The inaugural run of women's boxing at the Olympics has come to a close, as the gold medal matches in all three divisions were held on Thursday, August 9. The debut of women's Olympic boxing at London 2012 not only livened up the boxing tournament, but also proved to be one of the scene-stealing events for the entire Summer Games.
The crowds at the ExCel London arena were packed to the brim and were incredibly enthusiastic, especially for their home country fighters, such as eventual gold medal winner Nicola Adams. The British Flyweight captured gold by defeating the favored Ren Cancan of China, and delighted the crowd in the process.
However, you would be hard pressed to ever witness a louder or more raucous crowd than was present for all of Katie Taylor's bouts. That's not conjecture, either.
The decibel levels for her opening fight were reported at 113.7, the highest of any event at the Olympics, and surely in the blissful celebration following her gold medal win it was substantially louder. For comparison's sake, a jet engine has a 140 decibel level, and physical pain begins at 125 decibels.
The Irish Lightweight came into the Olympics as a four-time champion, and the heavy favorite to win gold. She even was named the Irish flag bearer for the Opening Ceremonies.
Once the action got underway, she didn't disappoint. Taylor is an exciting, highly skilled fighter, and the fans just went absolutely off the charts for her. She defeated British boxer Natasha Jonas in her first match, one of the best boxing bouts of the Olympics on either the men's or women's side of the field, and eventually captured gold by escaping a tough challenge from Russia's Sofya Ochigava.
Watching Taylor fight, and looking at the men's field, and you could safely pick her to beat the majority of competitors in and around her weight class, regardless of sex.
The American women performed excellently as well, capped off by a gold medal win from 17-year-old Claressa Shields in the Middleweight division. The powerful, aggressive fighter dominated in both her semifinals and finals matches to take home the gold for Team USA, the only gold medal for any American boxer at the London 2012 Olympics.
American Flyweight Marlen Esparza took home a bronze, the only other medal won by the team at the Summer Games. You may have noticed Marlen before you even knew who she was, as she has been featured in a series of McDonald's commercials during the Olympics.
The bottom line is that it was a fantastic debut for women's Olympic boxing, with great fighters, thrilling fights and insane crowds highlighting the women's fight game and showing fans across the globe what they have been missing.
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.