Women’s boxing will be introduced as a sport at the Summer Olympics in London this year, and the United States will have at least one representative.
Marlen Esparza, 22, became the first American female boxer to qualify for the summer games this week, according to the New York Times.
Esparza, who is from Houston, defeated Luu Thi Duyen of Vietnam on Tuesday to earn her Olympic berth, the Times reports.
Two other female boxers from the U.S. – Quanitta Underwood, 28, and Claressa Shields, 17 – were eliminated from the qualifying tournament, the Women’s World Boxing Championships, which are being held in China this week. However, they may still be eligible for a spot in the Summer Olympics, based on the decision of an international commission in the upcoming weeks, according to the Times.
On the men’s boxing side, there are nine American qualifiers.
Women’s boxing will feature three weight divisions in the Olympics: featherweight (112 pounds), lightweight (132 pounds) and middleweight (165 pounds), as opposed to the 10 divisions in men’s boxing. Esparza falls into the featherweight category. The athlete was also named a face of CoverGirl recently, in anticipation of the games.
By Liz Raftery