International women’s boxing star’s Katie Taylor (Ireland) and Jennifer Chieng (Federation States of Micronesia) were on hand this past Thursday at the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Awards where the top stars from the 5 Continental Games over the last 14 months were recognized for their outstanding performances in Washington, D.C. (Lightweight) Katie Taylor voted the Best Female at the European Games in Baku and (flyweight) Jennifer Chieng voted the Best Female at the Pacific Games in New Guinea, a direct reflection of the world wide impact women’s boxing has had since AIBA introduced the sport into Olympics competition in London at the 2012 Olympics Games.
The star-studded gala proved to be yet another milestone in the continuing growth of women’s boxing as IOC President Thomas Bach and ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah were among those in attendance. AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu had this to say, “These awards are in recognition of how far women’s boxing has come in the short time since we introduced it to the Olympic program at London 2012. The women’s events have proved to be as competitive as they are impressive and a fantastic addition to the world of boxing, thanks in no small part to these two great athletes that I would like to vividly congratulate for their accomplishments”.
Taylor’s gold in Baku was her 18th major international title, her dominance of women’s boxing since 2005 continuing as she hopes to win a second Olympic gold medal next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chieng made her boxing debut in 2013 and after her Pacific Games campaign she now has her sights set on qualifying for Rio in 2016.
Earlier this month, Katie Taylor voiced her displeasure at the departure of former Irish High Performance Unit head coach Billy Walsh, his resignation a massive blow to the Irish boxing program. Walsh has resigned and is headed to coach the women’s program in the United States. “I’m very saddened by the news”, said Taylor. “I genuinely thought it would be resolved. He was so important to me early in my career. I’m shocked to think he will be in the opposite corner in Rio”.
The Finals are set for the 2016 USA Olympics Team Trials for Women tonight at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. The 3 Olympics weight division winners then look to the World Championships (January 2016) followed by another International qualifying competition (spring of 2016) for selection to boxing competition at the 2016 Olympic Games.
112 lbs. (flyweight) Virginia Fuchs (Kemah, Texas) vs Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas)
132 lbs. (lightweight) Mikaela Mayers (Los Angeles, California) vs Jajaira Gonzalez (Glendora, California)
165 lbs. (middleweight) Claressa Shields (Flint, Michigan) vs Tika Hemingway (Breckenridge, Pennsylvania)