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Marlen Esparza assures herself of a medal in women's boxing

August 06, 2012|By Bill Dwyre
  • Marlen Esparza has her hand raised in victory after defeating Karlha Magliocco of Venezuela.
Marlen Esparza has her hand raised in victory after defeating Karlha Magliocco… (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA )

LONDON -- Marlen Esparza, a 110-pounder from Houston, will become the first U.S. female to win an Olympic boxing medal, assuring herself of at least bronze Monday with a quarterfinal victory.

Esparza, fighting in the first-ever women's Olympic boxing competition, beat Venezuela's Karlha Magliocco. The score was 24-16, and Esparza won three of the four rounds decisively, losing only the fourth and final round, 5-4.

The heavily partisan Venezuelan crowd booed the posted scores after each round, and Esparza, a National Golden Gloves champion at age 17 and now ready to retire at 23 and go to school, said afterward, "That helped me. It kind of got me mad."

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She also said that although she was happy about assuring herself of a medal, "in the U.S., if it’s not a gold, it’s not good enough."

She is next scheduled to fight three-time world champion Cancan Ren of China.

"That’s what I came for," Esparza said. "That next match."

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