Women’s World Championship Draw Complete, Tourney to Decide Olympic Spots.
The 2012 London Olympic Games will see boxing history made when women take to the ring for the first time ever in Olympic competition. Fans of boxing will be able to see gender equality in the sport on the world’s biggest stage.
The draw for the Women’s World Championships were held in Qinhuangdo, China May 11. The draw comes after some changes were made to the Olympic qualifying process the day before changes the path some boxers will have to take to get to London.
Boxing slots open for the Olympics will now have to come under a continental quota system. The wrinkle means wins at the World Championships are only part of what will be considered. There will still be eight boxers from each weight class who will get berths out of China, but continental numbers will play a part.
Essentially, there are two parts to the Olympic selection, requiring a strong finish in the Worlds but also taking into account the strength of other boxers from the same regions. It can be compared to how team sports like soccer are given Olympic berths.
A clear example of the way the continental changes will impact Olympic hopefuls is seen in three American boxers. Flyweight Marlen Esparza and middleweight Claressa Shields will need to place in the top two in their respective classes from the Americas to earn a ticket to London. Queen Underwood, a lightweight from Seattle, Washington, will have to see the best finish in the Americas to see her way clear to the Games.
There is another aspect to the World Championships beyond Olympic qualification, and that is fights in non-Olympic classes. The United States team has three Olympic hopefuls, and six boxers looking to do their best at the Worlds. A full list of all the brackets can be viewed here.
A total of 343 women boxers from 77 nations are at the Worlds. Host nation China along with Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine have the maximum allowed ten boxers. Canada, France, Kenya, and the United States are sending nine. Other nations with strong representation are Australia and Vietnam with eight, while DPR Korea, Germany, Poland, Serbia, and Venezuela each are sending seven.
The list of countries participating in the Women’s World Championships for the first time is impressive, and even includes Afghanistan.