By Jake Donovan
No matter what happens on the men's side, Team USA has been spared the embarrassment of being denied a medal.
Marlen Esparza enjoyed a successful flyweight debut with a 24-16 win over Kahrla Maglioco of Venezuela. The win guarantees the US boxing squad a medal in the flyweight division, meaning that it can do no worse than match the output from the 2008 team.
Esparza received an opening-round bye on Sunday, but looked ready to go from the moment she came out of the tunnel and entered the ring.
Maglioco advanced from Sunday's competition with an upset of Brazil's Erica Matos, but saw no chance of history repeating itself on Monday. The Venezuelan boxer was game, but struggled to keep pace as Esparza picked her apart from the outside.
The American's lead continued to grow with each passing round as Esparza left no doubt. At no point was she encouraged to sit on her lead, as he coaches continued to remind her of what she needed to correct rather than praise what was working. Esparza proved to be an A-student, following instructions to the letter and cruising to the medal round.
Her achievement came one bout after the flyweight division granted its first semifinalist. With that came her opponent for Wednesday's competition, as three-time World Amateur champion Ren Cancan of China advanced with a 12-7 win over Elena Savelyeva of Russia.
Cancan is the division's top seed and odds-on favorite to win the Gold in the flyweight division. She received an opening round bye, but there was no major layoff considering the frequency with which the females have to fight.
Therefore, there was no hope of ring rust as Savelyeva struggled to keep pace after an evenly-fought first round. Cancan took charge in the second and never looked back. She is now guaranteed at least a bronze, with her eye obviously on the top prize.
Mary Kom soundly outpointed Tunisia's Maroua Rahouli by a score of 15-6 to guarantee India's frustrated squad its first boxing medal.
It hasn't been an easy go for Team India, who saw one win reversed and also land on the wrong end of at least two horrible decisions. Kom left no room for doubt in her performance, however, dominating Rahouli from the opening bell.
Kom's medal round appearance comes with revenge in mind, as she hopes to avenge a loss to Great Britain's Nicola Adams earlier this year in the World Amateur Boxing Championships quarterfinals. The rematch is set after Adams defeated Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria by a score of 16-7 in the final bout of the day.
The women's semi-finals take place on Wednesday, August 8. The winners go on to compete for flyweight gold on Friday.
Flyweight Quarterfinals (Monday, August 6):
Ren Cancan (China) vs. Elena Savelyeva (Russia), 12-7
Marlen Esparza (USA) vs. Karlha Maglioco (Venezuela), 24-16
Chungneijang Mary Kom (India) def. Maroua Rahouli (Tunisia), 15-6
Nicola Adams (Great Britain) vs. Stoyka Petrova (Bulgaria), 16-7
Flyweight Semifinals (Medal Round - Wedneday, August 8):
Ren Cancan (China) vs. Marlen Esparza (USA)
Chungneijang Mary Kom (India) vs. Nicola Adams (Great Britain)
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
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: