World Championships: Success for African women boxers

ISTANBUL— Five African fighters took home medals from the Women’s Boxing World Championships in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with three of them silver.

On Thursday evening Algeria’s Imane Khelif and Mozambique’s Helena Panguane missed out on gold medals to take home silvers instead as they lost to Irish opponents.

Moroccan heavyweight Khadija Mardi had a chance to go one better when she took on local boxer Sennur Demir in the final bout of the championships on Friday, but lost on a split decision.

Mardi – who battled a partisan home crowd when taking on the 39-year-old – won a middleweight bronze at the last edition of the championships in Russia.

In the light-middleweight category, Panguane lost on a 4-1 split decision to Lisa O’Rourke.

O’Rourke, 20, from Roscommon, ran out a comfortable winner, although she went into the final round level on two cards.

The Irish fighter appeared comfortable on the back foot throughout the fight and won the first two rounds 3-2 on the judges cards, but a 10-8 score in Panguane’s favour from one judge ensured the contest remained firmly in the balance going into the final round.

It was in the final three minutes that O’Rourke moved onto the front foot and, although Panguane remained dangerous with smart counter shots, the tide was moving in favour of the Roscommon native who claimed a deserved win.

Khelif, who fought at the Tokyo Olympics last year, lost to Amy Broadhurst in the light-welterweight division with all five judges awarding the fight to the Irish fighter.

Broadhurst displayed supreme control in an utterly convincing display in which she outworked Khelif and dictated the pace of the three-round bout from start to finish.

Another Algerian, Ichrak Chaib, won bronze after a narrow 3-2 loss to Canada’s Charlie Cavanagh in the welterweight semi-finals on Wednesday.

And Mozambique’s Rady Gramane also claimed a bronze medal after her loss to another Canadian as Tammara Thibeault ran out 5-0 winner in the middleweight division.


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