Women move to centre stage in Olympic boxing debut

The duel between the best amateur male boxers from the United States and their counterparts from bitter enemies Cuba will take a backseat at the Olympics as women's boxing enters the fray for the first time.

Quite what the Marquis of Queensberry would make of it is probably unprintable but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were persuaded by a polished lobbying campaign to allow it.

The men's competition should be the usual high quality event and if a Cuban wins the super-heavyweight gold expect the medal to be dedicated not only to the country but also this time to the late great three-time champion Teofilo Stevenson, who died in June.

The women pugilists are delighted to have got their shot at Olympic gold and have some genuine talent coming through with Indian hopes high that their legend MC Mary Kom will deliver gold in the flyweight category.

However, Kom will want no repeat of the world championships result earlier this year in China as she lost in the quarter-finals to Englishwoman Nicola Adams putting her place in doubt for the Games.

Adams, though, saved her spot by defeating a Russian in the semis - though she was to lose to China's Ren Cancan in the final - and handing Kom a chance to fulfil her dream.

"Nicola has helped me get a chance to go to the Olympics so I will try my very best. It's a dream to go to the Games as they are very special to me and India," said the 29-year-old Kom also known as 'Magnificent Mary'.

"I have fought in the World Championships many times but it's important to go to the Olympics -- it's the highlight of my career," said the diminutive Kom, who has been forced to move up a division in a bid to contest the lightest Olympic category, 51 kilos.

Ireland too will dream of a rare gold with their outstanding lightweight Katie Taylor, the 25-year-old having won her fourth successive world title in China but even for someone as experienced as herself when the reality dawned on her she burst into tears.

"It's a dream come true, I can't believe it really," she said on gaining her Olympic slot after pulling herself together.

"It's years and years of hard work just to get there, now I'm going to be an Olympian. I want to thank everyone for the prayers."

Her father Peter - who is her coach and manager - said it was the fulfillment of a dream that had not always been a smooth one but now sees her needing to win just one bout at the Games to be assured of a medal.

"It's been a hard journey for her, for the two of us to get there. You can't explain, you can't put it into words how it felt."

However, critics are simply not convinced that it will act as a launching pad for the sport in general -- in other words, the oxygen of publicity every four years will not spark a lucrative and popular professional circuit.

One such sceptic is the legendary promoter Bob Arum, who has tried his hand at promoting women's boxing.

"I used to have female bouts on the card, and they weren't greeted by much enthusiasm by the writers. We couldn't sell tickets, because women don't follow women's boxing and men look at it as a diversion."

And Arum doesn't expect Olympic inclusion to change that.

"I really don't think so," he said, noting that since the US "Dream Team" of NBA stars played in the Barcelona Games, the NBA's global popularity is "off the charts" but "the WNBA is struggling."

"Unless the sport is going to be supported by women, it has no chance," he said. "Men usually want to see men compete -- tennis may be an exception."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options