Taylor didn't disappoint, dominating Tajikistan's impressive teenager, Mavzuna Chorieva. But Taylor didn't impress Ochigava, her longtime nemesis and gold-medal opponent, who said fighters "begin with minus-10 points" against the wildly popular Irish star.
Esparza gamely tried to force Ren into a fight, but the Chinese champion sat back dispassionately and threw counterpunches that scored just enough points to win. Ren's rigid strategy and Esparza's attempts to wait her out earned warnings for both fighters in each of the first three rounds for not throwing enough punches.
Esparza broke down in the fighters' tunnel after the bout, but soon turned her analytical skills on the only opponent who has ever beaten her in two straight meetings.
"It's as boring to me as it is to you," Esparza said. "Everybody can't stand it, but it works. ... I thought I did everything I could do. We knew she wasn't going to commit — ever — so the game plan was just to not go forward. When I did go forward, that was when I got caught."
Esparza, the 23-year-old veteran, insists she'll follow through on her plan to retire from boxing and go to college, even though she would still be younger than many of the world's current top amateurs when the Rio Games roll around in 2016.
"My body is falling apart already," she said with a grin. "I'm in sports medicine four hours a day."
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