By Cain Bradley
One of the other big global names and potential stories will be Ramla Ali (Somalia). An incredible story which included her keeping her boxing secret from his Muslim family, has led her to the cover of Vogue and deals with Nike, Pantene and Cartier. She is a patient boxer sticking her lead hand out and keeping it constantly in the opponents face. She looks to attack with fluid combinations. As a professional who has gone 3-0 under the Eddie Hearn banner but has not had a big international amateur win for a while. At the African qualifiers she lost to the aggressive southpaw Khouloud Hlimi (Tunisia) who was the 2019 African Games champion at Lightweight. A scrappy fighter, she looks to constantly come forward and make it a rough fight. The champion at Featherweight and winner of the African qualifiers was Keamogetse Kenosi (Botswana). She had also fought at lightweight, but is unrelenting with a good right hand. At the Commonwealth Games she was stopped by Michaela Walsh (Ireland) who went on to win silver. She has never medalled at the World Championship, losing in the round of sixteen in 2019. Constantly on her toes, she is at her best when at range. Walsh has medalled at the European events but the only gold came in the 2017 EU Championship at Bantamweight. Coming up from Bantamweight is also Lin Yu-Ting (Taiwan). She was the 2018 world champion before going onto take bronze up at Featherweight in 2019. A double Asian champion she uses her height and reach to counter opponents.
Coming from an even lower weight is Stanmira Petrova (Bulgaria). She competed in Rio at Flyweight, where she lost to Nicola Adams having been 2014 Bantamweight world champion. As a youngster she converted from a Taekwondo base and has won European tournaments in both 2016 and 2018. That background is seen in her distance control, with her hands usually down by her side looking for opportunities to counter. She is also a multi time winner of the Strandja tournament, including at the start of this year showing she is in good form. At the 2019 World Championship she went out in the first round. It was to the eventual winner Nancy Petecio (Philippines). Only 5’2 she also has a silver medal from 2014. In-between those two though she has not featured in the medal shake up of most tournaments, even losing in the Asian qualifiers. With her short stature she swings looping shots, behind lots of head movement and a tight guard when attacked. She lost to one of the boxers she beat in the World Championship run. It was Sena Irie (Japan), the bronze medalist at the Youth World Championship in 2018. Another who prefers to be at range, she quick lateral movement to control distance. Before losing to Yu-Ting in the final of the qualifiers she defeated Im Ae-Ji (South Korea). She was the youth world champion in 2017 and is an elusive southpaw who fights in little spurts. The 2019 European youth silver medalist was Nikolina Cacic (Croatia). Only 20, she has a good measure of distance and uses it to control the opposition.
In the European qualifiers she went out to Irma Testa (Italy) who went on to win the tournament winning every bout by unanimous decision. Only 23, she won the 2019 under-22 European tournament. Tall and strong, she sticks a strong lead jab out, mixing it up with strong combinations behind the jab. She can be trapped by moving backwards in straight lines. Testa also competed in the 2016 Olympics, losing to eventual gold medalist Estelle Mossely. She is in great form having also won the Boxam Tournament and the Bocksai Istvan Memorial this season. Jucielen Romeu (Brazil) also has a tournament win this year at the Cologne Boxing World Cup. Romeu keeps tight defensively but is not skilled at opening her opponents up. She also won Pan-American Games silver in 2019. Another medalist at the Pan-American Games was Yeni Arias (Venezuela) who took bronze. Her most notable win came at the 2018 World Championship as she defeated Petecio. Arias is at her best when allows to press forward in a fight with her spearing jab. She went out to Sonia Chahal, who went onto win silver. Not one of the medalist from that Championships will compete. The only other quarter finalist is Skye Nicholson(Australia). She lost to Yu-Ting in 2019 and is the Commonwealth Games champion from 2018. Her story is another inspirational one with the death of her brother being a key moment in her life. She is very difficult to pin down with good movement and sharp counter punching out of her southpaw stance.
Caroline Veyre (Canada) reached the quarter finals in the 2018 World Championship but up at Lightweight. The 32-year-old born in Paris won the 2015 Pan American Games up at Light Welterweight before coming down in weight. Mainly fighting behind the one-two, she can be dragged out of shape. Yamileth Solorzano (El Salvador) has competed in the Pan-American Games but has really struggled when up at this level. She puts her punches together well often finding openings but defensively can be lax. It was 1988, the last time El Salvador had a boxer compete in the Olympics. Marcelat Sakobi Matshu (Congo) will compete in Tokyo having had 2 professional fights, going 1-1 and is nicknamed ‘The Queen.’ A good punch picker at range she can get dragged into a scrap. Liudmilla Vorontsova (Russia) is only 22 but took the 2019 World Championship silver medal. She mainly fights in bursts but often ends up in scrappy fights. Winning bronze at the same tournament was Kariss Artingstall (Great Britain). The army boxer was also the silver medalist at the 2019 European Championships. She is a lanky southpaw who hits hard and uses good lateral movement as her defence. The final European qualifier is Maria Nechita (Romania) who will compete ahead of compatriot Perijoc. She often gets caught on the way in as she can fall in behind her punches.
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