2 new weight classes for women boxers in Tokyo Olympics
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: Uzbekistan heralded its arrival as an Olympic boxing powerhouse by topping the medals table with three golds and seven total. … U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields and British flyweight Nicola Adams became the first two-time gold medalists in women’s boxing. … Bantamweight Robeisy Ramírez also won his second gold, while lightweight Robson Conceição had the tournament’s biggest moment in winning Brazil’s first boxing gold. … Evgeny Tishchenko’s heavyweight gold-medal victory over Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit inspired outrage in a sport with decades of questionable decisions in its history.
WHAT’S NEW: Two additional women’s weight classes have been added, and the total number of women fighters is up to 100 from 36 in Rio. … That addition also meant the subtraction of two men’s weight classes. Instead of five divisions below welterweight, Tokyo will have just three. … The women will fight three three-minute rounds after going for four two-minute rounds in Rio.
TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: The fighters are competing at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, the site of the biggest events in sumo for the past century. … Several professionals are competing in the second Olympics in which they are allowed, including three Americans, but none is an established pro. … Uzbekistan has sent another powerful team led by gold medalist Shakhoibidin Zoirov, who has already turned pro. … Britain, Uzbekistan and the Russian Olympic Team lead the field with 11 fighters apiece. … With five weight classes and a wealth of new talent, boxing could see its first women’s gold medalist from outside North America and Europe.
ATHLETES TO WATCH: Levit is back for another shot at gold. So is Vladimir Nikitin, the Russian scrapper who won bronze in Rio with a decision over an infuriated Michael Conlan, who then beat Nikitin in a pro rematch. … Three-time world champion Lázaro Álvarez of Cuba will try again for his first gold. … Britain is sending twin brothers — lightweight Luke McCormack and welterweight Pat McCormack. … Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias is back for his fourth Olympics in search of his second gold medal. … Hard-hitting middleweight Eumir Marcial, who is signed to Manny Pacquiao’s promotional company and has trained with Freddie Roach, will attempt to win the Philippines’ first gold medal. … U.S. Army staff sergeant Naomi Graham inherits Shields’ mantle as the American middleweight.
GOLD MEDAL MOMENTS: Aug. 3: women’s featherweight and men’s welterweight; Aug. 4: men’s light heavyweight; Aug. 5: men’s featherweight; Aug. 6: men’s heavyweight; Aug. 7: men’s flyweight, men’s middleweight, women’s flyweight, women’s welterweight; Aug. 8: men’s lightweight, men’s super heavyweight, women’s lightweight, women’s middleweight.
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