July 26, 2012; London, GBR; USA women's middleweight Claressa Shields from Flint, MI trains with her teammates in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games at the SCORE training facility. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Claressa Shields of Team USA is a bad, bad lady and now she'll be taking an Olympic gold medal back to Flint, Michigan. At 17 years old, Shields has plenty of talent and emerged as one of the biggest stars in the first year of women's boxing at the Games alongside Katie Taylor of Ireland.
Taylor won gold earlier in the day in the lightweight (132 pound) division with a 10-8 win over Russia's Sofya Ochigava. Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook talked about Taylor's popularity at the games:
The most popular boxer at the 2012 Olympics in London wasn't a male fighter, and wasn't even British. When Irish lightweight Katie Taylor was in the ring in the ExCel Arena, it might as well have been Dublin. Support for Taylor was enormous in all of her bouts, recalling most recently the rowdy crowds that would follow Ricky Hatton anywhere, turning any arena into Manchester.
While Taylor brought the crowd for her gold medal run, Shields brought the violence en route to the middleweight gold.
Taylor became a star in the semi-finals, putting on a violent show against Marina Volnova.
17-year-old Claressa Shields of the United States won the middleweight gold medal in women's boxing today in London, beating Russia's Nadezda Torlopova, 19-12. It's the only gold medal that any American boxer has won since Andre Ward in 2004.
Shields, the teenager from Flint, Mich., with prodigious talent and true star quality, may indeed wind up leading a surge of interest in women's boxing in the States. She's got skills, punching in combination like nobody else we saw in London, and a serious will to win.