Claressa Shields

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields - PopTech 2012.jpg
Shields with her Olympic gold medal in 2012
BornClaressa Maria Shields[1]
(1995-03-17) March 17, 1995 (age 23)
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Other namesT-Rex
ResidenceFlint, Michigan, U.S.
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)[2]
Reach68 in (173 cm)
TrainerJohn David Jackson
Years active2016–present
Professional boxing record
By knockout2
Amateur record
By knockout19
Other information
Boxing record from BoxRec

Claressa Maria Shields (born March 17, 1995)[2] is an American professional boxer. She is currently a unified world champion in two weight classes, having held the IBF female super middleweight title since 2017, the WBA and IBF female middleweight titles since June 2018, and the WBC female super middleweight title since November 2018; previously she held the WBC female super middleweight title from 2017 to 2018. Shields has held the Women Boxing Archive Network super middleweight title since January 2018.

As an amateur, Shields won a gold medal in the women's middleweight division at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, making her the first American boxer—female or male—to win consecutive Olympic medals.[3] Shields was the youngest boxer at the February 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning the event in the 165 lb (75 kg) middleweight division.[4][5][6] In May, she qualified for the 2012 games, the first year in which women's boxing was an Olympic event,[7] and went on to become the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing.[8] In 2018, the Boxing Writers Association of America named her the Female Fighter of the Year.

Early life[edit]

Shields was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where she was a high school junior in May 2012.[4][5] She was introduced to boxing by her father, Bo Shields, who had boxed in underground leagues.[5][9] Bo was in prison from the time 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,[10] although Bo nevertheless believed that boxing was a men's sport and refused to allow Shields to pursue it until she was eleven.[5][9][11] At that time she began boxing, often to the dismay of the Beary-Hands, at Berston Field House in Flint, where she met her coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield.[9] Shields credits her grandmother with encouraging her to not accept restrictions based on her gender.[5]

Amateur career[edit]

Shields (left) vs. Yenebier Guillén Benítez, 2015

After winning two Junior Olympic championships, Shields competed in her first open-division tournament, the National Police Athletic League Championships 2011; she won the middleweight title and was named top overall fighter and also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials.[2][12] At the 2012 Olympic Trials, she defeated the reigning national champion, Franchon Crews, the 2010 world champion, Andrecia Wasson, and Pittsburgh's Tika Hemingway to win the middleweight class.[2][5] In April 2011, 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.[5][9][13]

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.[6] 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 (North, Central, and South) American Boxing Confederation region of AIBA (AMBC).[14] 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.[15] 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. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she won the gold medal in the women's middleweight division after beating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19–12.[7][16]

In 2014, Shields won the World Championship gold medal[17], and the following year, she became the first American to win titles in women's boxing at the Olympics and Pan American Games.[18]

Shields won the gold medal at the 2016 AMBC Olympic Qualifying tournament in Argentina.[19] Later that year at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, she won the gold medal in the women's middleweight division by defeating Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. She was the only gold medalist from the American team and was awarded the inaugural women's division of the Val Barker Trophy at the competition.[20] Her back-to-back Olympic gold medal wins made her the first American boxer—female or male—to win consecutive Olympic titles.[21]

Her amateur boxing record was 77 wins (19 by knockout[15][22][23]) and 1 loss.[24][25]

Professional career[edit]

In November 2016, Shields officially went pro. She won her first match, against Franchon Crews, by unanimous decision.[26]

On March 10, 2017 she faced Szilvia Szabados for the North American Boxing Federation middleweight title, and won. This was the main event on ShoBox, with a regional title fight between Antonio Nieves and Nikolai Potapov serving as the co-main event.[27] It was the first time a women's boxing bout was the main event on a United States premium network card.[28][29]

On June 16, 2017, Shields headlined the "Detroit Brawl," facing Sydney LeBlanc in her first scheduled eight-round bout. LeBlanc signed on with three days notice, after Mery Rancier dropped out due to visa issues.[30][31] Shields won the bout by decision after all eight rounds.[32]

On August 4, 2017, Shields defeated defending champ Nikki Adler in Detroit for the WBC super-middleweight belt and the vacant IBF super-middleweight belt. The fight was on Showtime.[33]

On January 12, 2018, Shields retained her WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles, and won the WBAN Super Middleweight title by defeating 17-0 Tori Nelson. It was Shields' first time going all 10 rounds in her professional career.[34][35][36]

On June 22, 2018, Shields defeated Hanna Gabriels by unanimous decision, winning the vacant World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation middleweight belts. During Round 1, she experienced the first knock down of her professional career. She dropped down from 168 pounds to 160 for the fight. This was her first fight with trainer John David Jackson, having worked with Jason Crutchfield for the previous 5.[37][38]

On December 8, 2018, Shields' fight aired on HBO, her first appearance on the network, and the very last boxing match to occur on HBO as well. [39]

Personal life[edit]

While growing up in Flint, Michigan, Shields was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriends. Shields was baptized at age 13 (two years after she began boxing) and began attending a local church. She found strength in her Christian faith and eventually left home.[40]

Shields attempted to adopt her cousin's daughter in 2014.[41]

Shields is an ambassador for Up2Us Sports, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting underserved youth by providing them with coaches trained in positive youth development.[42]


Shields is the subject of the 2015 documentary "T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold."[43][44] In 2016 Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast, which holds Olympic broadcast rights in the United States, acquired the rights to produce a film about her life story.[45] Barry Jenkins is the screenwriter.[46]

Shields will be acting in the Susan Seidelman-directed film Punch Me.[47]

In 2018, Shields acted in a Walmart ad directed by Dee Rees.[48][49]


In 2017, Shields won the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Award for "Biggest Powerhouse." [50] In 2018, Shields was inducted into the USA Boxing Alumni Association's Hall of Fame.[51]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
8 fights 8 wins 0 losses
By knockout 2 0
By decision 6 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
8 Win 8–0 Germany Femke Hermans UD 10 Dec 8, 2018 United States StubHub Center, Carson, California, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and IBF female middleweight titles
7 Win 7–0 United Kingdom Hannah Rankin UD 10 Nov 17, 2018 United States Kansas Star Arena, Mulvane, Kansas, U.S. Retained WBA and IBF female middleweight titles;
Won vacant WBC female middleweight title
6 Win 6–0 Costa Rica Hanna Gabriel UD 10 Jun 22, 2018 United States Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won vacant WBA and inaugural IBF female middleweight titles
5 Win 5–0 United States Tori Nelson UD 10 Jan 12, 2018 United States Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, New York, U.S. Retained WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles;
Won WBAN super middleweight title
4 Win 4–0 Germany Nikki Adler TKO 5 (10), 1:34 Aug 4, 2017 United States MGM Grand, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won WBC and vacant inaugural IBF female super middleweight titles
3 Win 3–0 United States Sydney LeBlanc UD 8 Jun 16, 2017 United States Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won vacant WBC Silver female super middleweight title
2 Win 2–0 Hungary Szilvia Szabados TKO 4 (6), 1:30 Mar 10, 2017 United States MGM Grand, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won vacant NABF female middleweight title
1 Win 1–0 United States Franchon Crews UD 4 Nov 19, 2016 United States T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.


  1. ^ Chappell, Bill. "Claressa Maria Shields of the U.S. celebrates her gold medal win over Nouchka Fontijn", August 21, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Boxer Claressa Shields could be Olympic teen star." Associated Press, February 17, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Claressa Shields Successfully Defends Her Olympic Title".
  4. ^ a b O'Riordan, Ian. "Women's boxing – in a New Yorker state of mind.", May 5, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Claressa Shields determined to make London Olympics." USA Today, May 7, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields takes next step toward Olympics on Friday."[permanent dead link] Detroit Free Press, May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields, 17, qualifies for Olympics." Detroit Free Press, May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  8. ^ Maese, Rick (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.
  9. ^ a b c d Parish, Christopher. "A fighting chance.", May 7, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  10. ^ "Claressa Shields: From poverty & abuse to boxing greatness". BBC Sport. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "Straight Out of Flint: Girl Boxer Aims for Olympics." NPR, February 27, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  12. ^ Blanchette, John. "Spotlight finds teen." The Spokesman-Review, February 14, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "Flint teen aims to be 1 of the first female boxers at Olympics."[permanent dead link] WDIV, April 18, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  14. ^ Barnas, Jo-Ann. "Flint boxer Claressa Shields' path to Olympics changes course." Detroit Free Press, May 11, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Woodyard, Eric. "First amateur loss frustrates Flint boxer Claressa Shields, she expected a victory." Flint Journal, May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  16. ^ "Olympics boxing: Claressa Shields takes middleweight gold for USA". Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  17. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (November 20, 2014). "Claressa Shields wins first World Championships bout in 11 seconds (video)".
  18. ^ "Flint's Claressa Shields to serve as flag bearer at Pan-Am close".
  19. ^ "Flint boxer Claressa Shields wins gold at 2016 Americas Qualifier in Argentina".
  20. ^ "Golden again! Flint's Claressa Shields defends Olympic boxing title". Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  21. ^ "Claressa Shields Successfully Defends Her Olympic Title".
  22. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (July 24, 2015). "Claressa Shields: I would fight Ronda Rousey".
  23. ^ "Hundreds attend Flint premiere of Claressa Shields 'T-Rex' documentary".
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Niyo: Flint's Claressa Shields fighting for her future".
  26. ^ Coppinger, Mike (2016-11-19). "Flint's Claressa Shields wins easily in pro boxing debut in Las Vegas". Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  27. ^ Baca, Michael (2014-06-20). "Antonio Nieves and Nikolai Potapov to clash March 10, on 'ShoBox' - The Ring". Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  28. ^ 12:33 PM ET. "Claressa Shields returns home to headline ShoBox event". Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Four to watch: With faith, these Olympians run the races set before them". October 6, 2016.
  41. ^ "With her life in order, Claressa Shields has eye on second Olympic gold in Rio". World Magazine. October 25, 2015. Archived from the original on August 14, 2016.
  42. ^ "Documentary about Claressa Shields comes to Flint Institute of Arts". ABC 12. August 4, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  43. ^ "T-Rex". June 24, 2016 – via IMDb.
  44. ^ "T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold - Documentary about Olympic Boxer Claressa Shields - Independent Lens - PBS".
  45. ^ Niyo, John (3 August 2016). "Niyo: Flint's Claressa Shields fighting for her future". The Detroit News. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  46. ^
  47. ^ Eric Woodyard | "Looking ahead to what's next for Claressa Shields". Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
New title NABF female middleweight champion
March 10, 2017 – August 2017
WBC Silver female
super middleweight champion

June 16, 2017 – August 4, 2017
Won world title
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Nikki Adler
WBC female
super middleweight champion

August 4, 2017 – September 2018
Title next held by
Franchon Crews Dezurn
Inaugural champion IBF female
super middleweight champion

August 4, 2017 – present
Title last held by
Teresa Perozzi
WBA female
middleweight champion

June 22, 2018 – present
Inaugural champion IBF female
middleweight champion

June 22, 2018 – present
Title last held by
Christina Hammer
WBC female
middleweight champion

November 17, 2018 – present
Cecilia Brækhus
BWAA Female Fighter of the Year