will continue their journey to Rio in Memphis.
“Hosting a USA Olympic event is an enormous milestone for Memphis, and it’s an honor to have the nation’s top boxers compete in our city prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio,” said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “As an organization dedicated to growing the local economy by attracting world-class and youth sports events, hosting an event of this stature continues to raise the profile of Memphis as a sports event destination.”
The region hosted the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing in 2004 with all of the competition taking place in nearby Tunica, Miss. The October event is only the second edition of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing following the inaugural tournament in Spokane, Wash., in 2012. The flyweight (112 lbs), lightweight (132 lbs), and middleweight (165 lbs) divisions will all be contested in the Olympic Trials for Women’s Boxing and Memphis and subsequently in Olympic action.
“Many historic events have taken place in Memphis and we are thrilled to bring a piece of boxing history and our top female athletes to the area,” said USA Boxing Executive Director Mike Martino. “USA Boxing is excited to work the Prize Fight Boxing team and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau to make this a world class event.”
The competition will be a double-elimination tournament with eight women competing in the three weight divisions over the weeklong competition in Memphis. Six women have already clinched their Olympic Trials berths and six more spots in each of the three Olympic weight divisions remain available. The remaining trials berths will be determined by regional qualifiers, which are currently being finalized.
USA Boxing boasts one of the strongest women’s programs in the world with not only two Olympic medalists but also three current or former world champions and four world medalists potentially competing for Olympic berths in Memphis.
The final qualifying tournament for the Olympic Trials for Men’s Boxing will be conducted in conjunction with the women’s event at the Memphis Cook Convention Center as well. With the men’s event being the last opportunity for the male athletes to qualify for their Olympic Trials, the competition will be hotly contested throughout the week. A full competition schedule for the two events will be released upon completion.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).