Finland celebrates 20th anniversary of Women's Boxing04 July 2014
The Finnish Boxing Association have long been regarded as one of the pioneers of women’s boxing, and they launched their national championships for their women elite athletes back in 1995, and this years edition of the championships saw the country celebrate their 20th anniversary.
Besides other boxing nations including United States of America, Canada, Norway, Hungary, France, Russia, Denmark, Greece, Turkey and Sweden, Finland formed its inaugural women’s boxing team as the sport was in its infancy.
With the many fantastic developments of women’s boxing it is sometimes hard to believe that the sport has barely been established for two decades, with the future for the sport looking majestic.
The last decade of women’s boxing has seen one success after another, with the inclusion of women having the right to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games in three weight classes following the positive decision of the International Olympic Committee a particular highlight.
Finland’s boxing life was a key component when the women’s part of boxing started its successful road forward in the last decade.
The first edition of their National Women’s Championships was held in the city of Tampere in 1995 following AIBA’s official approval of women’s boxing.
Since then, several Finnish towns have hosted the national event including Kankaanpaa, Loviisa, Haemeenlinna, Jaervenpae, Rovaniemi and Kajaani.
The national woman’s boxing competition rules were first approved by the Finnish Boxing Association in 1993.
Maarit Teuronen, who is one of Finland’s most legendary woman boxers, won a gold medal in the first edition of their Women’s National Championships in 1995, and she claimed eight national titles by the end of her storied career.
The first major international tournament, the European Women’s Cup was held in Koeping, Sweden in 1999, where Finland’s Elina Saari claimed a bronze medal.
In the first edition of the European Women’s Championships in St. Amand-les-Eaux, France, Finland bagged three bronze medals, as Camilla Munsterhjelm, Eva Wahlstroem and Hanne Rahkola all took home medals.
Eva Wahlstroem secured two silver medals in the European Women’s Championships, enjoying close fought battles against Ireland’s national hero Katie Taylor in the middle of the last decade.
Wahlstroem is perhaps Finland’s greatest boxer at international level, winning several medals in international events, competing in the first edition of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Scranton in the United States in 2001 as well.
Finland have taken part in every edition of the AIBA Women’s World Championships, and European Women’s Continental Championships.
Their last medal in a worldwide AIBA event was achieved by Hanne Maekinen in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2010.
For the 20th anniversary edition of the Women’s Elite National Championships, 36 elite boxers participated, was 36, and all of their current top athletes won their weight classes.
Their Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer Mira Potkonen who has been coached by Maarit Teuronen, was a bronze medallist at the European Union Women’s Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2013, establishing herself as one of the most successful Finnish boxers of the modern era.
The veteran Potkonen has decided to continue her career, following AIBA raising the age limit of women boxers up to 40 years of age.
Marjut Lausti has been a member of the Finnish national squad since 2009, and claimed another title this year.
Finland’s national squad recently competed in the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships which was held in Bucharest, Romania.
Among their future young hopes include 18-year-old Julia Ussik who has competed in various international junior and youth competitions, but returned to her studies last year.
Anna Laukkanen, a member of the EUBC Women Commission, is the engine of Finland’s women boxing life, and is an integral member of the future of Finnish boxing.
Finland’s women boxing team are set to take part in the upcoming AIBA Women’s World Championships in Jeju, Korea in November, and the Finnish Boxing Association hopes that their top athletes will be able to qualify to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
With such progress over the last twenty years, the future for women’s boxing in Finland, and around the world, is set to progress even further.