The first American woman ever to compete in boxing at the Olympics took the stage on Sunday, as Queen Underwood lined up against Britain's Natasha Jonas, in what promised to be an extremely tough and hard-fought match. It didn't disappoint.
In fact, the Underwood vs. Jonas fight in the first round of the women's Lightweight draw proved to be one of the most exciting and compelling matches thus far in the boxing competition, men's or women's. The crowd was enthusiastic, the action in the ring was fast paced and fought with great skill, and all told, it was a great showcase for women's boxing.
Both ladies started the fight fast, and it became clear early that Underwood would be the aggressor and Jonas would play the matador. The first round went to Underwood, 4-3, as she landed several hard, thudding blows.
However, Jonas's crisp, clean shots began to make a difference for her in the second and third sessions. As Underwood would come in and swing for the fences, Jonas would pick her off with a jab and then circle away, enabling her to score easy points. By the end of Round 2, she was up 7-6, and by the end of Round 3, she was up 13-9.
The lead simply proved to be too much for Underwood to overcome, and Jonas would tally a final score of 21-13. She thrived with the fervent support of the crowd, and while that margin of victory seems wider than the fight really was, at the end of the day the right lady won the match.
While Underwood is surely disappointed with her early exit from the London Olympics, she has nothing to be ashamed of. She fought well and gave it her all, and she helped give the fans a great show and the sport of women's boxing a memorable, worthy contest.
Sources: AIBA.org, NBC Olympics Coverage
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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.