Olympics’ 17-year-old Boxing Sensation
Olympics’ 17-year-old Boxing Sensation, It’s America’s only hope for boxing gold, and the fighter is being compared to a boxing great. Claressa Shields gives U.S. boxing a puncher’s chance at gold medal, Big talk from boxers is not a new phenomenon. In all too many cases, the punch does not live up to the publicity. Claressa Shields, though, might be a little different.
A 17-year-old middleweight from Flint, Michigan, Shields has so far backed up her tough talk with flying fists and is now just one victory away from an Olympic gold medal.
It takes a certain kind of sass for any fighter to call themselves “Baby Robinson” – after Sugar Ray Robinson, perhaps the greatest boxer in history. But Shields believes she is ready to parlay Olympic success into mainstream stardom.
“That is what I like to call myself, ‘Baby Robinson,’” Shields said. “I feel like I fight like him. I believe I can beat anybody. It feels pretty good to be at this point, but I won’t be celebrating. I just need to go get that gold medal now.”
Shields’s success has been in stark contrast to the disappointment suffered by the U.S. men’s program, which failed to claim a single medal for the first time in its Olympic history.
While Shields has a powerful physique and solid technical skills, much of her success can be attributed to her pugnacious attitude. A semifinal victory over Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova on Wednesday was a perfect example. Shields wasn’t afraid to slug it out with her older and more experienced opponent. Nor was she afraid to also trade some verbal jabs between rounds.
A final scoreline of 29-15 in Shields’s favor was a fair reflection of a one-sided fight, with Volnova receiving a standing eight-count from the referee on two separate occasions. Shields will now face second-seed Nadezda Torlopova of Russia in Thursday’s final. And she’s confident of delivering a gold medal that would do wonders for her profile if she intends to embark upon a pro career following the Olympics.