Underwood, fights Sunday, 6:30 a.m. Seattle time
Update : Underwood, the first American female boxer to ever compete in the Olympics, took the first round


Seattle's Queen Underwood Forecast to Lose Olympics; Update: Beaten, 'Still a Champion'

Underwood, fights Sunday, 6:30 a.m. Seattle time
Update: Underwood, the first American female boxer to ever compete in the Olympics, took the first round but lost the next three and was defeated on points this morning. More after the jump.

Thursday: With a record that includes five national championships, Olympics lightweight Quanitta "Queen" Underwood was an easy pick for us as winner of the Best Local Boxer title in this week's SW Best of Seattle edition. Unfortunately, she is also apparently the easy choice as likely loser of her opening-round matchup this Sunday in London with Great Britain's toughie, Natasha Jonas. Sportswriters seem to be saying she might as well phone it in.

As the AP sees it, "Underwood was assigned one of the toughest paths to gold imaginable."

The 5-5, 132-pounder will have to fight Jonas in front of the Brit's home crowd in the first round, with the winner meeting Ireland's top-ranked Katie Taylor, figured by some to be the best female boxer at the Olympics. Underwood narrowly lost to Taylor in the 2010 world amateur semis.

And The New York Times, echoing many others, figures "It will be a very tough bout for the Seattle native, a victim of child abuse who was profiled in The Times last February."

For one thing, says the Times, "Jonas has beaten Underwood before. For another, the crowd in London's ExCel Center has thunderously supported the British boxers."

What does Underwood - a true self-believer whose motto is "Can't stop, won't stop" - think of that?

The 28-year-old fighter tells Reuters that after she beats Jonas, she plans to punch her way to the medal stand over the next two weeks, then step up and accept the gold.

"Honestly," she says, "you just don't understand how I feel right now."

Update: Underwood came out strong in an exciting bout, taking the first round Sunday 4-3. But Jonas, with a steadier game, outpointed Underwood in the final three to win 21-13.

Jonas was "technically more sound," said NBC fight analyst Laila Ali, boxing daughter of Muhammad Ali.

In a post-match interview, Underwood was momentarily speechless, emotionally and physically drained by her loss, allowing that she was aware she was losing on points and "that got to me," causing her to change her strategy.

She'd been planning to cut off the ring, to Jonas' disadvantage, but the bouncing Brit stayed on the attack, landing more punches on a slightly confused Underwood. "I felt it wasn't working, going forward the way I was," she said. "So I just decided to go for her after that."

Observers agreed she "gave it her all," as boxing writer Jake Emen put it. But that didn't ease Underwood's pain.

"If I could curse, I would say the S-word," she said. "I hope the people who supported me can look at my journey as a champion instead of the outcome of the win or lose."

Ali, for one, saw it that way. "She's won a lot in her life..." Ali said. "She's still a champion."

(Underwood's tweets here; her Olympics bio, news, video here)

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow