LONDON — One day after Queen Underwood became the first U.S. woman to appear in an Olympic boxing match, her teammate Marlen Esparza became the first U.S. woman to win one.
And, incidentally, the first Cover Girl model as well.
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Esparza defeated Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela in a women's flyweight division bout on Monday, 24-16, advancing to the semifinals on Wednesday and a match against top-seeded favorite Cancan Ren of China at ExCeL Centre.
The American fighter took the first round 8-4 and then followed with a 6-4 second round.
The Venezuelan boxer was game, but struggled to keep pace as Esparza picked her apart from the outside.
The American's lead continued to grow with each passing round as Esparza left no doubt. At no point was she encouraged to sit on her lead, as he coaches continued to remind her of what she needed to correct rather than praise what was working. Esparza proved to be an A-student, following instructions to the letter and cruising to the medal round.
The victory guarantees that Esparza will medal in London. The format for boxing has each of the four semifinalists earning a medal, with the winners vying for gold and silver while the semifinal losers both earn bronze.
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Esparza, 23, gained fame before the London Games as a model for Cover Girl, thanks in part to her pre-match ritual: applying a light base of makeup with some blush and mascara. According to People magazine, she also "puts on perfume before a fight, [and] makes sure to exfoliate and hydrate her skin."
So, at the very least, her face is well maintained before someone punches it.
Learn more about Olympic women's boxing here.
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