The results of the semi-finals at the women’s world boxing championships did nothing to help the Olympic fortunes of Canadian boxer Mary Spencer. Now it appears that she must endure another agonizing wait to determine whether she is bound for the London Olympics.
After suffering a stunning upset in the lone Olympic qualifying event, Spencer’s Olympic fate depended largely on the success of the woman who upset her, Sweden’s Anna Laurell. If the Swede had advanced to the gold medal final, that was likely to award Spencer a berth to the inaugural women’s Olympic boxing tournament. But Laurell lost a nail-biter to Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan in Friday’s semi-finals, 16-15.
Boxing Canada Executive Director Robert Crete said Friday morning that he had not heard anything official yet, but he believed, according to the verbal information he has been given, that Spencer’s only chance to get in now would be the final wild card spot awarded by the International Olympic Committee Tripartite Commission.
Spencer, a three-time world champion and Pan Am Games gold medalist who entered the event as the world’s top-ranked fighter in her weight class, lost 18-11 to Laurell on Monday at the world championships in Qinhuangdao, China. Eight Olympic spots were being awarded via the tournament, so the native of Windsor, Ont. had to be one of the top two finishers from within the Pan American nations there in order to earn one of the two available to fighters from her continental qualifying group.
“I’m praying for a wild card,” Spencer said. “The only thing better than winning Olympic gold, would be winning gold after qualifying via wild card.”
All of the women from the Americas lost in the same round, so according to a spokesman from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the two berths were to be given to the two women whose opponents finished the best. By that standard, American Claressa Shields and Brazil’s Rosalie Fetosa would earn those bids, as their opponents have advanced to the final, England’s Savannah Marshall and Vystropova, respectively. The eight berths in each weight class will not be officially announced until after the finals of the tournament.
The AIBA spokesman said the Tripartite decision would be made after a meeting between the IOC and AIBA, which has been slated for early June.
In the lead-up to this summer’s Olympics, 27-year-old Spencer had been largely considered one of Canada’s brightest medal hopefuls. She has been the star of several commercials and ad campaigns and splashed all over the media.