After almost a month of agony, three boxers from the Americas finally know their fate about their dream, to make history in the Olympic Games in London.
The Tripartite Commission finally selected the boxers; 51 Kg Erica Mattos, from Brazil, 60 Kg Queen Underwood, from the USA, and 75 Kg. Mary Spencer, from Canada. The selection criteria isn’t clear at this time, but in a press conference during the World’s in China, AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, said that the three most important criteria in the selection were going to be safety, performance and underrepresentation.
With the three boxer selected, it seems that the two of the first criteria were the ones with more importance, because USA and Brazil already had two boxers in the Olympics, only Canada didn’t have any.
But as I said in my last post, this year’s boxers selection for the Olympics was very strategic because it is the first time that the female warriors are going to be in the Games, and it was very important that the boxers were perhaps the strongest in their division within their continent.
29 year-old Erika Mattos, from Salvador Bahia, said the news came as a surprise because she knew that it was a really though decision having various competitors, all very strong, but she is really happy with the outcome.
“Don’t have words to express my happiness at this moment, I had faith but I was prepared for anything. Thanks to God I got the spot,” said Mattos in a phone interview from Brazil. Yesterday afternoon she went to visit the Governor of her province and after a day of rest, was enjoying the news that she was going to reunite with the rest of the team.
Unfortunately, as these three boxers are celebrating, more than a dozen are unhappy with the decision, and all of us feel for them. It was one of those sweet-sour days where the best dessert doesn’t taste the same.
From Canada and her hometown gym Windsor Amateur Boxing, the three-time world champion, 28 year-old Mary Spencer, spoke with me via Skype and said she never stopped her training and went on with her boxing life waiting for the decision.
“I had no idea what the outcome would be and it was out of my hands, the only thing I had in my hands was to keep training,” said Spencer who will be the only Canadian female going to London.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the selection of the USA boxer Queen Underwood. No matter that she had faith, and everybody, not only in her country, but in Europe, specially her best opponent in history and best boxer of the world, Katie Taylor, was cheering for her.
The prognostics weren’t in her favor, because two USA boxers were already in and unfortunately she performed very poorly during the Pan American qualifiers, Pan American games and Continental games. She had two very good bouts in the worlds where she won, and a third where she lost control and ended loosing by a point.
But without a doubt Queen Underwood deserves to be in London because she has shown to the world, in many occasions, that she is a powerful, skilled and a great technical boxer.
“I now have the chance to write my own story and my winning the gold medal is now going to be the headline. That’s what I owe to everybody and to myself.” Said 28 year-old Seattle based Queen of the Ring.
This is the complete list of the boxers from the Americas who will go to the Olympics:
51 Kg Erica Mattos, Brazil (Tripartite)
51 Kg Marlen Esparza, USA
51 Kg Karlha Maggliocco, Venezuela
60 Kg Queen Underwood, USA (Tripartite)
60 Kg Adriana Araujo, Brazil
75 Kg. Mary Spencer, Canada (Tripartite)
75 Kg. Claressa Shields, USA
75 Kg. Roseli Feitosa, Brazil