Not a ton of people care about boxing in the Olympics, at least compared to most other sports, but you would be crazy to tell the boxers that.
For one, they would beat you up.
Also, you can't forget that these amateurs are fighting not only to keep their brain cells intact, but also for a gold medal. They are competing for the same prize as Michael Phelps. The same prize as LeBron James. The same prize as Usain Bolt.
You get the idea.
No matter how little attention boxing gets, you can rest assured that these athletes are going to do whatever they can to bring home the gold medal, which will likely serve as the crowning achievement for their careers.
With that being said, let's take a look at the upcoming gold-medal bouts.
August 9, 11:30 a.m. EDT: Women's Fly: Ren Cancan (China) vs. Nicola Adams (Great Britain)
Betting against 24-year-old Ren Cancan simply isn't a good idea. The Chinese star has taken home gold in the women's fly at the last two World Championships, as well as victories in a slew of other big tourneys.
She is, without a doubt, one of the biggest names in women's boxing. So, this is obvious, right?
Well, not so fast.
During those two World Championships, Nicola Adams has established herself as Cancan's biggest rival, losing in the final and settling for silver both times.
Adams hasn't been able to get over the hurdle that is Cancan, but this time around, the 29-year-old veteran, who has a slight size advantage, is on her home soil. I'm going with the slight upset, although this one should be close.
August 9, 11:45 a.m. EDT: Women's Light: Katie Taylor (Ireland) vs. Sofya Ochigava (Russia)
So, if you thought Cancan's two straight World Championship golds were impressive, prepare to be amazed.
Ireland's Katie Taylor has taken home four straight at the 60kg level. That's insanely impressive, and a good reason why she's a heavy favorite in this fight.
She has a tough task in 25-year-old Sofya Ochigava from Russia, but I fully expect Taylor to add an Olympic gold to her collection.
August 9, 12:15 p.m. EDT: Women's Middle: Claressa Shields (USA) vs. Nadezda Torlopova (Russia)
This matchup is a little different, as it doesn't feature any world champions. Torlopova did win bronze earlier this year in Qinhuangdao, but that's it for the 33-year-old veteran.
On the other side of the ring is Claressa Shields. She hasn't taken home any World Championship medals, but that's because she's only 17 years old. In her only appearance, she was ousted by eventual gold medalist Savannah Marshall in the second round.
But the young Shields has grown up a lot since then, absolutely dominating Marina Volnova and Anna Laurell, the defending bronze medalist, en route to the finals in London.
Most might go with the experience of Torlopova, but I wouldn't truly be an American if I didn't back Claressa Shields to take home gold.
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