(MAY 27) COLORADO SPRINGS,
COLO. - 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint,
Mich.) continued her incredible reign on Friday with a
championship bout victory at the 2016 Women's World
Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. Shields is the first
American female boxer ever to win two elite world titles and the
first U.S. boxer to claim consecutive world championships since
Eric Griffin in 1991 and 1993 prior to Shields' birth. American
heavyweight Shadasia Green (Newark, N.J.) earned a silver medal
in her first World Championships on Friday after falling to a
host nation boxer in their final round match-up.
Shields entered the ring on
Friday on a 47-bout winning streak with the only loss of her
illustrious career coming in the 2012 World Championships. Her
gold medal bout featured a showdown with number two tournament
seed Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. Fontijn held the height
advantage but as usual, nothing was going to derail the reigning
Olympic champion from her mission. She won her fourth unanimous
decision victory of the tournament over Fontijn in the
championship bout to claim her second elite world title. Shields
dominant performance in Kazakhstan also earned her the
Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament award.
"To be a two-time world champion feels great. I have never had
these emotions before and it was definitely overwhelming. It
made me feel so complete and happy in my heart. My confidence
never goes away. I'm just ready to train and get better for
Rio," Shields said. "This World Championships was different
because I was coming in as the reigning World Champion not just
the Olympic Gold medalist. I had a standard to uphold and that
was to dominate everyone."
Shields opened the tournament with a last second TKO victory
before taking four straight unanimous decisions en route to yet
another international gold medal. Since becoming the first
American female boxer to win the Olympic Games in 2012, Shields
has won a Youth World Championship, two Elite World
Championships, the 2015 Pan American Games and the Americas
Olympic Qualifier in addition to numerous national
championships. She has notched wins in 10 different countries
and the streak has reached across four continents.
She has clearly established herself as the most dominant female
boxer in the world and only two athletes in the men's division,
Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez (lightweight/132 lbs) and Julio La Cruz
(light heavyweight/178 lbs) have also won two elite world
championships in the last four years.
Although she has racked up every title possible, Shields is not
satisfied and still believes she has work to do before the
upcoming Olympic Games. "Between now and Rio I am going to just
get better," she said. "I am my biggest critic and I like to
acknowledge my mistakes and fix them. I am in great shape and
adding more tools to my arsenal so I can dominate in the
Green competed in the final bout of the tournament on Friday at
the Barys Arena and the international newcomer entered the ring
to a rowdy hometown crowd cheering on her opponent Laszzat
Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan. The American boxer dropped a 3-0
decision in their gold medal bout, giving her a silver medal in
her first major international competition.
In addition to Shields and Green, light flyweight Marlen Esparza
(Houston, Texas), bantamweight Christina Cruz (New York, N.Y.),
and light heavyweight Franchon Crews (Baltimore, Md.) all won
bronze medals in the event bringing the U.S. medal total to
five. Team USA finished third in overall medal standings with
only host nation Kazakhstan and China taking home more hardware
from the event.
Coaches Billy Walsh (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Israel Acosta
(Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benny Roman (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the U.S.
team in Kazakhstan.
For photos from the event, go to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aibaboxing/.
U.S. Championship Round Results
165 lbs/75 kg: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA, dec. Nouchka
Fontijn, NED, 3-0
178+ lbs/81+ kg: Lazzat Kungeibayeva, KAZ, dec. Shadasia Green,
Newark, N.J./USA, 3-0
Shields Road to Gold
Finals: Claressa Shields, Flint, MIch./USA, dec. Nouchka Fontijn,
Semifinals: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Nien Chin
Chen, TPE, 3-0
Quarterfinals: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Violleta
Knyazeva, KAZ, 3-0
Second round: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Nafisakhon
Askarova, UZB, 3-0
First round: Claressa Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec. Sarah
Scheurich, GER, TKO-4