LONDON — Katie Taylor stepped through the ropes and into the madness, beaming at thousands of flag-waving, face-painted Irish fans raucously celebrating her Olympic boxing victory.
The pound-for-pound world champion clenched her fists and roared right back at them.
The debut women’s tournament stopped being just historic and started getting passionate in the quarterfinals Monday.
‘‘It’ll only be a relief if I’m on the top of the podium with the gold medal and nothing else,’’ the Irish lightweight said after riding a dazzling swell of fan support to a 26-15 win over Britain’s Natasha Jonas.
But boxing fans seemed thrilled after the second straight day of highly entertaining, evenly matched bouts in a sport that was banned in Britain until 1996.
Flyweight Marlen Esparza and middleweight Claressa Shields also clinched the US team’s first two boxing medals in London. Esparza patiently outboxed Venezuela’s Karlha Magliocco, and the 17-year-old Shields closed furiously in an 18-14 win over Swedish veteran Anna Laurell.
Women’s boxing pioneer Mary Kom of India and Britain’s Nicola Adams also secured medals.
Top-seeded flyweight Ren Cancan of China advanced, but top-seeded British middleweight Savannah Marshall was upset by Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova, Shields’ next opponent.
Esparza, the 23-year-old Cover Girl model from Houston, restored respectability to the American team, which hadn’t won a bout inside the ring in eight days. The men had lost eight consecutive fights before welterweight Errol Spence’s apparent loss last week was overturned by amateur boxing’s governing body on appeal.
Shields, from Flint, Mich., rallied from a second-round deficit against Laurell, who fought at the first women’s world championships 11 years ago.
‘‘I definitely don’t feel like I fight like a girl,’’ Shields said. ‘‘I’m boxing out there. I just happen to hit hard.’’
Second-seeded Nadezda Torlopova of Russia won the final middleweight fight, and the grateful crowd gave one last ovation.
‘‘When you see women’s boxing at the highest level, after this kind of a performance, I don’t know how you can argue we don’t belong in the Olympics,’’ Jonas said.
For the men, lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine clinched his second Olympic boxing medal with a 14-9 victory over Puerto Rico’s Felix Verdejo, and middleweight Vijender Singh was eliminated in the biggest blow yet to the beleaguered Indian team.
Middleweight Anthony Ogogo ensured the powerful British team would win its third medal of its home Olympic tournament. Super heavyweight Anthony Joshua clinched a fourth in the night’s final bout, knocking down China’s Zhang Zhilei in a 15-11 win.
Evaldas Petrauskas secured Lithuania’s first-ever Olympic boxing medal, beating Italy’s Domenico Valentino in a 16-14 upset.
Valentino’s teammate, defending gold medalist Roberto Cammarelle, barely survived his quarterfinal super heavyweight bout, edging Morocco’s Mohammed Arjaoui, 12-11.