Cancan Continues in the Land of the Limbo


Ren Cancan (CHN)

The fourth day of the AIBA Women's World Championships saw action in the flyweight, featherweight and light heavyweight divisions at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Bridgetown, Barbados. In the flyweight division, China's Ren Cancan made it through to the final 16 to keep her hopes for a second world title alive.

Due to boxers changing weight category ahead of the all-important London 2012 Olympic Games, where women's boxing will feature for the first time ever, there were two reigning World Champions competing in the 51kg division. While China's Ren made light work of Sri Lanka's Nilmini Jayasinghe, with a knock-down in the third round helping her to an 11:3 victory, North Korea's Kim Hyang Ok was upset by Marlen Esparza of the USA. This is the third World Championships for the 21-year-old from Houston, Texas (she took bronze in New Delhi in 2006 but was eliminated in the preliminaries in Ningbo 2008) but this time she approached things differently.

"A lot of times my nerves failed me. But this time I said just forget it, what's going to happen, is she just going to become World Champion again? So I just went for it and boxed like I usually box. Sometimes when I come to internationals I don't box the same. But this time I stuck with it and did what I was supposed to do two years ago."

Turkey's Sumeyra Yazici surprised India's Laishram Devi with a 12:8 victory and will face the formidable Ren in the next round. England's Nicola Adams, silver medalist at Ningbo in 2008, also remains in contention after beating Marielle Hansen from Norway.

Guatemala's Rosa Garcia Giron was the second training camp graduate to miss out on a place in the next round by the most slender of margins. Her bout finished with the scores tied at 8:8 but her opponent, Olga Hadji from Moldova, edged it on the individual scores. The East European contest between Lidia Ion of Romania and Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria also ended in a draw, with Petrova winning out.

There was plenty of crowd-pleasing action in the featherweight contests. Turkey's Nagehan Gul easily dismiised Jamila Jones of Trinidad and Tobago, inflicting two standing eight counts on her Caribbean opponent in the first and final rounds. A penalty in the second round added to Jones's woes and the final score stood at 18:3 in the Turk's favor.

Local hero Gheta Narine entered the arena to a rapturous welcome but approached her bout against North Korea's Yun Kum Ju too impetuously. The Bajan took two mandatory counts in the first round, was then warned for hitting Yun in the back of the head. A repeat of the same offence in the second round was too much for the referee, who disqualified Narine in the second round.

Wales's Ashley Brace kept up the excitement with a comprehensive victory over Guyana's Vanessa Robinson. Her bout was adjudicated RSCH in the second round when Brace was leading 20:1.

Far from celebrating her victory, Brace was already analyzing the bout with her coach as soon as she stepped out of the ring. "I was throwing the left hooks to the body but couldn't come back with the rights because I was too close," she said. "This was probably down to nerves."

Triple PanAmerican Champion Taynna Cardoso from Brazil eased through to the final 16 on the back of a 9:5 victory over Natalia Biriuk of the Ukraine. She will meet Sweden's Helena Falk in the next round. The 31-year-old Swede is among the older participants in the competition and already has a career spanning 16 years, although a World Championship podium finish has so far eluded her. Today she beat Jody-Ann Weller of the USA 14:3 to make the final 16.

"I'm always nervous for the first bout," she said. "We got warned because we were too loud, but that's how to hit harder. You have to make some noise. I didn't know anything about her [Weller] so I am just happy to win my fight."

Little-known Marina Volnova achieved the exploit of the day by outclassing Canada's Melinda Watpool 12:9 in her opening bout of the light heavyweight division. The upsets continued as strong favorite Maria Yavorskaya was eliminated by Turkey's Selma Yagci 11:8. In the quarter-final on Wednesday, Yagci will meet Roseli Feitosa after the Brazilian beat Kenya's Muhatia Mediatri comprehensively by 22:2.

To conclude the succession of routs in the light heavyweight contests, Timea Nagy of Hungary hammered Tyler Lord-Wilder of the USA 15:3 to advance to the quarter-final, where she will face reigning European Youth Champion Lidia Fidura from Poland, who beat the Ukraine's Inna Shevchenko 9:6.