By Duncan Mackay

The Memphis Cook Convention Center will host the Rio 2016 Olympic Trials for women's boxing ©WikipediaMemphis in Tennessee will host the United States women's boxing Olympic Trials for Rio 2016, it was announced today.

The event is due to take place between October 25 and 31 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Trials, which will feature 24 boxers competing in three weight categories of flyweight, lightweight and middleweight, will be organised by USA Boxing, Prize Fight Boxing and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"We are elated to be partnering once again with USA Boxing and bringing the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials for women's boxing to our hometown of Memphis," said Russ Young, chief financial officer of Prize Fight Boxing.

"We look forward to seeing these world-class athletes compete and their hopes and dreams become a reality on their Road to Rio."

Prize Fight Boxing also organised the 2004 US Olympic Trials in Memphis, an event that featured only men as women's boxing was then not a part of the Olympic programme. 

The main attraction at the Championships is expected to be Claressa Shields, winner of the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division when the sport for women made its debut at London 2012. 

Together with Marlen Esparza, a bronze medallist in the flyweight division at London 2012, Shields qualified for the Trials by finishing in the top four at the recent USA Boxing Elite National Championships.

Clarissa Shields won the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division at London 2012 ©Getty ImagesClarissa Shields won the Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division at London 2012 ©Getty Images

"Hosting a USA Olympic event is an enormous milestone for Memphis, and it's an honour to have the nation's top boxers compete in our city prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio," said Kevin Kane, President and chief execuitve of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"As an organisation dedicated to growing the local economy by attracting world-class and youth sports events, hosting an event of this stature continues to raise the profile of Memphis as a sports event destination."

The Olympic Trials for women before London 2012 took place in Spokane, Washington. 

"Many historic events have taken place in Memphis and we are thrilled to bring a piece of boxing history and our top female athletes to the area," said USA Boxing executive director Mike Martino.

"USA Boxing is excited to work the Prize Fight Boxing team and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau to make this a world class event."

The competition will be a double-elimination tournament with eight women competing in the three weight divisions over the weeklong competition in Memphis.  

Six women have already clinched their Olympic Trials berths and six more spots in each of the three Olympic weight divisions remain available.

The remaining berths will be determined by regional qualifiers, which are currently being finalised.

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