This year’s AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships took place in Ulan-Ude, Russia and saw 226 boxers compete from 57 countries.
Incredibly the British Army had not one, but three soldiers compete in this highly prestigious event only surpassed in boxing importance by the Olympic Games.
Gnr Tori-Ellis Willetts (47 Regiment Royal Artillery) started England’s championships on the first day of boxing but sadly lost to the vastly more experienced Bulgarian, Gabriela Dimitrova, who secured a Bronze medal in this year’s European Games at 51kg. In only her second major tournament, Tori further demonstrated that she belongs on the world stage and has plenty more to come. Her commitment to developing was highlighted by the fact she continued to spar with a number of nations throughout the remainder of the tournament.
LCpl Megan Reid (6 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps) won her opening bout for Scotland against Vietnam’s Thi Linh Ha, to progress into the Quarter-finals to box China’s Do Dan for a medal. Megan won the first round and made the current world number one and defending look ordinary by utilising her long lead shots. The Chinese boxer upped her work rate in the following two rounds and Megan narrowly lost out to the tournament’s favourite to win the 64kg category.
England’s LBdr Karriss Artingstall (1 Regiment Royal Artillery) went into this tournament full of confidence having secured a silver medal at 57kg in August’s European Championships. In one of the busiest Olympic weight categories Karriss had to beat USA, Peoples’ Republic of Korea and Tajikistan to make it through the preliminaries and into the quarter-final. In her fourth bout in seven days, Karriss defeated Uzbekistan’s Yodgoroy Mirzaeva to secure a place in the semi-final and a guaranteed medal.
Artingstall followed her tactics superbly in the semi-final contest against Philippines’ Nesty Petecio, but to everyone’s surprise was on the wrong end of a split decision. Although GB Boxing formally appealed the decision, it was however not accepted. In Karriss’ third major tournament, she managed to secure a world championship medal, her second major tournament medal. She has now proved she is in the top 3 boxers in the world, only months away from Olympic qualifiers commencing in March 2020.
It is a massive achievement for the British Army to have three soldiers competing at world level in women’s boxing, but this was taken to the next level with how all three boxers performed so early on in their international careers. What a fantastic time for women’s boxing and boxing as a whole in the British Army.