By Mark Elezaj
Women’s boxing has come a long way over the years. We have seen many female fighters step into the ring, but how many have truly stolen the show? Yes you’ve had the likes of Laila Ali, Christy Martin and Ann Wolfe just to name a few, but has anyone truly stepped into the spotlight ever since?
The answer is yes!
Who you ask?
Claressa Maria Shields, the current unified world champion in two weight classes. She has 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. But her resume doesn’t just stop there. She previously held the WBC female super middleweight title from 2017 to 2018, and 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. She was the first American boxer, male or female, to ever win consecutive Olympic medals. She was also the youngest boxer at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning the event in the 165 lb middleweight division. She qualified for the 2012 games, the first year in which women’s boxing was an Olympic event. She was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. In 2018, the Boxing Writers Association named her the Female Fighter of the Year.
But Wait, There’s More.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she beat Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova, winning the gold medal in the women’s middleweight division.
In 2014, she won the World Championship gold medal. In 2015, she became the first American to win titles in women’s boxing at both the Olympics and Pan American Games.
In 2016, she won the gold medal at the AMBC Olympic Qualifying tournament in Argentina. Later that year, she competed in the Summer Olympics in Rio, where she won another gold medal in the women’s middleweight division after beating Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands.
Shields was the only gold medalist from the American team that year and was awarded the inaugural women’s division of the Val Barker Trophy at the competition.
Claressa Shields held an amateur boxing record of 77 wins (19 by knockout) and 1 loss.
Time To Turn Pro.
On November 2016, Shields officially went pro, winning her first match against Franchon Crews, by unanimous decision.
March 10, 2017 she beat Szilvia Szabados for the North American Boxing Federation middleweight title. Not only was this the main event on ShoBox, it was the first time a women’s boxing bout was the main event on a United States premium network card.
On June 16, 2017, she faced Sydney LeBlanc in her first scheduled eight round bout. Shields won by decision after going the distance.
Shields defeated champion Nikki Adler in Detroit for the WBC super-middleweight belt and the vacant IBF super-middleweight belt on On August 4, 2017.
On January 12, 2018, Shields defeated Tori Nelson to not only retain her WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles, but she also won the WBAN Super Middleweight title.
On June 22, 2018, Shields won the vacant World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation middleweight belts after she defeated Hanna Gabriels by unanimous decision. During this fight, Shields was knocked down for the first time in her career during Round 1.
So What’s Next?
Claressa Shields (8-0 2 KO’s), who owns three middleweight titles, has been a rising star in the sport. Her next fight is set for April 13, 2019 when she faces Christina Hammer (24-0 11 KO’s), the current WBO and WBC women’s champion, on Showtime, live from the Adrian Phillips Theater at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
~ The Fighting Voice ~