|Rated at||Middleweight, 165 pounds (75 kg)|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
March 17, 1995 |
Flint, Michigan, United States
|Wins by KO||18|
Claressa Shields (born March 17, 1995) is an American boxer. In August 2012 she became the first American woman to win a boxing gold medal at the London Olympic games. She won the Olympic middleweight title by defeating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19–12 in London.
In May 2012, she qualified to compete at the 2012 Olympics, in the first year that women's boxing was an Olympic event. Shields was the youngest boxer at the February 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, where she won the 165-pound weight class.
Shields was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where she is a high school junior as of May 2012. She was introduced to boxing by her father, Bo Shields, who had boxed in underground leagues. Bo was in prison beginning when Shields was two years old, and released when she was nine. After his release, he talked to her about boxer Laila Ali, piquing her interest in the sport, although Bo nevertheless believed that boxing was a men's sport and refused to allow Shields to pursue it until she was eleven. At that time, she began boxing at Berston Field House in Flint, where she met her coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield. Shields credits her grandmother with encouraging her not to accept restrictions based on her gender.
After winning two Junior Olympic championships, Shields competed in her first open-division tournament, the National Police Athletic League Championships, in fall 2011; she won the middleweight title and was named top overall fighter, as well as qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials. At the trials in February, she defeated the reigning national champion, Franchon Crews; the 2010 world champion, Andrecia Wasson; and Pittsburgh's Tika Hemingway to win the middleweight class. In April, she won her weight class at the Women's Elite Continental Championships in Cornwall, Ontario, against three-time defending world champion Mary Spencer of Canada; she held an undefeated record of 25 wins and 0 losses at that point.
Following Shields' victory at the U.S. Olympic trials, it was initially reported that she would need only a top-8 finish at the 2012 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, China, in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. On May 10, the day after the contest began but before Shields' first bout, a change to the rules was announced that meant Shields would need to place in the top two from the Americas. Shields won her first round, but suffered an upset loss in the second round on May 13 to Savannah Marshall of England, bringing Shields' record to 26-1. Her chances for qualification thus depended on Marshall's subsequent performance; after Marshall advanced to the middleweight finals on May 18, it was announced that Shields had earned an Olympic berth. She won a gold medal in the end, after beating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19–12.
- O'Riordan, Ian. "Women's boxing - in a New Yorker state of mind." IrishTimes.com, 5 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Boxer Claressa Shields could be Olympic teen star." Associated Press, 17 February 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Woodyard, Eric. "First amateur loss frustrates Flint boxer Claressa Shields, she expected a victory." Flint Journal, 15 May 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Rick Maese (August 12, 2012). "Claressa Shields wins only gold medal for U.S. boxing at London Olympics, and the first by a woman". Washington Post. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields, 17, qualifies for Olympics." Detroit Free Press, 18 May 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "Claressa Shields determined to make London Olympics." USA Today, 7 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields takes next step toward Olympics on Friday." Detroit Free Press, 10 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Parish, Christopher. "A fighting chance." ESPNHS.com, 7 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Straight Out of Flint: Girl Boxer Aims for Olympics." NPR, 27 February 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Blanchette, John. "Spotlight finds teen." The Spokesman-Review, 14 February 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Flint teen aims to be 1 of the first female boxers at Olympics." WDIV, 18 April 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields' path to Olympics changes course." Detroit Free Press, 11 May 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "Olympics boxing: Claressa Shields takes middleweight gold for USA". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 09-08-2012.
- Team USA: Claressa Shields
- The New York Times: Bout Time