Every so often an athlete comes along who is considered special. An athlete who gets talked about by everyone involved in the sport. In the past, it has been the norm for the majority of these athletes to be male, but the sport of boxing doesn??t follow the norm. And that??s why one of the hottest properties in the industry right now is Claressa Shields.
But what do we know about her, and her magnificent rise through the ranks to become known as one of the best female boxers right now?
Claressa Shields: The early years
Born and raised in Flint, Michigan on the 17th March 1995, Claressa Shields was introduced to the sport by her father Bo, who was a well known boxer in underground leagues. It wouldn??t be until later in her childhood though that he managed to get her into the sport, because he spent around seven years of Claressa Shields?? life in prison, before he was released when she was nine years old.
It was then he inspired her by educating her about Laila Ali, the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali. And soon after that, at the age of 11, she enrolled in boxing lessons at Berston Field House, a local community center.
This was where she then met the man who still coaches her to this day, Jason Crutchfield, who would help Claressa chase her dreams. Dreams that were
inspired by her grandmother, who encouraged her to not let people dictate what she could and couldn??t do because of her gender.
Climbing the ranks
With Crutchfield in her corner, Claressa Shields?? quickly climbed the ranks at youth level, and would eventually go on to win two Junior Olympic championships. Following those two victories, Shields would then go on to compete in the National Police Athletic League Championships, her first open-division tournament. It was here that she claimed the middleweight title, and was crowned as the top overall fighter. Gaining requalification into the US Olympic Trials.
For a long time leading up to this, Claressa Shields was always talked about being an Olympic hopeful. With questions of whether she could make it or not in professional boxing as she grew up. But she was determined to prove a point,
with Shields stating: ??It would mean everything to me to get a spot so that people could stop calling me an ??Olympic hopeful??. I know I can do it. I??m telling everyone I will be there.??
And she wasn??t wrong, because at the 2012 Olympic Trials, she beat a whole host of talent to qualify for the Olympics. Not only did she beat the then reigning national champion, Franchón Crews-Dezurn, she also went on to beat the 2010 world champion, Andrecia Wasson, before dominating Tika Hemingway to win the middleweight class. That was followed by further victories against the three-time defending world champion Mary Spencer, which would take her record to 26-0.
However, Claressa Shields?? perfect record was tarnished when she lost against Savannah Marshall from Hartlepool, England. Also known as the sporting cousin of esports journalist and streamer, Stuart “Stubat” Hannon. Despite that loss though, she still managed to qualify despite a change of rules that would make qualifying a tougher task by requiring her to finish top two in the North, Central and South American Boxing Confederation, when previously a top-8 finish would have sufficed .
From Olympic hopeful to Olympic Champion
Having qualified for the London Olympics in 2012, She went on to dominate the tournament. Beating a number of up-and-coming fighters, which ended with her beating the Russian boxer, Nadezda Torlopova by decision with the contest being scored 19-12. And four years later, she would go on to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals at middleweight, the first American boxer to do so, when she won against the dutch boxer Nouchka Fontijn.
Between those two years, she also won gold at the 2014 and 2016 World Championships in the middleweight division, as well as gold in the 2015 Pan American Games (PAG) in the light heavyweight division. Becoming the first American to win titles in women??s boxing at both the Olympics and the PAG.
It was following this that she decided to go professional, ending her amateur career with 77 wins, 19 by way of knockout, and just that one loss she experienced to Savannah Marshall.
After deciding to go professional, it was a whole new challenge that Claressa Fields faced. But it is one she would relish and excel in. To this day, her professional record stands at 11 wins, two by way of knockout, and zero losses. In her professional career, she has held numerous world championships across three different weight classes, and still holds the undisputed light middleweight title. She also held the undisputed female middleweight title, and in the super middleweight division unified the WBC and IBF titles.
She achieved all this in record time, making her the quickest boxer to become a two and three-weight world champion. And not only that, she was also the only boxer, from both female and male boxing, to simultaneously hold all four major world titles in two different weight classes. How long that will be for with some of the talent around now though, who knows.
What next for Claressa Shields?
There are a number of options next for Claressa Shields, with one of the most in-demand calls being for
Shields to take on Katie Taylor. However, Taylor already has a fight lined up with Amanda Serrano, and it??s being dubbed the biggest fight in female boxing, with one of the biggest payouts in the history of the sport lined up for the two fighters.
She will no doubt want to take on whoever it is that wins the megafight though, with both boxers holding a number of titles already. First though, she has a bout lined up in February 2022 to face the undefeated Russian, Ema Kozin in Cardiff, Wales. It??sa close fight, but as it stands, Shields is the favorite to win at odds of -110, with Kozin +250. You can find legal and safe sportsbooks to place your boxing bets at
If Shields does come out on top of that bout, which won??t be an easy contest by any stretch of the imagination, her next match after that is already lined up. An exciting fight that will see a rematch to the only fighter to ever beat her at amateur level, England??s Savannah Marshall. The question is can Claressa claim redemption second-time around, or will Marshall add the IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight championships to her current WBO title?
That will be another tough one to call, but we expect the Brit to be the favorite for that fight. She too is undefeated, and many opposition fighters have pulled out of fights with her, or avoided trying to fight her altogether, in fear for what she will do to them. She??sa ruthless fighter, and it will take something special to stop her. But if Shields takes the fight which is apparently pre-agreed to take place mid-2022, then she will surely be crowned as the best female boxer of her generation.
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