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Adams, Taylor and Shields strike Olympic Gold in London
 (with additional reporting from AIBA.org) - August 98, 2012
by Michael O'Neill

A great day’s boxing at the ExCeL Centre here in London’s Docklands brought the historic first edition of women’s boxing in the 30th Olympiad to a close with universal praise from not only the AIBA but also from within the boxing community, from other sports stars, male and female and from the vast majority of the media present.

The first Olympic Gold medals went to GB’s Nikki Adams, Ireland’s Katie Taylor (her 13th consecutive Gold in major championships) and to 17 years old, Flint boxer, Claressa Shields – already well known in the United States but now internationally as well. A great performance from Claressa.

Here is how the aiba.org boxing correspondent saw today’s bouts:

“Tonight Olympic history was re-written at the ExCeL with the first ever Women’s boxing gold medals presented to Nicola Adams of Great Britain, Ireland’s Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields of the United States.

The first of the Women’s Finals, the Flyweights (51kg), saw Great Britain’s Nicola Adams face her nemesis in the last two AIBA World Boxing Championships, the boxer who defeated her both times in the final and the dominant force in this weight category, China’s 26-year-old Cancan Ren.

It began at a frantic pace with Adams seemingly landing the cleaner shots with a couple of big right hands finding their target. It was fast and furious with the Brit taking the first round 4:2. Unrelenting in the second, Adams continued to unload on Ren, and midway through the round, she threw a huge right that floored the Chinese southpaw, with Ren having to take a standing eight count. The partisan crowd were singing in unison, “Nicola, Nicola”, as she stormed into a five point lead after claiming the second 5:2. Ren sprang into action in the third but the British orthodox fighter, clearly buoyed by the support, was counter-punching expertly and scored heavily to win that round by a clear four points. At ease and moving well, the 29-year-old Adams used her jab well to close out the fight and win in style 16:7, becoming in the process the first woman in the history of the Olympic Games to claim a boxing gold medal.

There was a bronze medal for Marlen Esparza from the United States, who had fought valiantly against Ren in the semi-finals but was ultimately defeated by the three-time AIBA World Champion. There was huge cheer for Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, also known as Mery Kom, the diminutive Indian who moved up two weight classes in order to qualify and compete at these Olympic Games, as she also collected her bronze. The 29-year-old from India had shown true grit and determination to defeat bigger and stronger opponents to make it onto the podium.

It was a sea of green at the ExCeL arena, with Irish fans out in force to see Katie Taylor take to the ring against the tough Russian southpaw Sofya Ochigava in the Lightweight (60kg) final. The quadruple AIBA World Champion from Ireland began the contest as the overwhelming favourite and with vociferous support; the pressure on the 26-year-old was huge. It was tentative by both boxers in the early exchanges of the opening round and with the two evenly matched, the points were shared, 2:2. Ochigava was boxing exceptionally well, throwing some good punches on the counter as she edged the second round 2:1. A couple of good right hooks by Taylor saw her regain the initiative and in the third she landed two sublime straight right hands to go two points clear going into the final round. It was a tense finale but Katie Taylor confirmed her legendary status with a hard-fought 10:8 victory as the ExCeL exploded into delirium.

Joining the finalists on the podium to collect their bronze medals, were Tajikistan’s 19-year-old Mavzuna Chorieva, one of the success stories of these Olympic Games and at print the only medallist from her country, and the experienced Brazilian orthodox Adriana Araujo, who had come through two tough contests to make it to the semi-final stages.

American teenage sensation Claressa Shields battled 33-year-old two-time European Champion and 2010 World Champion from Russia, second seed Nadezda Torlpova in the Middleweight (75kg) final. The 17-year-old US star had been in scintillating form coming into this contest and started in confident mood, looking to connect with the jab and that big one-two combination. The experienced Russian’s height however allowed her to thwart Shields’ attacks to land a few good shots of her own as the first round was tied 3:3. The fledgling young talent initially struggled to get on the inside of her opponent but as she slowly wore her down she connected with a series of hard combinations to open a gap of three points after taking the second 7:4. The speed of Shields and her sheer determination saw her land some huge hits with a couple of good overheads landing flush on her rival’s chin as she powered into a five point lead going into the fourth round. The American starlet seemed simply unstoppable as she claimed the gold medal with an impressive 19:12 victory.

Bronze medals in this category went to Maria Volnova of Kazakhstan, who defeated the top seeded favourite Savannah Marshall of Great Britain in the quarter-finals, and China’s 22-year-old Jinzi Li, who had come through two gruelling fights of her own to claim that medal”.

Some after the fight comments from the new Olympic Champions:

Nikki Adams told the BBC :”

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Adams, her gold medal, the size of the Top Rank gong, dangling round her neck. "Maybe once everything settles down, when I'm in bed tonight, I'll be like 'wow, I've actually done it'.

"But I just like being the normal Nikki Adams - walking the dog, doing day-to-day things. It's probably going to change now but I'm going to try to stay like that. I'll probably go to Nando's to celebrate. A few drinks? Why not?"

Katie Taylor : “(via RTE Sports):

“I’ve dreamed of this moment so many times before, I can’t believe it. I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers over the past week.

“I was so nervous, it was the most nervous I’ve been for a fight. I had a knot in my stomach all day. It was hard to relax, I couldn’t even eat all day.

“But when I got in there it was just like any other contest. I always knew it was going to be close, it always is between me and Sofya.

“And congratulations to Sofya for such a great fight as well.”

Claressa Shields: “"I don't even know that this is real right now," Shields said. "I'm surprised I didn't cry. This is something I wanted for a long time."

"I didn't want to underestimate her," Shields said. "But I already knew I was faster than her. I knew she was going to step up. She stepped up a little in the first round. Then I think she felt she was stronger than me and was just going to walk in. So when I showed her I had a little bit of power, she stepped off."

Katie Taylor has been awarded the inaugural “Best Women’s Boxer of the London 2012 Olympic Games trophy by the AIBA.

“It has always been tradition for the best boxer across all of the Men's weight categories to be rewarded for his efforts with a trophy, but with Women making their debut at the Olympic Games this year, it was decided that the same honour should be bestowed upon them.

The choice would be decided by the experts, by the journalists, those who covered every single minute of competition, analysed and dissected every bout to give their expert opinions.

After triumphing in the Lightweight (60kg) final, Ireland's Katie Taylor was the overwhelming choice to take the 'Best Women's Boxer of the London 2012 Olympic Games' trophy. Her technique, her poise and her all-round excellence had the pundits acclaiming her exploits in unison as she took sixty percent of the vote.

The AIBA went on : “A pioneer, 25-year-old Katie Taylor has taking the sport to new heights with her level of skills and dedication to the sport. She is a worthy winner of the first ever women's best boxer trophy. The decision was not decided on sentiment; the experts agreed that her performances at the ExCeL in both the quarters and semi-finals made her the perfect choice to be rewarded with the trophy. The Irish legend was in scintillating form in her previous two bouts, eliminating the rising star from Tajikistan Mavzuna Chorieva in the semi-finals and before that overcoming the tough challenge of Natasha Jonas of Great Britain in arguably the best contest of the whole competition, including the men.

We are proud at AIBA that Katie Taylor has graced the sport of boxing and we sincerely hope that she will be there in Rio 2016 to defend her title and once again showcase women's boxing in all its splendour “.

 

 
 
 
 

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