The 2016 Women’s World Boxing Championships began with preliminary round bouts in the three Olympic weight divisions on Thursday. Flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) both earned first round victories on the opening day of competition. Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) had a first round bye but she will kick off competition on Friday evening in a first round match-up with Germany’s Sarah Scheurich.
Fuchs made her world championships debut against a familiar foe in Team USA’s first bout of the competition. She faced off with Brazil’s Grazieli Jesus De Sousa on Thursday afternoon in a rematch from Fuchs’ last bout at the Americas Olympic qualifier in Argentina in March. Fuchs duplicated her strong performance from their previous bout, sweeping all four rounds on the judges’ scorecards. She will return to action on Saturday afternoon in a second round contest with Azerbaijan’s Anna Alimardanova.
2016 Olympian Mayer took the ring in Thursday evening’s competition for her opening round bout with Turkey’s Esra Yildiz. Mayer closed the bout in strong fashion, winning the fourth round to take a unanimous decision victory over Yildiz. She will compete in second round action on Saturday evening against China’s Junhua Yin.
Three American boxers will step in to the ring for preliminary contests on Friday at the Barys Arena. Featherweight Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.) will compete in the first American bout on Friday at approximately 3:20 p.m. local time (5:20 a.m. ET) in a match-up with Taipei’s Hsaio-Wen Huang. Light welterweight Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) will compete in afternoon competition tomorrow as well, facing off with Azerbaijan’s Ayzanat Hajiyeva in bout 12 of the day’s action at approximately 4:35 p.m. local time (6:35 a.m. ET).
Shields will be the lone U.S. competitor in Friday’s evening action, boxing in the third bout of the late session at approximately 7:20 p.m. local time (9:20 a.m. ET).
Sunday afternoon’s action will feature three American boxers in their opening bouts.
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.
112 lbs/51 kg: Virginia Fuchs, Kemah, Texas/USA dec. Grazieli Jesus De Sousa, BRA, 3-0
132 lbs/60 kg: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif./USA dec. Esra Yildiz, TUR, 3-0