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Rashida Ellis of Lynn, MA has become a serious Olympic medal contender for the United States in women’s boxing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. On Saturday, Ellis won the bronze medal in the women’s lightweight division at the 2019 Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ulde, Russia.
Ellis was one of three Americans to win a medal in the 11 day international competition from October 3-13. However, what sets Ellis’s medal apart from the other two Americans that won world championship medals is the fact that Ellis won in a weight class division that has Olympic status. Danielle Perkins of Brooklyn, NY won the gold medal in the women’s heavyweight division and Mikiah Kreps of Niagara Falls, NY won the bronze medal in the women’s bantamweight division. The women’s heavyweight and bantamweight divisions are not part of the Olympic program.
In the women’s lightweight division, Ellis was one of two semifinalists. The other was Mira Potkinen of Finland. Beatriz Iasmin Ferreira of Brazil won the gold medal and Cong Wang of China won the silver medal. Ellis won three matches to reach the semifinals. She beat Elisa Williams of Panama as the referee stopped the fight at the 2:46 mark of the third round, then Francesca Amato of Italy 5-0 and Sudaporn Seesondee of Thailand 4-1.
The women’s heavyweight division is for boxers 81+ kilograms and the women’s bantamweight division is for boxers between 51-54 kilograms. The five divisions for women’s boxing at the Olympic Games are flyweight (51 kilograms), featherweight (57 kilograms), lightweight (60 kilograms), welterweight (69 kilograms), and middleweight (75 kilograms). There are currently eight different divisions in Olympic men’s boxing.
The United States have won three Olympic medals in women’s boxing. Claressa Shields of Flint, MI is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in women’s middleweight as she captured first at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, Marlen Esparza of Houston, TX, won bronze in the women’s flyweight at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.