That would have seemed like a compliment to many women's boxers if not for the sexist undertones, Underwood acknowledged with a laugh.
The suggestion was met with outrage from many fighters, while others quietly considered the idea, perhaps hoping to please the international governing body. AIBA ended up leaving skirts as merely an option for competition, and most boxers have no intention of wearing them — but Polish fighters wore skirts in last year's European Championships, and Polish flyweight Karolina Michalczuk is in the Olympic field.
Taylor is widely considered to be dominant at lightweight, but the other two divisions don't have a prohibitive favorite, reflecting the even level of worldwide competition that's necessary to avoid the Olympic criticism that's faced by women's ice hockey, where North America rules.
The Americans all have medal hopes, while the host British team would like to copy the men's team's spectacular start at home. Alongside Jonas, the former U.S. college soccer player from Liverpool, is flyweight Nicola Adams, a part-time construction worker who also found time to act on the beloved English TV series "Coronation Street," and world champion middleweight Savannah Marshall, the gold medal favorite.
The honor of fighting four 2-minute rounds in the first women's bout in Olympic history went randomly to flyweights Elena Savelyeva of Russia and Hye Song Kim of North Korea. Underwood and Jonas follow soon afterward, with the winner fighting Taylor in her first Olympic bout Monday.
The long Olympic fight for women's boxing finally is over. It's time for the real competition.
"I've been waiting for a long, long time," Underwood said with a smile. "We all have. It's hard to believe it's here, but I believe it."
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