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The Three Women’s Boxing U. S. Olympic Trials Champions: Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood, Claressa Shields!

The Three Women’s Boxing U. S. Olympic Trials Champions: Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood, Claressa Shields!

Three Olympic Trials Champions, Marlen Esparza, Claressa Shields, Queen Underwood, Credit: USA Boxing

From the elite list of 24 women’s amateur boxing champions that came to Spokane, Washington to fulfill their Olympic dreams, it is now down to three:  Flyweight Champion, Marlen Esparza, Lightweight Champion, Queen Underwood and Middleweight Champion, Claressa Shields.

In a night of historic significance in the annals of the Olympic Sports movement and importantly, women’s sports these three champions gave everything in pursuit of their goal to represent the United States at the 2012 World Championships — with the hopes of grabbing a berth at the 2012 London Olympic Games this summer.

The non-stop action began with a thrilling battle between flyweights Marlen Esparza and challenger Tyrieshia Douglas.  Both fighters have met twice before in the USA Boxing National Championships finals, but it was Esparza’s night once again as she built up points round after round with her stinging outside/inside game and commanding ring generalship for a final score of 32-17.

Queen Underwood & Mikaela Mayer, 2/18/2012, Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Home town favorite and lighweight Olympic hopeful Queen Underwood, in her second U. S. Olympic Trials bout with challenger Mikaela Mayer fought another tough close bout through four rounds of tactical, smart fighting with her taller opponent. Mayer was able to get within three points of Underwood, but Queen prevailed with a final score of 22-19.

Claressa Shields & Tika Hemingway, 2/18/2012, Credit: James Snook/US Presswire

In the final bout of the evening, 16-year-old middleweight, Claressa Shields, continued her unbeaten record in her bruising battle with Tika Hemingway.  This was also their second meeting in the U. S. Olympic Trials. Shields fought off a constant onslaught from Hemingway which saw her pushed into the ropes, however, through sheer nerve and power she was able to claim victory with a 23-18 decision.  Claressa was also named the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament to round out her evening of triumph.

Even in victory, the three champions must prepare for the road ahead: a tough series of matches at the 2012 Women’s World Championships in China.  The Tournament will begin in early May and only the the top eight in each weight class will qualify for the London Olympics.  According to USA Boxing, “a tripartite commission will select an additional four in each of the three weight divisions that will advance to London.”  

Let us all lend our support to these outstanding women as they work towards achieving their historical goals of being the first representatives of the United States to compete in a women’s boxing event at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Press coverage includes the following:

USA Boxing, Greg Beacham/AP for the Seattle TimesWashington Post, ESPNLos Angeles Times, Flint Journal and Spokesman-Review

In case you missed any of the action, you can watch videos of the historical tournament here.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Boxing Finals Results

112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas dec. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., 32-17

132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., dec. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., 22-19

165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., dec. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa. 23-18

Women’s Boxing Olympic Trials Day Six, 2/18/2012!

Women’s Boxing Olympic Trials Day Six, 2/18/2012!

Tyrieshia Douglas battling Christina Cruz, 2/17/12, Credit: AP

And then there were three!  Challengers that is for tonight’s Championship round in this double elimination tournament.
Last night’s action was all about determination and slogging through the fatigue of what was for some, their fifth bout in as many days!
Flyweight boxer Tyrieshia Douglas faced Christina Cruz for the second time, but was able to edge out Cruz with focus and grit through the first three rounds.  With her laser-like accuracy and a heart that wouldn’t quit Douglas pulled ahead of Cruz in the final round and won with a score of 22-14.  Tyrieshia earned the right to face Marlen Esparza tonight.
Lightweights Mikaela Mayer and N’yteeyah Sherman both fought a confident, highly skilled, technical battle with not dissimilar styles.  N’yteeyah with the height advantage was able to pull head in the opening round, but Mayer was able to fight through to tie and eventually to grab the lead, taking the decision with a score of 26-25.  She will face Queen Underwood for the second time tonight.
For the middleweight contest, Tika Hemingway took control of the bout against Raquel Miller with quicker hands and a savvy ring style that saw her to set the pace.  Tika’s style also meant that she was able to gain a decisive lead from the first round on taking the decision with a final score of 21-6.  Tika will face Claressa Shields tonight in a repeat of their Thursday battle.
A word on double elimination:  Marlen Esparza, Queen Underwood and Claressa Shields will all be fighting as “winners” tonight.  That means if any of them lose the bout tonight, they will have the right to fight their opponents a second time on Sunday as “challengers”.  However, Tyrieshia Douglas, Mikaela Mayer and Tika Hemingway as tonight’s “challengers” must win in order to keep their Olympic dreams alive.

Press coverage includes the following:

USA BoxingAP’s Greg Beacham in the Washington Post, FoxNewsLos Angeles Timesand Spokesman-Review

Tonight’s bouts can be viewed online at the link here.  By the way if you’ve missed any of the action, click on the link to watch previous night’s bouts!

Friday’s Challengers Bracket Finals Results
112 lbs/challengers bracket: Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md., dec. Christina Cruz, 22-14
132 lbs/challengers bracket: Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif., dec. N’yteeyah Sherman, 26-24
165 lbs/challengers bracket: Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa., dec. Raquel Miller, San Francisco, Calif., 21-6
Saturday’s Championship Round Bout Sheet

112 lbs: Marlen Esparza, Houston, Texas vs. Tyrieshia Douglas, Baltimore, Md.
132 lbs: Queen Underwood, Seattle, Wash., vs. Mikaela Mayer, Los Angeles, Calif.
165 lbs: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich., vs. Tika Hemingway, Pittsburgh, Pa.