The official 2016 Women’s World Championships tournament draw took place in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday and the 10 American athletes now know the road that will lead them to a world title. Flyweight Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) and lightweight Mikaela Mayer (Los Angeles, Calif.) will be the first American boxers to compete in the event, boxing in tomorrow’s preliminary round action. Reigning Olympic and World Champion Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) is the number one seed in her middleweight division and received a first round bye.
Fuchs will make her world championships debut in a first round match-up with Brazil’s Grazieli Jesus De Sousa in the first American bout of the tournament. The contest will be a rematch from the Americas Qualifier in March, which Fuchs won by unanimous decision. Their bout will be the seventh match in the 2 p.m. session in Ring A and should begin at approximately 5:20 a.m. ET.
Mayer will compete in the final bout of the day in her lightweight match-up with Turkey’s Esra Yildiz. She will compete in the eighth bout of the evening session at approximately 10:35 a.m. ET in Ring A.
Two American boxers will compete in Friday’s afternoon action. Featherweight Stalacia Leggett (Quartz Hill, Calif.) will face off with Taipei’s Hsaio-Wen Huang in her world championships debut before former junior and youth star Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, Calif.) steps in to the ring for her first elite international bout. The junior and youth world champion and Youth Olympic Games gold medalist will battle Azerbaijan’s Ayzanat Hajiyeva in light welterweight preliminary action in Friday’s early session.
Sunday afternoon’s action will feature three American boxers in their opening bouts. Bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.), welterweight Naomi Graham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) all received byes in today’s tournament draw and will wait until Sunday to compete. Cruz will await the winner of the first round bout between Belarus’ Helina Bruyevich and Hungary’s Szabina Szucs. Graham will take on Ukraine’s Mariia Bova Bauldina and Crews will challenge Italy’s Flavia Severina in Sunday’s afternoon session.
Shields will make her long awaited tournament debut in Sunday evening’s competition, challenging the winner of the first round bout between Tajikistan’s Shoira Zulkaynarova and Germany’s Sarah Scheruich in middleweight action.
2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2014 World Champion Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) is the number one seed in her new light flyweight division and received a first round bye. She will compete for the first time on Monday afternoon in a contest with the winner of the opening round match-up between Aziza Abbasova of Azerbaijan and Korea’s Chorong Bok.
Heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) will be the final American boxer to step through the ropes in Kazakhstan as she faces Elena Turcin of Romania in her first-ever world championships bout.
All of the 2016 Women’s World Championships competition will take place at the famous Barys Arena in Kazakhstan’s capital city.
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.
The semifinal and championship round bouts will be live streamed on the AIBA website at www.aiba.org.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) are leading the U.S. team in Kazakhstan. Competition will begin at 2 p.m. (4 a.m.) and 7 p.m. (9 a.m.) local time daily in Astana through the rest day on May 25.
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.