Shields in 2012
|Rated at||Middleweight, 165 lb (75 kg)|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
March 17, 1995 |
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
|Wins by KO||18|
Claressa Shields (born March 17, 1995) is an American boxer. In August 2012 she became the first U.S. 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.
In 2014, Shields won the World Championships.
In 2015, Shields became the first American to win titles in women's boxing at the Olympics and Pan American games.
In 2016, Shields won gold at 2016 Americas Qualifier in Argentina.
Shields adopted her cousin's daughter in 2014.
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