Monday, April 22, 2024

Chinese connection


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THE WORLD’S new superpower?
China might have to settle for that after missing a chance to cement themselves as boxing’s newest heavyweights.
Ren Cancan treated her new weight category like she did the last, winning yet another world title although her counterparts failed to follow suit during yesterday’s final bouts of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships at the Wildey Gym.
It might be a new division, but there was nothing novel about Cancan podium finish, which came following a 10-5 points victory over Britian’s Nicola Adams in the first ever title fight of the 51 kg weight division.
But neither fellow world queen Li Jinzi, Dong Cheng nor Yang Yanzi could come close to replicating that success, all having to settle for silver in the respective 75, 60 and 57 kg categories.
Yanzi probably fared the best of the three, going toe to toe with Yun Kun Ju over the first two rounds before finally succumbing to the North Korean title holder 4-7 on points.
The others weren’t as lucky though, especially Cheng, who felt the wrath of Katie Taylor’s lightning hooks during a lopsided 18-5 decision.
Having survived last Saturday’s memorable thriller, the Irish lightweight legend didn’t repeat the mistake of getting into another slugfest, clinically putting away Cheng by the end of the second round to grab her third world title.
And unlike Queen Underwood before her, Cheng was unable to overcome a 10-2 deficit, only falling further behind when Taylor followed every left hook with a faster and more telling right.
The result was a punishing one-two combination in the fourth round that the hundred strong Irish supporters greeted with chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole” before watching the living legend receive another award for the tournament’s best boxer.
“I have to thank these supporters for spurring me on during the championships because it’s been the best two weeks ever,” expressed Taylor in front of the raucous Irish fans.
But if Taylor’s exploits are legendary, then Mary Kom’s dominance of the 48 kg has become almost surreal, as the Indian great took her fifth successive world title via a clinical 16-6 points decision over Romania’s Steluta Duta.
The sport’s most decorated athlete provided a thing of beauty after dominating the last three rounds to near perfection despite falling behind early.
That 4-3 first round deficit proved a mere blemish once Kom started to work her potent right hook, clearly overwhelming an overmatched Duta when she doubled with the southpaw.
Russian Elena Savelyeva consolidated last Saturday’s stunning semi-final upset of then bantamweight queen Karolina Michalczuk of Poland, by going one step further to capture gold in a 7-3 victory against North Korean Kim Hye Song.
Similar to the semi, Savelyeva’s aggressive style paid dividends in the early goings, giving the upstart Russian an unassailable 5-2 cushion by the end of the second round.
Canadian Mary Spencer put an emphatic display to end to Jinzi’s two-year unbeaten streak by thumping the 20 year-old Oriental 14-2 in the middleweight category, after America’s Andrecia Wasson survived Savannah Marshall of Britain 5-4 in the 69 kg class.
Kateryna Kuzhel punctuated Russia’s performance as the team of the tournament, when she forced Ukraine Nadezhda Torlopova in the second round of their 81 kg title fight, but compatriot Vera Slugina failed to impress in a 12-1 walloping to defending light-welterweight title holder Gulsum Tatar of Turkey.
Brazilian Roseli Feitosa, who sports a mouth piece branded “Jesus”, had a similarly easy 12-3 points victory over Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan before pulling out a pink Bible to celebrate her light heavyweight title.

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