By Patrick Johnston
LONDON (Reuters) - The always controversial draw for the Olympic boxing tournament was praised on Friday for its fairness as the limited number of seeds ensured a number of mouthwatering bouts in the opening rounds.
International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Wu Ching-Kuo said there could be no complaints about the draw, involving 250 men in 10 weight categories and for the first time 36 women in three, in his opening comments before the two hour procedure.
"Always in the past the draw has been criticized for not being transparent, now everything is transparent," the Taiwanese told teams.
"I'm sure you will be satisfied with this process of official draw."
The women's flyweight category was the first to be conducted, with China's world champion Cancan Ren named number one seed, Britain's Nicola Adams named second seed and the remaining 10 boxers drawn randomly.
The lottery led to Cancan, who received a first-round bye, facing a likely bout with 2010 world champion Elena Savelyeva of Russia in the second round.
It appeared even tougher for the women's lightweight world champion, Katie Taylor of Ireland.
Ireland's best hope of a gold medal in London also received a bye and is guaranteed to face a highly regarded opponent in the second round when she takes on the winner of Britain's Natasha Jonas and American Queen Underwood.
"The draw has not been kind, but it has not been kind to all the other girls. No one wants to be in Katie's end of the draw," Taylor's father and coach Peter told reporters.
"Katie is prepared to box anyone, we don't mind who we are boxing. At the end of the day she is a four-times world champion because she has beaten everybody before."
In the men's categories, four seeds were named in the different weight categories but the tough looking bouts continued.
At light-welterweight, Brazil's reigning world champion Everton Lopes has a bye but then is likely to face 2009 champion Rosniel Iglesias Sotolongo.
At light-heavyweight respected duo Damien Hooper of Australia and American Marcus Browne clash in the first round.
The boxing starts at the Excel on Saturday with American Joseph Diaz Jr taking on Ukraine's Pavlo Ishchenko in the first of 12 men's bantamweight clashes which will be followed by a dozen men's middleweight bouts.
Women's boxing makes its eagerly anticipated Olympic debut on August 5.
(Editing by Alison Williams)
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