Claressa Shields is back Saturday night headlining a Salita Promotions card on DAZN. Shields takes on late replacement Maricela Cornejo instead of a rematch with Hanna Gabriels after she was removed from the fight following results from a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test.
Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Shields was introduced to boxing by her father, Bo Shields, who had previously competed in underground leagues. Though initially hesitant to let his daughter pursue the sport, Bo’s conversation about legendary boxer Laila Ali sparked Claressa’s interest and fuelled her determination to break through gender stereotypes.
Shields began her boxing journey at the age of eleven, training under the guidance of coach and trainer Jason Crutchfield at Berston Field House in Flint. Her talent quickly became evident as she claimed two Junior Olympic championships and triumphed at the National Police after Athletic League Championships in 2011.
In 2012, Shields made history as the youngest boxer at the U.S. Olympic Trials and went on to secure her spot at the first-ever women’s boxing event at the Olympic Games. Her extraordinary skills and determination led her to win the gold medal in the women’s middleweight division, making her the first American woman to achieve this feat.
But Shields’ journey didn’t end there. She continued to excel in the amateur ranks, capturing gold medals at the World Championships and the Pan American Games. Her back-to-back Olympic gold medal wins in 2012 and 2016 solidified her status as a boxing sensation and the first American boxer, male or female, to accomplish such an incredible achievement.
In November 2016, Shields made the bold decision to turn professional. Her pro career began with a resounding victory over Franchón Crews-Dezurn. She then, in just her fourth fight, became a World Champion in 2017. Shields defeated Germany’s Nikki Adler to with a 5th round stoppage to claim both the WBC and IBF Super Middleweight straps.
In 2019 she defeated Christina Hammer and became the Undispiuted champion of the the Middleweight division. In her last fight last year, in the UK, she became the first boxer, male or female, to hold Undisputed titles over 3 weight divisions when she beat Savannah Marshall.
Claressa was out to exact revenge for her sole loss in her incredible amateur career when she took on Marshall. Savananah was the only fighter to defeat her in her 65 fights before she turned pro but Shields came out on top in the pros with a unanimous points win.
As of October 2022, Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) remains the world’s best active female middleweight, as recognized by BoxRec. ESPN and The Ring also rank her as the best active female boxer, pound for pound, further solidifying her status as an elite athlete.
By Lee Browne