Claressa Shields just became the first U.S. fighter, and African-American fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s boxing. It was America’s first women’s Olympic boxing event.
At sixteen years old, Shields held a 19-0 record. Nicknamed the “16-year old sensation,” Shields, who is now 17, has been compared to Muhammad Ali for her arrogance in the ring. The middleweight is inspired by Sugar Ray Robinson but learned to box from her father, who took her to the gym when he was released from prison.
The teenager from Flint, Michigan beat Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova in a 19-12 win to take home the gold. She received a warm welcome from Michigan state legislators after returning home from the games. Just yesterday, the Flint County Board of Commissioners named August 29th “Claressa Shields Day.”
Ironically, Shields will present the boxing icon Muhammad Ali, with whom she’s been compared, with the 2012 Liberty Medal next month in Philadelphia. Shields will accompany other medalists at the ceremony. It was rumored that Shields turned down an opportunity to meet President Barack Obama to present Ali with the medal that was once received by Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Colin Powell and Steven Spielberg.
Shields will return to Berston to continue her training. Her next event to defend her title is the 38th annual National Police Athletic League Championships in Toledo, OH in October.