The stakes could not be higher for the remaining boxers in Rio. Every match on Saturday and Sunday will be for the gold medal. Although a number of gold medals have already been awarded, the gold medals for men’s bantamweight, middleweight, flyweight, light welterweight and super heavyweight are still to be decided. And in the women’s division, the two weight classes of flyweight and middleweight have yet to decide a gold medal victor.
Team USA has presented a much stronger showing this year clinching a total of three Olympic medals. Time will tell if both Shakur Stevenson and Claressa Shields will bring home the gold or silver on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Stevenson faces tough competition in Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist now fighting as a bantamweight with none of the sluggishness that has affected other returning competitors. But Stevenson will be a tough opponent as well, as he has never lost a bout to an international opponent in his amateur career.
Claressa Shields sprang onto the scene in 2012 as the dark horse victor in London. She returns to the Olympics now as the favorite, and her placement in the middleweight final has met many predictions. She’ll be fighting to keep her title won in London four years ago against Nouchka Fontijn (NED), a newcomer to the Olympics, but an experienced amateur in her own right. This will be a rematch from the 2016 World Championships where Shields took home the gold by defeating Fontijn.
Shields will not be the only London champion defending her title, as Nikola Adams of Great Britain has managed to make it to the gold medal match of her division, women’s flyweight. She’ll be facing Sarah Ourahmoune of France for the chance to retain her title as flyweight champion.