Commonwealth Games To Involve Women Fighters
Women's boxing took another significant step towards full international recognition this week when it was announced that the sport will feature for the first time in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
As at London 2012, where the inauguration of the women's programme could be considered a spectacular success, female fighters will - for the time being at least - have to settle for three weight categories.
Ching-kuo Wu, president of the sport's governing body AIBA, was credited with championing the inclusion of women's boxing at the Olympics, and is confident the number of women's weight categories will be more than doubled for Rio 2016.
For Glasgow, however, three weight categories are probably for the best, with the majority of Commonwealth nations still coming to terms with the repercussions of a women's sport that now deserves to be fully funded and integrated within existing systems.
Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams and bronze medallist Mary Kom are the only current women's fighters eligible for the Commonwealth Games who are ranked inside the top 20 in the latest AIBA world rankings.
Three Commonwealth fighters - including Liverpool's Natasha Jonas - are ranked in the top 20 at lightweight, while the middleweight division is more competitive, with the likes of world champion Savannah Marshall and Canada's former world number one Mary Spencer.
The nature of the Commonwealth Games means that those numbers will be supplemented by the likes of a strong Welsh team, for whom Lynsey Holdaway, Lauren Price and Becky Price will all have medal hopes provided they can fit into the right weight division.
Arguably the biggest draw of all, Ireland's Katie Taylor, will be missing, but besides the Britons, some of the other headline acts from London will be present in Glasgow.
The tiny, ferocious Kom was a revelation on her march to a flyweight bronze medal, while Nigeria's Edith Ogoke, who claimed to have been inspired by Joe Frazier, brought the house down in her first round middleweight victory over Elena Vystropova.
Adams, already back in training and focusing on retaining her Olympic title in Rio in four years' time, is relishing her chance in Glasgow.
Shesaid: "This is fantastic news for the sport and great for women competitors as it enables us to take part in another high-profile multi-sport event as well as the Olympics.
"I am already focused on Rio 2016 but having this as an extra competition between now and then is brilliant for the sport and provides me with even more motivation to work hard in the gym and make sure I keep improving."
Great Britain's boxing success at London 2012 was a big bonus for performance director Rob McCracken, who sees Glasgow as another opportunity for the nation's elite athletes to step up and test themselves on the world stage.
"The female boxers in our squad have had a lot of success at major tournaments over the last three years so it is great that they will now get the opportunity to also compete in the Commonwealth Games," said McCracken.
"They are elite athletes that absolutely deserve this opportunity."