Reigning Olympic middleweight champion Claressa Shields continued her string of dominance in women’s boxing, winning gold at the AIBA 2016 Women’s Boxing World Championships Friday in Astana, Kazakhstan. Combined with her Olympic gold medal from women’s boxing’s debut in 2012 and her inaugural world title in 2014, Shields becomes the first U.S. boxer to earn three combined world or Olympic titles.
Team USA’s Shadasia Green also claimed a silver medal in the heavyweight category Friday.
In what may have been a preview of the gold-medal bout in Rio this August, world No. 1 Shields defeated Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands 3-0 for the middleweight (75 kg.) division title.
The win sends a clear message that Shields is primed to make more boxing history. If she can successfully defend her Olympic title, she will become the first American boxer, male or female, to win a gold medal in back-to-back Olympic Games. She now has completed an undefeated quadrennium – the only loss in her career came when she was 17 years old, at the world championships prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Along the way she picked up the 2014 world title, a youth world championship in 2013 and gold from the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games.
In the heavyweight (81+ kg.) division, Green won her first world championship medal Friday. She faced a tall task against Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and was boxing before her countrymen in the tournament’s final bout. Green fell by a 3-0 score to bring home the silver medal.
A former McDonald’s All-America nominee, Green took up boxing as cross-training for basketball at the age of 15. She played three seasons at Old Dominion University, where she started all 33 games her final season and ranked third on the team in both scoring (10.7 points per game) and rebounding (5.3 rebounds per game).
U.S. boxers bring home a total of five medals from Astana. Along with Shields’ gold and Green’s silver, bronze medals were won by Marlen Esparza (light flyweight), Christina Cruz (bantamweight) and Franchon Crews (light heavyweight).
Shields and lightweight Mikaela Mayer will compete in women’s boxing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The United States was not able to earn a spot in the third Olympic weight division, flyweight.