(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – With the Women’s International Clash of Champions between the United States and China just days away, the two squads are training side-by-side in the host venue to prepare for Saturday’s competition. Both teams completed their second day of joint training at the Buckhead Fight Club on Tuesday with the United States leading Monday’s workout and China sharing their training methods on Tuesday in front of fans and media at the event host venue.
The two teams tech sparred with different foes than those they will face in Saturday’s competition, giving all of the participants an up-close look at the two nations’ styles. All of the athletes also got the opportunity to watch both team’s warm-up and cool down methods in addition to their drills on the heavy bags, double end bags and mitts this week.
The United States team includes a mixture of international newcomers and athletes with nearly a decade of boxing experience and all of them benefitted from the joint training sessions. Three Olympic medalists will compete in Saturday’s competition, led by 2012 Olympic champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) in a bout with 2014 World Championships silver medalist Li Qian of China. 2012 Olympic silver medalist Cancan Ren of China and Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) will face off in a rematch of their Olympic semifinal match-up for the first time since London in Saturday’s action. 2012 World Championships medalist Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) will compete in the third Olympic weight division on Saturday, taking on fellow lightweight Junhua Yin of China for the second time in 2015.
Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.) and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) are two of the most experienced female boxers in the nation and the two world medalists will return to a familiar setting in international action on Sunday. Light flyweight Maureeca Lambert (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), featherweight Ashleigh Moore (Buzzards Bay, Mass.), and light welterweight Nakarri Jones (Tampa, Fla.) will all make their international debuts in Saturday’s action while 2013 Youth World Championships bronze medalist Samantha Kinchen (Lexington, Ky.) will compete in elite international competition for the first time.
The full U.S. team participated in a preparatory training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs before traveling to Atlanta on Saturday for the first women’s international event in the United States since the inaugural Women’s World Championships in 2001. As the Olympic Games are just over a year away, the international event will provide a valuable competitive opportunity for the United States’ top women as they gear up for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The United States and Chinese teams will face off in nine bouts of elite women’s boxing competition at noon on Saturday at the Buckhead Fight Club. Tickets for the Women’s Interntional Clash of Champions start at only $20 are on sale now via this link – http://clash.doattend.com.
U.S. Team Quotes
Light flyweight Maureeca Lambert
“I’m very excited for many different reasons but most importantly, I’m excited to represent Team USA in my respective weight class. I learned a lot of different things when I was training at the Olympic Training Center. The coaches worked with me on a lot of the things that I’ve been struggling with and I learned different ways that people train and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Bantamweight Christina Cruz
“Right now, I’m focused on being victorious again against her. Last time I fought her was almost two months ago in Bulgaria and it was a close fight. I know she wants that win back so she’s going to try to get that win back but I’m just focused on making the victory a little more clear this time.”
Lightweight Mikaela Mayer
I’m most focused on staying away from the mistakes I made in my last bout against her. She’s a lefty so it’s a lot of strategic work for a lefty and I’ve been working on it since I lost to her about a month and a half ago so I feel a lot more confident going in to this match with her.”
Welterweight Samantha Kinchen
“This whole experience has been really cool. The most exciting thing for me has been to come in and be a little sister to the older boxers because I’m the youngest on the team. I got to learn a lot from them and see different coaching styles. It’s really helped my repertoire. My opponent is a southpaw so I’m working on how to face a lefty because I haven’t done that in awhile but I’m really confident that we’re all going to do really well.”
Saturday’s Bout Sheet
106 lbs/48 kg: Maureeca Lambert, Glen Ellyn, Ill./USA vs. Xiao Lang, China
112 lbs/51 kg: Marlen Esparza*, Houston, Texas/USA vs. Cancan Ren**, China
119 lbs/54 kg: Christina Cruz, New York, N.Y./USA vs. Liu Piaopino, China
125 lbs/57 kg: Ashleigh Mooore, Buzzards Bay, Mass./USA, vs. Lu Qiong, China
132 lbs/60 kg: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA, vs. Junhua Yin, China
141 lbs/64 kg: Nakarri Jones, Tampa, Fla./USA, vs. Yang Wenlu, China
152 lbs/69 kg: Samantha Kinchen, Lexington, Ky./USA vs. Yang Liu, China
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields***, Flint, Mich./USA vs. Li Qian, China
178 lbs/81 kg: Franchon Crews, Baltimore, Md./USA vs. Yang Xiaoli, China
* 2012 Olympic bronze medalist (flyweight)
** 2012 Olympic silver medalist (flyweight)
*** 2012 Olympic gold medalist (middleweight)
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).