Natasha Jonas and Nicola Adams have become the first female British boxers to qualify for the Olympic Games after reaching the World Championships semis.
Liverpudlian lightweight Jonas (pictured) beat Norway’s Ingrid Egner 23-9 in the quarter-finals in Qinhuangdao, China, and Leeds flyweight Adams edged out Indian star Mary Kom Hmangte, 13-11.
British middleweight Savannah Marshall is one win from qualifying for London, where women’s boxing will make its Olympic debut.
Marshall, who beat highly-rated US boxer Claressa Shields on the way to the quarters, will face China’s Jinzi Li in the last eight.
Adams enjoyed a superb win over five-time 48kg world champion world champion Kom to guarantee at least a bronze, with a semi-final to come against Russia’s Elena Savelyeva.
The top three Europeans in each weight division in Qinhuangdao qualify for the Games, and Jonas was the first Briton to secure her place – as well as assure herself of at least a world bronze medal.
“It’s a great feeling,” she told BBC Sport afterwards. “I’ve never boxed so many times against such good opponents and it’s nice to just come out on top and come here to do what I said I was going to do, and that’s qualify.
“But not only did I say that, I said I didn’t want to just make up the numbers, I wanted a medal, and that’s what I’ve done.
“I’m absolutely made up that I’m still in it and I’ll keep fighting until I get beat.”
Asked when she was certain that she had done enough to qualify for London, she said, “I asked one of the coaches.
“We just got it confirmed as we were coming out and I saw my dad as I was walking, and he said ‘Yeah, you’ve done it, you’ve done it!’
“To know that I’m going to go out in London and there could possibly be 10,000 people cheering for you for a change is just unreal. I can’t wait to get on the stage and show them what boxing’s all about.”
Jonas will now take on Russia’s Sofya Ochigava in the semi-final.
Lizzie Flint, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine