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The US Women’s Olympic Boxing Trials Full of Drama and Heartbreak

The US Women’s Olympic Boxing Trials Full of Drama and Heartbreak

The toughest ladies of the US female boxing circuit are taking to the ring this week as the first ever women’s Olympic trials got underway at the Northern Quest Resort Casino in Spokane, Washington.

The toughest ladies of the US female boxing circuit are taking to the ring this week as the first ever women’s Olympic trials got underway at the Northern Quest Resort Casino in Spokane, Washington.

The fighters have a long road ahead of them in their quest for Olympic glory; the week long, double-elimination tourney features eight fighters in each of the three weight classes (flyweight, lightweight and middleweight). The top three winners will then have to compete and finish in the top eight at the world championships May 9-20 in Qinhuangdao, China to qualify.

And the most dramatic story of the tourney is that of lightweight Patricia Manuel. The California native has battled injury after injury, but what she lacks in health she makes up for in determination.

Manuel valiantly entered the ring on Monday night with an injured right shoulder, but her will to win was not enough, she lost her first round bout to Florida’s Tiara Brown by an 18-13 decision.

Sadly, as it turns out, she didn’t just lose the bout, she lost her chance to represent the US at the Olympics in London this summer. According to the LA Times, the pain was just too much to bear, so she and trainer Robert Luna decided on Tuesday to withdraw from the tourney rather than risk further injury. Addressing the decision, Manuel wrote in a text, "I'm sorry my story ends like this."

Along with Brown, some of the other fighters advancing through to the winners bracket include hometown favorite and top ranked lightweight, Queen Underwood, six-time flyweight national champion Marlen Esparza and teenage middleweight Claressa Shields, who upset top-ranked Franchon Crews on day one.

Boxing matches are set to continue February 15-18, with the championship bout for each division scheduled for Saturday, February 18.

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Leslie Dobbins