(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) added another award to her growing resume as the 18-year-old was named the American Boxing Confederation’s 2012 Female Athlete of the Year. Shields won the first Olympic gold medal in women’s boxing for the Americas the past summer in London. She joins 2012 Male Athlete of the Year, Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba in winning the award.
Shields enjoyed quite the run in 2012, winning national and international tournaments throughout the year in impressive fashion. She opened the year with a run through the Olympic Trials, defeating four opponents by a combined 108-64 margin to take the first-ever Olympic Trials for Women’s Boxing title at only 16. Shields defeated the first of four former or current world champions at the event, beating Andrecia Wasson on her way to the Olympic Trials title.
She then moved on to her first international tournament, the Women’s Continental Championships, where she faced her fellow competitors in the American Boxing Confederation. Shields continued her winning streak over World Champions in the tournament, upending tournament favorite Mary Spencer of Canada and Brazil’s Roseli Feitosa on her way to her first international gold medal.
Shields went on to qualify internationally for the Olympic Games at the 2012 World Championships despite her first career loss to eventual World Champion Savannah Marshall of England. The teenager rebounded from her only loss with a run through the 2012 Olympic Games, the first-ever for Women’s Boxing. Once again, Shields defeated her opponents in dominating fashion, winning her bouts by a combined 66-41 total. The Flint Northwestern High School student stamped her place in the history books with a victory over a Russian foe nearly twice her age in the finals to take Olympic gold.
After her eventful summer, Shields returned to school for her senior year and has continued her run through the sport, winning a second straight National PAL title in October. She currently has her eyes set on a second gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and inspiring those in her local community.
Domingo B. Solano, President of the American Boxing Confederation, expressed the pride and satisfaction he feels for having such high level athletes in the Americas to whom he sends the most sincere congratulations.
USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).