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."

Loading...

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.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington will never be deterred by "acts of violence" as the ambassador was rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. In a brief …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options