Auckland boxer Alexis Pritchard scored a historic first for New Zealand sport today. Pritchard, 28, became New Zealands first female boxer to win an Olympic bout when she beat tough Tunisian Rim Jouini in a first-round lightweight contest. The New Zealander won 15-10 on points. She narrowly won the first round 4-3 and lost the second 4-2, to trail at the halfway point. However, she finished strongly, winning the third 5-1 and the final round 4-2. Pritchard, who emigrated from South Africa 12 years ago, had to take some strong punishment on her way to victory and was heavily jolted once by Jouini. She now fights the second seed, Russian Sofya Ochigava, in what looms as a challenging contest. Pritchard said she was very pleased to have got through, and that she was conscious of the impact of the performance not just for New Zealand boxing, but for women, too. New Zealands other female boxer at the games, Siona Fernandes, was well-beaten in her first-round flyweight contest against Bulgarian Stoyka Petrova. Fernandes lost all four rounds 5-2, 4-3, 7-4, 7-2 and went down 23-11 overall. She found the Bulgarians experience and skills too much but deserved credit for the way she hung in against such a quality opponent.
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