SPORTS

Canadian boxer Mary Spencer's Olympic dream deferred

05/18/2012 12:11 EDT | Updated 07/18/2012 05:12 EDT

Mary Spencer's Olympic hopes are now resting on an International Olympic Committee decision after she failed to be granted one of the two world championship spots set out for fighters from this part of the world.

The Windsor, Ont., boxer was hoping that Anna Rosalie Laurell would defeat Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan in the women's 75-kilogram semifinals today, but the Swede lost 16-15.

Spencer, a three-time world champion, was defeated earlier this week by Laurell at the world amateur boxing championships in China.

The further Laurell went in the event, the better chance Spencer had of earning one of the two tournament-based spots for the Olympics.

Spencer will now hope to be awarded a wild-card spot by the International Olympic Committee's Tripartite Commission.

"I'm praying for a wild card," Spencer said. "The only thing better than winning Olympic gold would be winning gold after qualifying via wild card."

The world championships feature boxers competing in 10 weight classes but only three will be contested at the Olympics: 51-kilogram flyweight, 60-kilogram lightweight and 75-kilogram middleweight.

The qualifying process for the Americas was complicated by the fact fighters in the 75-kg class from the region went a combined 1-6 at the event in Qinghuangdo, with not a single fighter advancing past the third round.

Brazil's Roseli Amaral Feitosa and American Claressa Shields were awarded the first two Olympic berths on Friday because the women they lost to have both advanced to final.

But for each of the three weight classes, the IOC commission will award one additional Olympic spot to a boxer from the Americas, one of five global regions determined by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

Spencer, 27, was born in Wiarton, Ont., and grew up in Windsor. The five-foot-11 fighter captured gold at the Pan American Games last fall in Mexico and carried the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies.

Spencer's absence would be a big blow to the Canadian Olympic team. She's considered one of Canada's top hopes for a medal in London, and is a rising star on the squad. In addition to being the new face of CoverGirl, Spencer is featured prominently in a new ad campaign from the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Were the spot strictly determined by past performance and rankings, the fact that Shields was selected Friday would help Spencer, as the teen from Flint, Mich. would have figured to have been a worthy wild card choice based on the fact she defeated the Canadian in a bout earlier this year.

It is not known exactly when the commission's decision will be made or if the criteria is strictly performance based. A previous AIBA communication indicated it the decision would be made no later than July 1.

Canada's Mandy Bujold and Sandra Bizier are in a similar position after they also missed their chance to qualify for London through the world championships.

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