The Olympic journey of Alexis Pritchard is over, and it has come with a thud.
Pritchard seemed to represent a genuine hope for New Zealand to garner a medal in women’s boxing, but had the misfortune to draw Sofya Ochigava of the Russian Federation in the quarterfinal round of action.
Ochigava is #2 in the world and the #2 seed, and she fought like it, literally outdueling her for every minute of all four rounds. In the final round she added some insult to injury by scoring a standing eight count, as Pritchard had perhaps taken a little too much. She scored just one point from the judges in each of the four stanzas.
Nevertheless, Pritchard did well for herself. She had a tough first-round matchup against Rim Jouini of Tunisia, who had won a bronze medal at the world championships, and she won a 15-10 victory. So you couldn’t blame her for coming with some
She had more than a little support from her corner. You see, her coach, Cameron Todd, is also her husband. And he’s been with her every step of the way in ten years she has been competing.
Undaunted, Pritchard says that she will be back for more, even as it extends to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In the 28-year-old’s opinion, the whole experience of preparing for this event was enough to encourage her to do it again. And she will reportedly compete in the Commonwealth Games in two years’ time.
She had to move up a little in weight to get a chance to compete in the Games, since there are only three weight classes available. That doesn’t always bring out the best in a competitor, although it may not have been much of a factor against a boxer who was clearly at a higher level.
Meanwhile, in the semis, Ochigava has a Wednesday date with Adriana Araujo of Brazil. if she is successful there, then it’s a possible showdown against Katie Taylor, the superstar from Ireland who is the tournament’s #1 seed.
That’s not as intimidating as some may think. In fact, Ochigava scored a win over Taylor at a 2010 tournament in the Czech Republic. Of course, Taylor beat Ochigava this year to win her fourth successive World Women’s Amateur Championship.
A Taylor-Ochigava matchup may wind up being the most entertaining showdown in the boxing competition in London, whether it’s on the men’s or women’s side.