Marlen Esparza Named First U.S. Female Olympic Boxer
Women's competitive boxing is set to make its debut at this year’s Summer Olympic games in London, and Texas native, Marlen Esparza, 22, was the first female added to the precedent setting list, according to the NY Times.
Featherweight Marlen Esparza defeated Luu Thi Duyen of Vietnam on Tuesday at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship in China to secure her berth.
The 2012 Olympic female boxing competition will feature three weight classes, featherweight (112 pounds), lightweight (132 pounds), and middleweight (165 pounds).
Esparza won her sixth consecutive USA boxing title last year to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team trials.
Currently, there are two other female boxers from the U.S., Washington born Quanitta Underwood, 28, and Michigan native Claressa Shields, 17, who are still eligible to represent the U.S. However, because the pair lost their most recent bouts, the decision on whether they are named to the team is solely based on the upcoming ruling of an international boxing commission.
In addition to being a fierce international competitor, according to the NY Times, Underwood, a five time national champion in the lightweight division, is also an outspoken advocate for survivors of horrific childhood abuse.
Middleweight Shields, recently made headlines as the youngest boxer at the first-ever female Olympic trials and held an undefeated record in competition with 25 victories.