With the 2012 London Olympics set to begin, it's time to take a look at each boxing division to see who is the man - or woman - to beat. There are 13 different weight classes in the competition, including 10 on the men's side and three for the women in their Olympics debut.
Below, find the favorite to win each division in the London 2012 Olympic boxing tournament.
Men's Olympic Boxing Favorites
Men's Light Flyweight
China's Zou Shiming is the defending gold medalist from Beijing. His toughest competition is Jong Hoon Shin of South Korea, whom he defeated at the 2011 World Championships, and Paddy Barnes of Ireland, a bronze medalist in Beijing.
Misha Aloyan of Russia is the man to beat at Flyweight, where he's the reigning World Champion. The UK's Andrew Selby lost to Aloyan in the finals there, and Team USA's Rau'shee Warren is making his third trip to the Olympics. He's in a tough division but is the most likely American to have a legitimate shot at taking home gold in London.
Lazaro Alvarez from Cuba is a force, winning the 2011 World Championships. He took out the division's number 1 ranked fighter, Tajikstan's Anvar Yunusov, in the process. England's Luke Campbell and Ireland's John Nevin are both threats here.
There's no stronger favorite in any division than Vasyl Lomachenko from Ukraine. He won the Val Barker Cup at Beijing as the tournament's best fighter, and is a two-time World Champion. Yasniel Toledo of Cuba is very talented, and Domenico Valentino of Italy is deeply experienced.
Men's Light Welterweight
Brazil's Everton Lopes is the reigning World Champion. Denys Berincyhk of Ukraine narrowly lost to him in the finals of that tournament, while Cuba's Rosniel Iglesias is a veteran from Beijing. England's Thomas Stalker is actually the division's number 1 ranked fighter.
The man at Welterweight is Ukrainian Taras Shelestyuk. He's the reigning 2011 World Champion, and defeated his rival, Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan, in the finals.
Ukraine's Ievgen (Evhen) Khytrov is the reigning World Champion. He has a heads up win over Ryota Murata of Japan, although it was a close fight. Ireland's Darren O'Neill is a major player here as well.
Men's Light Heavyweight
Julio Cesar la Cruz of Cuba is the top dog at Light Heavyweight. He's the reigning World Champion, and he easily took out Egor Mekhonstev of Russia in the process. Aussie Damien Hooper could also medal here.
Oleksandr Usyk from Ukraine is the 2011 World Champion. He lost in Beijing to Italy's Clemente Russo, but has come into his own since then. Azerbaijan's Teymur Mammadov and China's Wang Xuanxuan are also fighters of note at Heavyweight.
Men's Super Heavyweight
Azerbaijani Magomedrasul Medzhidov is the reigning World Champion. He narrowly edged the athletic UK fighter Anthony Joshua, in that tournament. Robert Cammarelle is the gold medal winner from Beijing, while Cuba's Erislandy Savon has that famous last name that makes him so intriguing.
Women's Olympic Boxing Favorites
England's Nicola Adams will have the backing of her home country crowd, but China's Ren Cancan may be the top fighter here.
Ireland's Katie Taylor is an overwhelming favorite at Lightweight. Many regard her as the best female fighter in the world, amateur or professional. Katie is a four-time world champion and five-time European champion. American Queen Underwood is a talented fighter, but Taylor seems to be at a different level.
British boxer Savannah Marshall is the favorite at women's Middleweight, and the reigning World Champion. Look out for Claressa Shields of the USA and Nadezda Torlopova of Russia.
Sources: AIBA.org, Division by division favorites at ProBoxing-Fans.com
More from this contributor:
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, including a complete guide to the London 2012 Olympic Boxing competition, as well as exclusive stories and special features on the Games at the site.
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