IBA / Astana 2016

First of the Women’s World Championship medalists confirmed in Astana as Tuesday’s afternoon session unveils final four in seven weight classes

May 24th, 2016 / IBA, Astana 2016

Reigning flyweight (51 kg) World Champion Marlen Esparza continued her sparkling form at light flyweight (45-48 kg) with a crucial win against tricky Mongolian Altantsetseg Lutsaikhan, and faces China’s Yuyan Wang in Thursday’s first semi-final. North Korean Yong Gum U faces Kazakhstan Nazym Kyzaibay after she beat Indian second seed Sarjubala Shamjetsabam in what was a repeat of the 2014 final in South Korea.

Bulgarian bantamweight (54 kg) sensation Stoyka Petrova once again looked strong as she edged a split decision against Russian top seed Saiana Sagateva, setting up a semi-final tie against Christina Cruz, winner of an enthralling encounter with Delphine Mancini of France. Home boxer Dina Zholaman will meet China’s Piaopiao Liu in the second bantamweight semi-final.

The Bulgarian team continued its winning ways at featherweight (57 kg) as Denitsa Eliseeva set up a semi-final contest with Italy’s last competitor, top seed Alessia Mesiano, thanks to a consummate display against Azerbaijan’s Mahsati Hamzayeva. In the second semi, Kazakhstan’s Aizhan Khojabekova will meet India’s Sonia Lather after she overcame China’s Meiling Gao.

At light welterweight (64 kg), Kellie Harrington got off to a flying start against Zarina Tsoloyeva and hammered home the advantage to earn a unanimous win that guaranteed at least bronze, only the second Irishwoman to claim a World Championship medal after Katie Taylor. “I am thrilled with the win. I am just so happy, I’ve been boxing for 10 years and now my time has finally come. It’s unbelievable to be through to the semi-finals of the World Championships. I have another big test tomorrow and all my focus is on that now,” said a thrilled Kellie Harrington after her bout. In the second half of the draw, China’s Wenlu Yang overcame Britain’s Sandy Ryan and will meet Australian Skye Nicolson, comprehensive winner against Turkey’s Gamze Basar.

A second-round TKO win for the host nation’s Valentina Khalzova saw her safely through to the welterweight (69 kg) semi-finals where she will be feeling fresh against Germany’s impressive Nadine Apetz, winner against American Naomi Graham. Finland newcomer Elina Gustafsson maintained her impressive form in Astana by defeating the Russian top seed Saadat Abdulaeva, and will again need all her wiles if she is to overcome China’s Hong Gu.

China’s defending light heavyweight (81 kg) champion Xiaoli Yang put in a commanding performance against Russia’s tough Liubov Pashina, but her next opponent Franchon Crews looked unstoppable against Hungarian legend Maria Kovacs, powering her way into the semi-final with some big hitting before paying respect to her opponent. Two-time champion Kovacs has appeared at every edition of the Women’s World Championships, and will be fondly remembered for some superb performances over the years.

Wrapping up the afternoon session, US heavyweight (81+ kg) Shadasia Green steeled herself to defeat top-seeded Russian Zenfira Magomedalieva and will meet Sennur Demir of Turkey in Thursday evening’s first heavyweight Semi-Final. Kazakhstan’s Lazzat Kungeibayeva faces China’s Shijn Wang after the home favourite comfortably beat India’s Seema Poonia.