AN emotional triumph saw GB’s Sandy Ryan finally defeat Russia’s Daria Abramova at the women’s World championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Russian tied Sandy up in clinches, and the referee left her free reign to maul Ryan. Abramova did sink in some well-timed lead left hands but Sandy kept her boxing together, motored forward, putting Russian under focused pressure in the last round and winning a unanimous decision.

This victory only puts Ryan into the 64kgs quarter-finals but is hugely significant to the Englishwoman. She lost to a Russian in the 2014 World championships final and Abramova defeated her last year. Ryan isn’t boxing in an Olympic weight class and this tournament means everything to her. Tears filled Sandy’s eyes as she spoke afterwards.

“You can see how much it means to me. It’s put me in tears. But I stuck to the tactics, she’s beat me before the Baku Games. I stuck to the tactics, listened to the coaches and it worked,” Ryan said. “Every time I come up against a Russian, everyone’s saying, ‘Oh you’ve got a Russian’ and this time I didn’t let it get to my mind. I was like, I don’t care who I’ve got. They’ve got Great Britain. I’m going to win this.

“That’s why I’m so emotional because it meant a lot.”

She will now focus quarter-final tomorrow (May 24) against China’s Wenlu Yang, who beat good American Jajaira Gonzalez unanimously today. Also at 64kgs Ireland’s Kelly Harrington unanimously outpointed Germany’s Cindy Rogge. Harrington will take on crowd favourite, Kazakhstan’s Zarina Tsoloyeva in the last eight.

Also in action in the first session of boxing was America’s Marlen Esparza. She is the reigning flyweight gold medallist but moved down to 48kgs after losing her place on the team to Virginia Fuchs. Esparza faced Korea’s Chorong Bak, who was competitive throughout but couldn’t stop Marlen taking a unanimous decision.