Claressa Shields sets women’s boxing ablaze
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields is tearing through the women’s boxing industry at an unprecedented rate.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields was the women’s middleweight gold medalist at two different Olympic games. Her first victory came at the 2012 London Olympics and she won the gold again in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The 25-year-old rising star has been boxing since she began training with her father, who was a former amateur fighter, at 11 years old.
Her father was released from a seven-year stint in prison when she was nine years old. The two immediately developed a strong bond and her father told her how much he regretted going down the path that he did. He also told her of the sport that he used to excel at, and that is where her passion for boxing was born.
“One day, he would just tell me how he wished that he would've never gone to prison, 'cause he would've done what he loved,” said Shields. “I said, 'What was that?' And he said, 'Boxing,”.
In an interview with BBC, she recalls her father’s negative reaction to her wanting to pick up boxing, which had been influenced by her father telling her stories of Laila Ali, which inspired her towards the sport.
“My dad said: ‘No! Boxing is a man's sport, and you're too pretty to box.’” said Shields. “I said, 'What the hell are you talking about? I'm not going to be a model. I'm not going to be a singer. I'm going to be some type of athlete - and I want to be a boxer.’”
Her father eventually conceded and even paid for Shields’ first year of boxing. She would go on to represent the United States at the 2012 Olympics, where she won her first gold medal, less than six years later. She then became the first American to win women’s boxing titles at both the Olympic Games and the Pan-American Games, the latter of which she won in 2015.
Her next career highlight was becoming the first American boxer to win consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. She accomplished this feat after winning her second medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
Shields officially went pro in November of 2016. After going undefeated through nine fights over the next three years, she rose to become one of only eight boxers in history to hold each of the four major title belts, four of which are women.
Shields is still undefeated to this day. Her most recent victory over Ivana Habazin in January made Shields the fastest boxer to win titles in three different weight classes.
It was recently announced that Shields’ next opponent will be IBF Light Middleweight Champion Marie-Eve Dicaire. The fight has been postponed due to problems arising from finding a viable venue due to COVID-19, but it will reportedly be rescheduled as soon.
"We are working to finalize the final details, such as the date and location of the fight,” said Mark Taffett, Shield’s co-manager. “The broadcaster, Showtime, will have the final say.”
Despite having a pristine record of 17-0, Dicaire is seen by some to be an easy fight for Shields, who has been on the warpath through the ranks of women’s boxing. If Shields wins, she will be one belt away from being the undisputed champion of two divisions.