Kreps in Russia tuning up for Olympic qualifying

Contributed PhotoNiagara Falls native Mikiah Kreps, front right, poses with USA Boxing's High Performance Team, which spent the past two weeks training in Berlin. Kreps and the team are now in Russia competing in the Women's World Boxing Championships.

Mikiah Kreps has had her sights set on the 2020 Olympics for a few years now. Suddenly, her road to Tokyo is hitting the home stretch.

The 23-year-old Niagara Falls native has been training nearly nonstop for the last month. She took part in a pair of two-week training camps in September, first at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and then in Germany's Olympiastützpunkt Berlin.

This weekend, Kreps returns to competition as one of 10 fighters representing the United States in the International Boxing Association's Women's World Boxing Championships, a 10-day tournament in Ulan-Ude, Russia.

When she returns home, Kreps will head to Oxnard, California for a November qualifier that would punch her ticket to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in December.

Though this week's tournament won't directly affect her standing for Team USA, Kreps is hoping to carry a strong showing into qualifying.

"I know when I go out there and fight like I know how to there’s nothing/nobody that can stand in my way," she said in a text. "I’m 100% physically and mentally prepared. Even though this is the biggest tournament of my life.. it’s just another fight for me. I’m taking it one fight at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time."

Kreps, who won the National Golden Gloves title at 125 pounds in May, qualified for the World Championships at 119 pounds and will fight there this week. She will then move back up to 125 for Olympic qualifying. She opens Friday against Ferangiz Khoshimova of Uzbekistan and will need five wins to claim the title.

Win or lose this week, Kreps likes her chances of making the 2020 team.

"My chances of 2020 are very high," she said. "I’ve dedicated my whole life to boxing and work so hard day in and day out. I believe in myself 100% that I can achieve anything I put my mind to."

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