Maiva Hamadouche says she has proved professional boxers should be part of the Olympics after booking her place in Tokyo.
Hamadouche, the IBF super-featherweight champion from France, had been expected to be involved in a series of world title unification fights against the likes of Terri Harper and Mikaela Mayer, but decided to put her professional career on hold to fulfil an ambition of boxing at an Olympic Games.
While Christina Hammer and Delfine Persoon both lost their opening bouts in qualification, Hamadouche, 31, secured her lightweight slot as she overcame a slow start to beat Kata Pribojszki, of Hungay, on Monday evening.
“I’m happy and I’m satisfied with my work,” Hamadouche said. “It’s an accomplishment for me. I might not have done it in the best possible way, obviously, but I have good ways to explain it all.
“I met the expectations and that’s the main thing. I did qualify. A lot of people believed in me. And to those who thought that professional boxers have no right to be at the Olympics, I proved that, on the contrary, professional boxers should be part of the Olympics.”
All of Hamadouche’s bouts turned into thrillers, as she tried to use her fitness to overwhelm her opponents. It was not enough to beat Ireland’s Kellie Harrington on Saturday, but she got the end result she was after as she heads to Tokyo for the Olympics that start next month.
“There’s room for improvement,” Hamadouche said. “My boxing can be improved, but I got a good result. Now, I’m going to have to work for what’s coming. I have to work to improve and fix what went wrong. But it’ll get better and I’m confident for the future."
All bouts from all the Olympics qualification events, including Tuesday’s finals, are available to watch on olympics.com
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.