Stunnerbaby World: Claressa Shields


by Mz.Stunnerbaby | ARCHIVES

I was quite fascinated and inspired by all the world-class athletes that made the trip to the Summer Olympic Games in London, England to chase their dream of earning a gold medal. I must admit that I am truly a “girly girl” but was compelled to write a story on 17 year old boxing sensation Claressa Shields who punched her way from the mean streets of Flint, Michigan to the gold medal stand as the Women’s Middleweight Champion at London’s Summer Olympics. I truly admire Shields determination, commitment, drive and hard work to accomplish a once in a lifetime feature.Claressa Shields boxed her way to gold as the first American women to win a boxing gold medal at the London Olympic Games. The 5’9” 165 pound boxing machine won the Olympic middleweight title by defeating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19-12 in London. Her rise to boxing prominence started humbly as her father Bo Shields introduced her to boxing –once competing himself in underground boxing leagues. Bo landed in prison when Shields was two years old, and released when she celebrated her 9th birthday. After his release, inspired by boxer Laila Ali, he talked to his baby girl about the rewards of boxing. In a stunning admission, Bo believed that boxing was a men’s sport and refused to allow Shields to pursue her boxing career until she was eleven. She began boxing at Berston Field House in Flint, Michigan, where she caught the eye of her future coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield.

Claressa states… “I give much love to my grandmother who encouraged me never stop pursuing my dream and not accept restrictions in boxing based on being a girl in the men’s world of boxing!”

In May 2012, she qualified to compete at the 2012 Olympics, in the first year that women’s boxing was an Olympic event. Shields as the youngest boxer at the February 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, where she won the 165-pound weight class. 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 August 2012, Hundreds gathered in Flint, Michigan, to celebrate the return home of Olympian Claressa Shields. Shields had spent a long day traveling and being stuck in airports. And when her plane landed at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan she was greeted by loud and enthusiastic welcome home. Flint’s Northwestern High School marching band got together to celebrate its classmate. From the airport, Shields got into a limousine with a police escort, and traveled through town to the site (Berston Field House) where she learned to box.

If you drive the five miles through Flint that Shields’ limo took, you can witness the remains of what once was a thriving town. There are shuttered plants, and miles of vacant lots that provide a backdrop of despair. The city of just over 100,000 has seen more than 40 murders just this year.

“Who cares where you grew up? The challenge is to keep believing through insurmountable odds!” Bravo Claressa!


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