2022 Commonwealth Games Preview: The Women

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Team England: Demie-Jade Resztan, Savannah Stubley, Kerry Davis, Sameenah Toussaint, Jodie Wilkinson, Gemma Richardson. (Photo: Sam Mellish / Team England)

Who will prevail in the female tournaments at the Commonwealth Games? Matt Bozeat examines and predicts

MIDDLEWEIGHT – 75kgs

WORLD champion Tammara Thibeault must be the favourite for gold. On her way to the top prize in Turkey in May, Thibeault, a southpaw who was inspired by the London Olympics a decade ago, had unanimous points wins over Caitlin Parker (Australia) and Rady Gramane (Mozambique) in the quarter- and semi-finals respectively. Parker and Gramane will also be in Birmingham.

Parker was a silver medallist on the Gold Coast four years ago, losing a split to Welsh southpaw Lauren Price, who may have won it in the last 30 seconds. That’s how close it was.

Kerry Davis (England) will be confident after winning the BoxAm tournament and reaching the last eight at the World Championship.

PICK: TAMMARA THIBEAULT

LIGHT-MIDDLEWEIGHT – 70kgs

THERE’S plenty of quality at 70kgs, including Welsh pressure fighter “Right Hand” Rosie Eccles, beaten on a split by Sandy Ryan in the welterweight final fours ago. Eccles, who reversed that loss at the following year’s European Championship, has since had to shrug off a virus that attacked her right arm and left her unable to dress herself.

On her way to the final four years ago, she beat Australia’s Kaye Scott, who will also be in Birmingham.

Other entries include Alcinda Panguana, who became the first Mozambique female to win a World Championship medal when she claimed silver this year, and 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (India).

Eierann Nugent (Northern Ireland) was out of the ring for 11 years before she returned to win gold at the Eindhoven Box Cup in June.

BN PICK: ROSIE ECCLES

LIGHTWEIGHT – 60 kgs

AMY BROADHURST represents Northern Ireland after winning World Championship gold for Ireland at 63.5kgs in May. From Dundalk, she boxes for a club in the North, St Bronagh’s in Rostrevor, and has an English passport. The 25-year-old southpaw’s father is from Slough.

Broadhurst’s rivals in Birmingham include Jaismine Limboria, the 20 year old Indian who beat 2022 World bronze medallist Parveen Hooda to qualify. 

Gemma Richardson, who turns 21 during the Games, is England’s pick at 71kgs, a box-fighter who’s won World Youth (2018) and European under-22 (2021) gold.

Troy Garton (New Zealand) and Megan Reid (Scotland) are the veterans at 34 and 32 respectively.

Garton, also a 2-0 pro, won bronze four years ago, while Reid went into the World Championships ranked No.5 in the world but lost her first contest.

PICK: AMY BROADHURST

FEATHERWEIGHT (57kgs)

MICHAEIA WALSH (Northern Ireland) says “it would mean everything” to win gold in Birmingham having twice won silver in the Commonwealth Games.

The elder sister of light-middleweight Aidan, she lost split decisions in the 2014 and 2018 finals, to Nicola Adams (flyweight) and Skye Nicholson (featherweight) respectively.

Walsh made a last-16 exit from last year’s Olympics.

In contrast, Sameenah Toussaint (England) has only had a handful of senior bouts. The long and fluent 19-year-old was picked after winning European under-22 bronze.

Also 19 is Zoe Andrews, the 2019 European Junior bronze medallist who represents Wales in Birmingham.

Johanna Wonyou (Cameroon) won World Junior bronze in 2015 and is also a 5-0 pro who’s based in London.

She won an eight-rounder in Norwich a couple of weeks ago.

PICK: MICHAELA WALSH

LIGHT-FLYWEIGHT – 50kgs

NIKHAT ZAREEN (India) heads to Birmingham as the world champion. In the World Championship final in May, she churned out non-stop punches in the final round to edge out Jitpong Jutamas, an Olympic quarter-finalist and 6-0 pro from Thailand. Zareen has also won World Junior gold (2011).

“Mighty Atom” Savannah Stubley (England) says she hopes to test herself against the world champion. Only 21, Stubley has 51 wins from 58 bouts.

Carly McNaul (Northern Ireland) won flyweight silver four years ago, losing to England’s Lisa Whiteside in the final, and the 33-year-old reached the last eight at this year’s World Championships.

Sierra Leone representative Sara Haghichat-Joo won Irish honours in 2019 and 2021, being named boxer of the tournament at the latter.

She is married to an Irish citizen, Stephen Bailey, who’s also her coach and has spent most of her life in Canada, but represents her family’s country in Birmingham.

Keshani Hansika (Sri Lanka) competes in her third Commonwealth Games, while Teddy Nakimulu becomes the first female boxer to represent Uganda at Commonwealth Games and is sure to fight her heart out.

PICK: NIKHAT ZAREEN

MINIMUMWEIGHT – 48kgs

INDIAN idol Mary Kom, gold medallist four years ago and a six-time world champion, was forced out of the qualifiers by injury and her replacement has to be one of the favourites for gold.

Only 21, Nitu Ghanghas, 2017 World Youth champion, beat World Championship silver medallist Manju Rani to qualify.

Demie-Jade Resztan (England) reached the last eight in Istanbul having won bronze three years earlier and Priyana Dhillon (Canada) was also at the World Championships in May, losing her first contest in Istanbul.

Christine Ongare competes in her third Commonwealth Games. Four years ago she became the first Kenyan woman to win a boxing medal at the Games.

Ongare, a mother at 12 years old, also competed in the 2020 Olympics.

PICK: NITU GHANGHAS

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