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Northwest boxer wins at Olympic trials

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
Queen Underwood, in red, fights Mikaela Mayer to win the lightweight championship at the Olympic team trials for boxing in Spokane

A 27-year-old pipe fitter from the Northwest has earned a spot on the USA's first-ever women's Olympic boxing team. Queen Underwood of Seattle is considered to be one of the top contenders for the gold in boxing – male or female – at the 2012 London Games.

Underwood emerged as the lightweight champion at the week-long Olympic trials for women's boxing. The contest was in Spokane – where the audience welcomed Underwood as a home-state favorite.

The crowd shouted, “Queen! Queen! Queen!”

She won the final bout 22 to 19 against Mikaela Mayer. Just outside the ring, Underwood told reporters she felt relieved.

“It hurts, I'm happy, all in one. But for me this is just the beginning,” she said.

The other weight class champions were flyweight Marlen Esparza and a 16-year-old middleweight named Claressa Shields. Men's boxing has been an Olympic sport since 1904. But this is the first year women will compete for the gold. USA Olympic boxing team coach Joe Zanders says on the new co-ed team, boxers are boxers.

“You know, we're there to represent the United States, not to figure out differences between people. We're there to do our job,” Zanders said.

The three winners at the trials in Spokane still have to make the overall Olympic cut at an international qualifier in China before they can go to the London Games.

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.
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