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Associated Press, Published August 07 2012

Esparza, Shields chase gold in women's boxing

LONDON — Marlen Esparza already knows she'll stand on a podium Thursday with a medal around her neck.

The U.S. flyweight's next two fights — the last of her boxing career — will determine its color.

Esparza and middleweight teammate Claressa Shields are among the 12 medalists in the first Olympic women's boxing tournament, which has received widespread praise and driven international interest in a sport that's decades removed from its most dynamic days.

With the semifinal bouts beginning Wednesday, Esparza says anything but a gold medal isn't good enough for her.

That's just another example of the determination that kept her in boxing and drove her to national championships before she had any concrete hope of being an Olympian.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.