Women's Fly (51kg)
Nicola Adams (GBR) 1.84/5 vs Ren Cancan (CHN) 2.1211/10
British hope Nicola Adams is on the brink of gold after an impressive semi final victory over the five time World Champion Mery Kom in the semi finals, but she is going to have to right the wrongs of a World Championship loss just over two months ago to win gold in front of an adoring home crowd at the Excel arena.
Her opponent Ren Cancan is more than an established fighter, being a three times World Champion and top seed in the tournament provides some pressure, but pressure that Cancan has been able to manage thus far in reaching the final in impressive, unchallenged form. This final expects much the same from the World Championships final where Adams dominated the centre of the ring and was much the aggressor, but is always open to the Cancan counter punch and quick feet of the Chinese fighter. Adams will have to use her reach to good effect and try to counter Cancan's attacks with clever combinations and not get drawn into a scrap which could prove her downfall.
Adams will no doubt thrive on the support of the home crowd, but whether it will force her into making aggressive tactical errors remains to be seen. In a neutral environment I would be inclined to favour Cancan's tactical prowess, but with the support Adams will receive in the Excel arena I think it will prove to be pivotal in the outcome of this final and suspect Adams will take the gold by a slim advantage. Don't get me wrong, this will be a close intense encounter, but if anyone can defeat Cancan, Adams can....can.
Women's Light (60kg)
Katie Taylor (IRE) 1.121/8 vs Sofya Ochigava (RUS) 8.615/2
Four times world champion and twice AIBA boxer of the year Katie Taylor is a firm favourite to take the gold in this bout, but it hasn't deterred opponent Sofya Ochigava from using every psychological mind game possible to try and sneak an advantage going into Thursday's final. Recently the hugely talented Russian southpaw has claimed that every boxer goes into fights with Katie Taylor 'already trailing by 10 points' due to judges' bias, but from a boxing neutrals point of view this would only be due to Taylor's boxing philosophy of accurate aggression and quick back-foot counters.
The 25-year-old Russian is a familiar foe of Taylor. Ochigava controversially ended Taylor's 42 bout, undefeated streak at the Usti nad Labem Gran Prix back in 2010, but since then Taylor has developed herself into the women to beat in this division. Taylor's lightening quick style proved too much for British hopeful Natasha Jones in the quarter finals where she took a comfortable 26-15 victory and a similar display of dominance wouldn't be surprising in the final against the Russian. The crowd will again play a part in this fight, but regardless of this factor Taylor has proved to be a cut above the rest and should secure Ireland their first Gold medal of London 2012.
Women's Middle (75kg)
Claressa Shields (USA) 1.351/3 vs Nadezda Torlopova (RUS) 3.7511/4
Teenager Claressa Shields, who wasn't old enough to fight in the Olympics until March, will be fighting for a gold medal on Thursday after outpointing Kazakhstan's Marina Volnova, 29-15, in a bruising middleweight semi-final. Her opponent Nadezda Torlopova defeated Li Jinzi 12-10 in a less than impressive semi-final but will still be heading into the final as favourite and number two seed for the tournament.
The experienced Russian will not have it easy coming up against self proclaimed 'Baby Robinson', named after the infamous Sugar Ray Robinson. Shields who is as hard hitting as they come for her age has the boxing hopes of a nation on her shoulders, after the American men's team have failed to win a medal for the first time in Olympic history.
Torlopova's muscular physique and long left jab could prove to be problematic to Shield's chances, and I suspect that if the Russian starts quickly, her combination punches could prove vital in breaking the Americans low, inexperienced guard. This will be a close encounter with everything being decided on the final round, but I expect Torlopova's 16 year experience over Shields to be a crucial factor. The American will have to provide the best performance of her short career to win gold, but of all the middleweight contenders she defiantly deserves her chance to topple over Torlopova.