By Cain Bradley
A division that has previously been dominated by Nicola Adams will crown a new champion this year. There is no former World Champion in this field as the previous two winners of that tournament both miss out. Chol Mi Pang won in 2018 and would have competed but for North Korea skipping the Olympics. Taking her place in Tokyo is Nguyen Thi Tam (Vietnam), a tall southpaw who made the 2019 World Championship quarter finals. She uses her long, wiry limbs and is pretty active in throwing punches. The winner in 2019 was Liliya Aetbaeva who won despite not earning a unanimous decision in any victory. She is not going to Tokyo, instead teammate Svetlana Soluianova (Russia) will compete. She was the European Champion in 2018. Another tall boxer standing 5’8, most of her work is done at range on the back foot. She could only win silver in 2019, losing to one of the potential medal winners Buse Cakioglu (Turkey). Cakioglu won the European Games as well that year and was the silver medal winner at the 2019 World Championship. Boxing out of a southpaw stance she tends to keep her lead hand low and look to counter punch with her fast hands. She won the European qualification tournament, beating Charley Davison (Great Britain). The Mum took a seven year break from boxing before returning and qualifying for the Olympics. Also a southpaw, despite her size she can work on the inside, but does prefer to counter punch.
She was an impressive youth boxer, winning world silver and European gold. Chang Yuan (China) was also a good youth boxer who has translated that quality to the senior scene. She was the Asian Games winner in 2018 and made the quarter finals of the 2019 World Championship. She is a tricky southpaw who picks her punches impressively, especially from range. Another Mother competing here is Christian Ongare (Kenya). She was a mother at only 12 and won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2018. She is short but has a high punch output and good movement whilst working her way in. Perhaps the story of the Olympic Games would be the triumph of Mandy Bujold (Canada). After taking a break during pregnancy and maternity she had not qualified to the Olympics given the change in qualification system. She appealed this decision and it was overturned, allowing her to compete in her second Olympics. Bujold reached the quarter final in 2016 despite illness and is a double Pan-American Games Champion. She mixes fast hands with fast feet, picking her punches well whilst staying defensively responsible. Bujold has already announced plans to retire after this tournament. Ingrit Valencia(Colombia) also competed at the last Olympics, winning bronze. She is 32 and has a wretched record against Bujold, losing four times, but with Bujold out won the 2019 Pan American Games. Also fighting out of a southpaw stance she keeps her lead her low, patiently stalking the opposition.
Another making her second appearance at the Games is Stoyka Krasteva (Bulgaria) formerly Petrova. She lost in the quarter finals in 2012 to Nicola Adams. Another southpaw, she mainly uses triggers and feints to work her way inside. Krasteva is a twice European champion most recently in 2018 and has two World Championship silver medals up at 54kg. The winner in the Bantamweight division in 2019 was Huang Hsiao-wen (Taiwan). Only 23, she is a tall, rangy boxer who looks to beat opponents on the back foot. She has also even boxed up at Featherweight and keeping her weight down at the Flyweight may stretch here. Another boxer who had competed at Bantamweight is Tursunoy Rakhimova (Uzbekistan) however she has been knocked out of the last two World Championships in the round of sixteen. At range, Rakhimova mainly bounces on her feet, left hand low, looking for opportunities to explode into her straight shots. Three boxers have come up from Light Flyweight. Roumaysa Boualam (Algeria) competed in that division until 2018, competing in two World Championships. The most dangerous weapon she has is a slightly overhand right but she also lacks ring generalship and is not the best defensively. Since her move up to Flyweight, she won the African Games in 2019. She did not win the African qualification tournament though, that honour went to Rabab Cheddar (Morocco) who also went to the quarter finals at Light Flyweight in the 2019 World Championships. She is quite good at picking punches, especially when counter punching, but can be beaten to the punch as most of her punches loop rather than going straight.
The most notable name though, arguably in female Olympic boxing is Mary Kom (India). A six time Light Flyweight world champion, she also represented India at the Olympics in 2012 winning bronze. Turning 39 later this year, she is a savvy veteran who uses her experiences in fights behind a wily jab. She also won bronze at the 2019 World Championships, having moved up to Flyweight. At the 2018 World Championship Tsukimi Namiki (Japan) took bronze, before losing in the 2019 quarter finals. She is a southpaw with fast feet who looks to put combinations together, especially on the inside. The other bronze medalist is 2019 was Virginia Fuchs (United States). Another who could provide a good story giving her ongoing battle with OCD, she is a southpaw with good movement. She is experienced, knowing how to control distance and does the fundamentals well. She took a silver medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games. On the way to silver she best Irismar Cardozo (Venezuela), the second time she has overcome ‘the wasp.’ Another southpaw, she marches forward looking to land big punches. A fighter with an even worse record against Fuchs is Graziele Jesus De Sousa (Brazil) who has lost five times to Fuchs. She is a southpaw who is patient, waiting for opportunities to attack. Another bronze medalist at the 2019 Pan-American Games was Miguelina Hernandez (Dominican Republic) who is only 23. Mainly, she looks to fight on the back foot but can get sloppy with her footwork.
Two boxers who have ventured into the professional ring will compete. Jutamas Jitpong (Thailand) has gone 5-2 as a professional. Constantly moving forward, she looks to take it to the opposition. More impressive though, is Nina Radovanovic (Serbia). A record of 14-4 includes three world title defeats, whilst she did hold the IBO Championship. Radovanovic has good hand speed and puts combinations together well. She went out in the qualification tournament to Giordana Sorrentino (Italy). At 21, she is one of the younger competitors in the tournament and stands at 5’0. She draws opponents in and looks to counter once they are within reach. One of her most impressive wins as a senior was victory over Sandra Drabik (Poland). The wily veteran is a four time European medalist and reached the World Championship quarter finals in 2018. She often fights with her hand low, with her experience of these tournaments coming in handy. Omella Havyarimana (Burundi) will become the first ever boxer from Burundi to compete at the Olympics. She has long limbs and good athletic ability but she probably needs more experience at the top level as she is too easily caught by top level boxers. Another first sees Catherine Nanziri (Uganda) as the first Ugandan woman to compete at an Olympics. Only 21, she is another who throws looping punches and mainly tries to lead off. Last but not least is Irish Magno (Philippines), a powerful fighter who looks to swing hooks in.
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