Claressa Shields

Last updated
Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields - PopTech 2012.jpg
Shields with her Olympic gold medal in 2012
BornClaressa Maria Shields [1]
(1995-03-17) 17 March 1995 (age 26)
Flint, Michigan, United States
Nickname(s)T-Rex
NationalityAmerican
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
Division
Reach68 in (173 cm) [2]
Style Boxing
Team Jackson Wink MMA Academy (MMA)
Years active2021–present
Professional boxing record
Total11
Wins11
By knockout2
Mixed martial arts record
Total1
Wins1
By knockout1
Losses0
Other information
Boxing record from BoxRec
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Claressa Maria Shields [1] (born March 17, 1995) is an American professional boxer and mixed martial artist. [3] She has held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including the undisputed female light middleweight title since March 2021; the undisputed female middleweight title from 2019 to 2020; and the unified WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles from 2017 to 2018. Shields currently holds the record for becoming a two and three-weight world champion in the fewest professional fights. [4] As of November 2020, she is ranked as the world's best active female light middleweight by The Ring [5] and BoxRec, [6] as well as the best active female boxer, pound for pound, by Lineal Boxing Champion [7] and ESPN, [8] second by The Ring, [5] and fourth by BoxRec. [9]

Contents

Shields is the only boxer in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing—WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO—simultaneously, in two weight classes. She is the first woman to win lineal championships in two weight classes. [10]

In a decorated amateur career, Shields won gold medals in the women's middleweight division at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, making her the first American boxer—female or male—to win consecutive Olympic medals. [11] Shields was the youngest boxer at the February 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning the event in the 165 lb (75 kg) middleweight division. [12] [13] [14] In May, she qualified for the 2012 games, the first year in which women's boxing was an Olympic event, [15] and went on to become the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. Her only loss professional or amateur comes from British fighter Savannah Marshall. [16] In 2018, the Boxing Writers Association of America named her the Female Fighter of the Year. [17]

Early life

Shields was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where she was a high school junior in May 2012. [12] [13] She was introduced to boxing by her father, Bo Shields, who had boxed in underground leagues. [13] [18] Bo was in prison from the time Shields was two years old, and released when she was nine. After his release, he talked to her about boxer Laila Ali, piquing her interest in the sport. [19] Bo, however, believed that boxing was a men's sport and refused to allow Shields to pursue it until she was eleven. [13] [18] [20] At that time she began boxing at Berston Field House in Flint, where she met her coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield. [18] Shields credits her grandmother with encouraging her to not accept restrictions based on her gender. [13] [21]

Amateur career

Shields (left) vs. Yenebier Guillen Benitez, 2015 Yenebier GUILLEN BENITEZ vs. Claressa SHIELDS.jpg
Shields (left) vs. Yenebier Guillén Benítez, 2015

After winning two Junior Olympic championships, Shields competed in her first open-division tournament, the National Police Athletic League Championships 2011; she won the middleweight title and was named top overall fighter and also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials. [22] [23] At the 2012 Olympic Trials, she defeated the reigning national champion, Franchón Crews-Dezurn, the 2010 world champion, Andrecia Wasson, and Pittsburgh's Tika Hemingway to win the middleweight class. [22] [13] In April 2011, she won her weight class at the Women's Elite Continental Championships in Cornwall, Ontario against three-time defending world champion Mary Spencer of Canada; she held an undefeated record of 25 wins and 0 losses at that point. [13] [18] [24]

Following Shields' victory at the U.S. Olympic Trials, it was initially reported that she would need only a top-8 finish at the 2012 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, China, in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. [14] On May 10, the day after the contest began but before Shields' first bout, a change to the rules was announced that meant Shields would need to place in the top two from the (North, Central, and South) American Boxing Confederation region of AIBA (AMBC). [25] Shields won her first round, but suffered an upset loss in the second round on May 13 to Savannah Marshall of England, bringing Shields' record to 26–1. [26] Her chances for qualification thus depended on Marshall's subsequent performance; after Marshall advanced to the middleweight finals on May 18, it was announced that Shields had earned an Olympic berth. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she won the gold medal in the women's middleweight division after beating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19–12. [15] [27]

In 2014, Shields won the World Championship gold medal, [28] and the following year, she became the first American to win titles in women's boxing at the Olympics and Pan American Games. [29]

Shields won the gold medal at the 2016 AMBC Olympic Qualifying tournament in Argentina. [30] Later that year at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, she won the gold medal in the women's middleweight division by defeating Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. She was the only gold medalist from the American team and was awarded the inaugural women's division of the Val Barker Trophy at the competition. [31] Her back-to-back Olympic gold medal wins made her the first American boxer—female or male—to win consecutive Olympic titles. [11]

Her amateur boxing record was 77 wins (19 by knockout [26] [32] [33] ) and 1 loss. [34] [35]

Professional boxing career

In November 2016, Shields officially went pro. She won her first match, against Franchón Crews-Dezurn, by unanimous decision. [36]

On March 10, 2017, she faced Szilvia Szabados for the North American Boxing Federation middleweight title, and won. This was the main event on ShoBox, with a regional title fight between Antonio Nieves and Nikolai Potapov serving as the co-main event. [37] It was the first time a women's boxing bout was the main event on a United States premium network card. [38] [39]

On June 16, 2017, Shields headlined the "Detroit Brawl," facing Sydney LeBlanc in her first scheduled eight-round bout. LeBlanc signed on with three days notice, after Mery Rancier dropped out due to visa issues. [40] [41] Shields won the bout by decision after all eight rounds. [42]

On August 4, 2017, Shields defeated defending champ Nikki Adler in Detroit for the WBC super-middleweight belt and the vacant IBF super-middleweight belt. The fight was on Showtime. [43]

On January 12, 2018, Shields retained her WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles, and won the WBAN super-middleweight title by defeating 17-0 Tori Nelson. It was Shields' first time going all 10 rounds in her professional career. [44] [45] [46]

On June 22, 2018, in just her sixth professional fight, Shields defeated Hanna Gabriel by unanimous decision, winning the vacant WBA and inaugural IBF middleweight belts, breaking the record for becoming a two-weight world champion in the fewest professional fights, a record previously held by Vasyl Lomachenko. [47] During Round 1, she experienced the first knock down of her professional career. She dropped down from 168 pounds to 160 for the fight. This was her first fight with trainer John David Jackson, having worked with Jason Crutchfield for the previous 5. [48] [49]

On December 8, 2018, Shields' fight aired on HBO, her first appearance on the network, a fight which was a part of the last boxing card to occur on HBO. [50]

On April 13, 2019, Shields became the undisputed women's middleweight world champion, unifying the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO middleweight titles, along with The Ring magazine's inaugural middleweight belt, after defeating Christina Hammer by unanimous decision. [51] The victory was a near shutout with two judges scoring the bout 98–91 while a third judge scored it 98–92.

Shields was scheduled to fight Ivana Habazin for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title in Flint, Michigan, on October 5, 2019. [52] However, the fight was postponed due to Habazin's trainer being attacked at the weigh in. [53]

On January 10, 2020, the battle between Shields and Habazin took place with an all female ring (referee). Claressa won by unanimous decision, 99–89, 100-90 and 100–89, and became the fastest ever to win titles in 3 divisions male or female in history.

On March 5, 2021, Shields defeated Marie-Eve Dicaire by unanimous decision to retain her WBC and WBO super welterweight titles, claim IBF 154-pound belt, and vacant WBA light middleweight strap. With the win she has become the first world champion boxer in four-belt era to hold undisputed titles in two different weight divisions. [54] [55]

Professional mixed martial arts career

In November 2020, Shields had signed a three-year contract with Professional Fighters League and was expected to make her mixed martial arts debut in 2021. [3] [56] Since Shields first announced that her MMA debut, she has also begun training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has gone to train under IBJJF no gi World Champion Roberto Alencar, alongside Holly Holm. [57] She also started training at JacksonWink MMA in late 2020. [58]

Shields made her MMA debut at PFL 4 on June 10, 2021, against Brittney Elkin. [59] She won the fight via technical knockout in round three. [60]

Her second bout is scheduled to take place on the PFL 9 event on August 27, 2021, against an opponent yet to be named. [61]

Personal life

Shields and Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. Shields introduced Biden during a 2012 campaign stop in Michigan. Vice President Joe Biden (7885558782).jpg
Shields and Vice President Joe Biden in 2012. Shields introduced Biden during a 2012 campaign stop in Michigan.

Shields is from Flint, Michigan. Shields was baptized at age 13 (two years after she began boxing) and began attending a local church. She found strength in her Christian faith and eventually left home. [62]

Shields attempted to adopt her cousin's daughter in 2014. [63]

Shields is an ambassador for Up2Us Sports, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting underserved youth by providing them with coaches trained in positive youth development. [64]

Shields is also an ambassador for gender equality in sports, particularly boxing, which she insists is under-covered by the media. [65] [66]

Shields is a pescatarian. [67]

Filmography

Shields is the subject of the 2015 documentary "T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold." [68] [69] In 2016 Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast, which holds Olympic broadcast rights in the United States, acquired the rights to produce a film about her life story. [70] Barry Jenkins is the screenwriter. [71] Entitled Flint Strong , Rachel Morrison will be directing, with actress Ryan Destiny portraying Shields.

Shields will be acting in the Susan Seidelman-directed film Punch Me. [72]

In 2018, Shields acted in a Walmart ad directed by Dee Rees. [73] [74]

Awards

In 2017, Shields won the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Award for "Biggest Powerhouse." [75] In 2018, Shields was inducted into the USA Boxing Alumni Association's Hall of Fame. [76] The Boxing Writers Association of America gave her the 2018 Christy Martin Award - Female Fighter of the Year. [77]

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
11 fights11 wins0 losses
By knockout20
By decision90
No.ResultRecordOpponentTypeRound, timeDateLocationNotes
11Win11–0 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Marie-Eve Dicaire UD10Mar 5, 2021 Flag of the United States.svg Dort Financial Center, Flint, Michigan, U.S.Retained WBC and WBO female light middleweight titles;
Won IBF, vacant WBA (Super) and The Ring female light middleweight titles
10Win10–0 Flag of Croatia.svg Ivana Habazin UD10Jan 10, 2020 Flag of the United States.svg Ocean Casino Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Won vacant WBC and WBO light middleweight titles
9Win9–0 Flag of Germany.svg Christina Hammer UD10Apr 13, 2019 Flag of the United States.svg Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.Retained WBA, WBC, and IBF female middleweight titles;
Won WBO and inaugural The Ring female middleweight titles
8Win8–0 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Femke Hermans UD10Dec 8, 2018 Flag of the United States.svg StubHub Center, Carson, California, U.S.Retained WBA, WBC, and IBF female middleweight titles
7Win7–0 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Hannah Rankin UD10Nov 17, 2018 Flag of the United States.svg Kansas Star Arena, Mulvane, Kansas, U.S.Retained WBA and IBF female middleweight titles;
Won vacant WBC female middleweight title
6Win6–0 Flag of Costa Rica.svg Hanna Gabriels UD10Jun 22, 2018 Flag of the United States.svg Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.Won vacant WBA and inaugural IBF female middleweight titles
5Win5–0 Flag of the United States.svg Tori Nelson UD10Jan 12, 2018 Flag of the United States.svg Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, New York, U.S.Retained WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles;
Won WBAN lineal super middleweight title
4Win4–0 Flag of Germany.svg Nikki Adler TKO5 (10), 1:34Aug 4, 2017 Flag of the United States.svg MGM Grand, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.Won WBC and inaugural IBF female super middleweight titles
3Win3–0 Flag of the United States.svg Sydney LeBlancUD8Jun 16, 2017 Flag of the United States.svg Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.Won vacant WBC Silver female super middleweight title
2Win2–0 Flag of Hungary.svg Szilvia SzabadosTKO4 (6), 1:30Mar 10, 2017 Flag of the United States.svg MGM Grand, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.Won vacant NABF female middleweight title
1Win1–0 Flag of the United States.svg Franchón Crews-Dezurn UD4 Nov 19, 2016 Flag of the United States.svg T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
1 match1 win0 losses
By knockout10
Res.RecordOpponentMethodEventDateRoundTimeLocationNotes
Win1–0Brittney ElkinTKO (punches) PFL 4 June 10, 202131:44 Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.

[78]

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Further reading

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Inaugural champion NABF female
middleweight champion

March 10, 2017 – August 2017
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Raquel Miller
Minor world boxing titles
New title WBC Silver female
super middleweight champion

June 16, 2017 – August 4, 2017
Won world title
Vacant
Major world boxing titles
Preceded by
Nikki Adler
WBC female
super middleweight champion

August 4, 2017 – September 2018
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Franchón Crews-Dezurn
Inaugural champion IBF female
super middleweight champion

August 4, 2017 – June 2018
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Elin Cederroos
Vacant
Title last held by
Teresa Perozzi
WBA female
middleweight champion

June 22, 2018 – present
Incumbent
Inaugural champion IBF female
middleweight champion

June 22, 2018 – present
Vacant
Title last held by
Christina Hammer
WBC female
middleweight champion

November 17, 2018 – present
Preceded by
Christina Hammer
WBO female
middleweight champion

April 13, 2019 – September 2020
Vacant
Title next held by
Savannah Marshall
Inaugural champion The Ring female
middleweight champion

April 13, 2019 – present
Incumbent
Undisputed female
middleweight champion

April 13, 2019 – September 2020
Vacant
Vacant
Title last held by
Ewa Piątkowska
WBC light middleweight champion
January 10, 2020 – present
Incumbent
Vacant
Title last held by
Hanna Gabriels
WBO light middleweight champion
January 10, 2020 – present
WBA light middleweight champion
Super title

March 5, 2021 – present
Preceded by
Marie-Eve Dicaire
IBF light middleweight champion
March 5, 2021 – present
Inaugural champion The Ring female
light middleweight champion

March 5, 2021 – present
Undisputed female
light middleweight champion

March 5, 2021 – present
Awards
Previous:
Cecilia Brækhus
BWAA Female Fighter of the Year
2018
Succeeded by
Katie Taylor
Records
Preceded by
Vasyl Lomachenko
7
Fewest professional fights
to win a major world title
in two weight classes
6

June 22, 2018 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Vasyl Lomachenko
12
Fewest professional fights
to win a major world title
in three weight classes
10

January 10, 2020 – present