By Tom Degun

May 13 -Nicola Adams_in_boxing_pose GB Boxing trio Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas (pictured) and Savannah Marshall have their only opportunity to stake a place for London 2012 as they compete in the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women's World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, the only women's qualifying event for the Olympics.

The Championships have now got underway in the Chinese city with only the best female fighters in the three weight categories of flyweight (51kg), lightweight (60kg) and middleweight (75kg) set to qualify for London 2012, where women's boxing will appear at the Olympics for the first time.

The top eight in each of the three weights are likely to go to the Olympics along with an additional four wildcard places chosen by AIBA.

To guarantee automatic qualification for London 2012, all three British women will need to make the semi-finals or be among the top four Europeans in the quarter-finals of their category at the event.

Flyweight Adams, the 29-year-old reigning European champion and World Championship silver medallist, is Britain's top prospect and faces Belarusian Yana Levankova in the 51kg last 32 in her first bout.

Lightweight Jonas has already started the event in style when the 27-year-old from Liverpool beat Becky Price of Wales 18-8 in the last 64 and now faces Swiss fighter Sandra Bruegger in the last 32 as she closes in on a London 2012 spot.

Savannah Marshall_May_13
Middleweight Marshall (pictured in red) faces perhaps the toughest start of the trio, as the 30-year-old from Hartlepool takes on the talented Claressa Shields of the United States in the last 32 in what should be a close bout.

Given that Olympic qualification is on the line, the competition represents arguably the biggest moment so far in the history of women's boxing.

AIBA announced that boxing would be separated into men and women events back in 1994, while the first official international tournament for women boxers was then held in 1997.

The inaugural AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships took place four years later in 2001 in Scranton, USA, while the event in Qinhuangdao represents the seventh edition of the competition.

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