2023 Women's ChampionshipsBoxing News

Deborah Grant caused the main sensation at the USA Women’s Championships on Day1

by Tibor Kincses

The USA Women’s Championships opened in association with World Boxing in the city of Toledo, Ohio at the Glass City Center. Deborah Grant (Spring Lake, N.C.) caused the main sensation of the first competition day in Toledo, she defeated the former Junior World Champion Lupe Gutierrez (Fountain, Colo.) in an opening matched bout.

A marathon program was on the schedule of the first day with 98 bouts therefore the local organizers used three rings in the opener. Next to the best US female boxers, Canada and Germany also sent athletes to the championships to get one of the 88 titles in Toledo.

There are 12 bantam weight categories from the 29kg division, 11 elite female, 12 intermediate female, 2 intermediate female novice, 12 junior female, 5 junior female novice, 5 masters female, 6 pee wee weight classes, 2 pee wee 8 female for the youngest participants, 11 senior female novice, 8 youth female and 2 youth female novice categories in the event.

Aliah Ortiz is the first winner in the Nationals

Aviana Gillaugh lives and trains in Dubois, Pennsylvania and the 16-year-old southpaw talent had strong expectations in the Women’s Championships. She had a younger opponent from Pasadena, Texas, Aliah Ortiz and their bout opened the entire competition. The Texas-based boxer, who had only 16 bouts before their meeting, gained control in the first seconds and she worked well enough to win the opening round in all of the five judges’ scorecards. The referee counted Gillaugh in the second round and due to Ortiz’s speed, the boxer from Texas won the opening junior bout of the national event.

Madeleine Handfield secured the first Canadian triumph in Toledo

Madeleine Handfield arrived at the US Women’s Championships from Kitchener, Ontario and the 16-year-old Canadian impressed in the opening day of the competition despite her total record of 5 bouts. The Canadian boxer used her longer hands to keep the safest distance against Sofiia Neznaioma and the judges favoured her after two minutes of fight. Neznaioma found her best rhythm only in the third round but it was not enough to turn back their contest therefore Handfield secured a comfortable triumph for Canada.

The 13-year-old Zion Hensley made a brilliant performance on Day 1

The US Boxing National Qualifier winner Zion Hensley is only a 13-year-old talent but she had already 23 contests during her career. She competes at the intermediate age group in Toledo and she could be one of the new stars in the event. She boxed brilliantly in her opener like a youth boxer and used her speed to catch her Canadian rival, Mehreen Khakh in the first round. Hensley had excellent defensive skills as well therefore the Canadian southpaw was unable to land effective shots in their meeting. Hensley, who lives in Ohio, was untouchable for Khakh today and she managed to win their contest by a large margin of difference.

Mila Torres is the new ace at the pee wee category

The pee wee category is the youngest age group in the Women’s Championships, but these 8-year-old girls have strong fighting spirit and technical skills. One of the promising talents of this age group, Mila Torres arrived from Lancester, Pennsylvania and she already had three bouts before this championship. Her rival was Detroit’s Cali Fairchild who made her national debut in this contest which was the first for the girl who was born in 2015. Torres stepped into the best attacking distance effectively in the first round and she also had the strength to catch the newcomer opponent. The referee counted Fairchild during the bout which guaranteed the success for the speedy Torres.

The 9-year-old Eden Williams turned back her contest

Fallsburg’s Jocelyn Zempoaltecatl faced a younger rival, the 9-year-old Eden Williams from Lanham, Maryland in the next excellent contest at the Nationals. Zempoaltecatl opened the first round better and four out of the five judges favoured her after the opener. Williams opened the second round with energetic shots and she tried to increase the rhythm of the bout in that stage. Williams, who has already 15 bouts, came back to the business in time to keep her chance alive to win the contest. Maryland’s young pride accomplished her mission with a massive final round and she was able to turn back the contest.

Heather Cirka kept her opponent on long successfully

California’s Lizbeth Oceguerra and Colorado’s Heather Cirka started the evening session on the first competition day. Cirka, who lives and trains in the small town of Whitewater, had at least 15cm height advantage in their meeting therefore her tactics were to keep the distance on long. The Colorado-based lightweight (60kg) boxer landed her shots from her safest fighting range and she had a massive advantage on the scorecards after two rounds. The 20-year-old Cirka competed in the 2018 editions of the US national events and her experiences paid off in this debuting contest.

Forkins shocked the more experienced Clark

Canada’s Kaitlyn Clark was one of the most experienced boxers in the first competition day as she has 79 bouts in her record book. The 30-year-old boxer claimed a silver medal already at the 2013 Canadian Women’s National Championships and she competed in European tournaments as well. Clark had difficulties in the first round against a boxer from Nashville, Christine Forkins who surprised the Canadian with tough combinations. Forkins enjoyed the speed advantage and despite she had only 16 bouts in the past, she managed to win their contest in the evening session.

Deborah Grant caused the main sensation of the day

Colorado’s Lupe Gutierrez claimed a gold medal at the 2015 Women’s Junior World Boxing Championships, as well as won the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Dec. 2019. She was not in shape in the first round against North Carolina’s Deborah Grant and she received a lot of punches from her rival. Surprisingly Grant had the better shots in the first and second rounds, which meant that she had the strong advantage after six minutes of fight. Grant had 55 contests less than Lupe Gutierrez but she overcame her southpaw rivals in all of the three rounds and caused the main sensation of the day.

De La Garza, Canty and Frazier won their openers

Colorado’s Starr Penrose is a fantastic talent in the youth age group but after her great start, she suffered an unexpected loss in the battle of the 17-year-old boxers to Luisa De La Garza who represents Dallas in the National Championships. In another exciting bout, Ohio’s 31-year-old Ciara Frazier controlled the first round against Pennsylvania’s Trinity Burke and she stepped into the gas in the beginning of the second. Frazier had the smarter boxing today and she won the contest by unanimous decision. The quarter-finalist from the 2022 US Women’s Nationals, Noelle Haro lost to Canada’s Rosalind Canty in the next emotional contest of the evening session.

Greer and Birch were energetic in their bouts

Colorado Springs’ Lisa Greer and Canada’s Stephanie Boyd met in the elite featherweight (57kg) in another narrow contest. Greer’s coach was not sufficiently satisfied with the first round therefore her pupil started the second with energetic shots. Greer caught the Canadian with heavy shots in the third round which was the decisive moment between them. Talia Birch competed in the Brampton Cup and in the Canadian National Games and the 17-year-old talent had the routine to beat Guadelupe Garcia of Illinois.

Follow all the action this week from Toledo by clicking here.

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