When Ireland’s defending gold medalist and top seed Katie Taylor fell in the quarterfinals, Estelle Mossely of France became the favorite to win women’s lightweight (60kg) gold. Looking back, maybe Mossely always should have been the favorite.
It was Mossely who denied Taylor a sixth straight gold medal at the AIBA World Championships in May, beating Taylor in the semifinals, and going on to win gold herself. (And the month before, Taylor had lost to Yana Alekseevna of Azerbaijan, her first defeat in five years.)
So it is now Mossely, 24, who is to be called the best women’s lightweight in amateur boxing, ending a 10-year run where Taylor could claim that for herself. Mossely’s golds at the Worlds and the Olympics this year make it clear that she is now the cream of the crop.
In Friday’s Olympic gold medal match, she defeated Jinhua Yin of China, who had defeated Mira Potkonen of Finland in the semifinal. Potkonen was the fighter who eliminated Taylor in the quarterfinals. It was really a clear win for Mossely, even though scorecards came back 39-37 in her favor on one, 39-37 in Yin’s favor on another, and then the third even at 38-38, with the judges then choosing Mossely as the winner.
Mossely’s path to the gold medal started with a first round bye, then a quarterfinal win over young Italian Irma Testa, and a semifinal defeat of Russia’s Anastasia Belyakova, the opponent she had beaten in May to win the World Championships. That fight ended prematurely, when Belyakova suffered an elbow injury in the first round of action.