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Marlen Esparza Becomes USA’s First Woman Olympic Boxer

The U.S. has its first ever woman Olympic boxer: 22-year-old flyweight Marlen Esparza.

Esparza nabbed her spot at the London games this summer by beating Vietnamese rival Luu Thi Duyen on Tuesday at the Women’s World Championships in Qinguangdao, China.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza clinched a 28-13 decision in the three-round bout, according to The Associated Press.

This year marks the debut of women’s boxing at the Olympics, and so far there are only three weight classes in which women can compete.

Of the 36 women who can qualify for the Olympics, 24 will be determined at the ongoing championships in Qinguangdao. The other 12 will be selected by an international commission, The New York Times reported.

That commission could give another two U.S. women who lost their bouts at the championships this week another chance to qualify.

One of those is the well-known 28-year-old lightweight Quanitta Underwood, nicknamed Queen, who overcame years of abuse by her father to become one of the top amateur boxers in the U.S. She llost a 26-25 decision to Norwegian Ingrid Egner on Tuesday.

Another of those is 17-year-old middleweight Claressa Shields, who emerged suddenly at the Olympic trials this year and was undefeated until she lost a bout Monday 14-8 to Savannah Marshall of England.

Source: Sam Schultz, NBC Connecticut

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