The ‘wildcard’ is the ‘life-line’ to the Olympics for at least 50 women boxers around the world in the three Olympic divisions of 51, 60 and 75 kilograms. These boxers are waiting patiently to know their future, after they failed to conquer their Olympic spot in competition during the World’s Championship in China last May.
Today a tripartite commission is deciding who from that large number are going to have the 11 spots available. Results are going to be posted in the AIBA web page in few hours. The Americas will have one ‘wildcard’ spot in each category.
The American continent has various well-ranked boxers who are waiting their fate in the call. ‘Wildcards’ are simply the quotas AIBA and the Olympic Committee decided to give to a non-partisan commission to allocate spots to underrepresented countries to the Olympic games. These spots has been given for long time at the Games, but the ‘wildcard’ for Women Boxing has a very special meaning this year.
As Women’s Boxing make its debut at the most important games in the world, the sport is going to be in the lenses of everyone, and because of that, AIBA and boxers like Katie Taylor, Savannah Marshal and others, believe the best boxers of the world need to be present at the Olympics.
In the Americas, there are two special boxers whose performance, fate or luck didn’t allow them get their ticket to London straight from the World Championships. They are three-time world champion from Canada in the 75 kg, Mary Spencer, ranked 4th in the world, and Queen Underwood of US, bronze medalist and ranked 10th in the world in the 60 kg.
No matter that the criteria of giving the ‘wildcard’ to underrepresented countries is a priority, these two boxers are waiting for their spots based in the other two criteria, and they are, safety in the sport and previous history.
Other boxers from the Americas waiting for their fate are in the 51 kg., Mandy Bujold, of Canada, Paola Benevidez of Argentina, Erica Matos from Brazil and Ingrid Valencia from Colombia. Bujold is currently ranked 19th in the world, Benevidez 14th, and Matos 22nd. A silver medalist in the Pan American games, Valencia isn’t rank in the first 45 places, but her outstanding performance in the Pan American games, underrepresentation and safety, could give her an opportunity.
Other boxers in the 51 kg division that could be taken into consideration are Tiffany Perez, of Puerto Rico, ranked 28th, Araceli Nava, of Mexico, ranked 30th, and Pamela Benavidez, of Argentina, ranked 33rd.
In the 60 kg division, USA’s Queen Underwood is the boxer everyone is pronouncing as the only one who may get a “wildcard” spot. She is ranked 10th, has been a favorite in that category and each time she jumps in the ring the crowds go wild. But, there are others in the American continent whose latest performances and underrepresentation can get in the way of Underwood. They are teen Dayana Sánchez of Angentina, ranked 14th and Pan American champion, and Kiria Tapia, of Puerto Rico, ranked 16th.
Other 60 kg boxers who could be praying for the ‘wildcard’ are: Sandra Bizier, of Canada, ranked 22nd, and Celeste Peralta, of Argentina, ranked 27th.
And in the 75 kg, the two other boxers who will be expecting to get the spot and who are competing with Spencer, are Yenebier Guillen, of the Dominican Republic, ranked 21st, and Alma Ibarra, of Mexico, ranked 29th.