By Jake Donovan
Sunday afternoon will prove to be history in the making for the 2012 London Games, as women’s boxing makes its long awaited debut as an official Olympic Sport.
The entire afternoon session (1:30PM local time/7:30AM ET) is dedicated to the ladies, with the men’s regionals not taking place until later this evening. The only difference (aside from gender) is in length of bout - the female side fights four two-minute rounds, as opposed to the three three-minute round format.
Stoyka Petrova kept alive Bulgaria's perfect run in 2012 competition thus far, scoring a 23-11 rout over New Zealanda's Sion Fernandes.
Petrova dominated every round, standing her ground and letting her hands go while Fernandes employed a stick-and-move approach. Boxing didn't get the job done in this one, as Petrova piled up points from the opening bell.
A final round standing eight-count served as the cherry on top as Petrova moves on to the Elite Eight. Awaiting her is Nicola Adams of Great Britain, who was given a first-round bye.
Chungneijang Mary Kom of India is among the most accomplished of the 36 female fighters appearing in Olympic competition. The five-time world amateur champion is now a quarterfinalist in this year's Games after grinding out a 19-14 win over Karolina Michalczuk of Poland.
Kom managed superior work on the inside, though Michalczuk made it easy for her by not putting her own height and reach advantages to use. Kom turned a close fight into a sure thing with a big third round and then holding the line in the fourth and final round to advance.
Kom is the only fighter in history to have won a medal in each of the six World Championships. The 29-year old now moves within one fight of securing a medal in the 2012 London Games, as she next faces Maroua Rahouli of Tunisia, who received an opening round bye.
Marlen Esparza of the United States was given an opening round bye. Awaiting the Houston-based flyweight in the Elite Eight is Kahrla Maglioco of Venezuela, who took a 15-14 decision over Erica Matos of Brazil in a fight laced with controversy.
Matos appeared to get the better of the two for much of the four-round affair. However, a questionable foul in round three saw two points added to Maglioco's total, proving to be the difference on the scorecards.
The ribbon-cutting moment began with Elena Savelyeva of Russia taking a 12-9 win over familiar foe Hye-Song Kim of North Korea. Savelyeva was steady in her offensive output, though there wasn't a lof of offense to speak of as both fighters frequently clinched.
With the win, Savelyeva advances to the quarterfinals, continuing Russia's dominance in 2012 Olympic boxing competition. This bout repeated what took place when the two first met in the 2010 World Amateur Championships competition.
Savelyeva has a stiff challenge ahead of her as she next faces three-time world amateur champion Ren Cancan of China, who received a bye.
Round of 16 Matchups (Sunday, August 5):
Elena Savelyeva (Russia) def. Hye-Song Kim (North Korea), 12-9
Karlha Magliocco (Venezuela) def. Erica Matos (Brazil), 15-14
Chungneijang Mary Kom (India) def. Karolina Michalczuk (Poland), 19-14
Stoyka Petrova (Bulgaria) def. Sion Fernandes (New Zealand), 23-11
Flyweight Quarterfinals (Monday, August 6):
Ren Cancan (China) vs. Elena Savelyeva (Russia)
Marlen Esparza (USA) vs. Karlha Maglioco (Venezuela)
Maroua Rahouli (Tunisia) vs. Chungneijang Mary Kom (India)
Nicola Adams (Great Britain) vs. Stoyka Petrova (Bulgaria)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: