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Who is… Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Who is… Claressa Shields

Shields is the 2012 Olympic champion in women's middleweight boxing and the favorite for gold once again in Rio.

Name: Claressa Shields
Country: United States
Age: 21
Weight class: Women's middleweight (75kg/165 lbs)


  • 2012 Olympic gold medalist
  • 2014 World Championships gold medalist
  • 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist
  • First female to win an Olympic championship in boxing
  • Only one career loss, which came at the 2012 World Championships

Olympic history: Shields, 17 years old at the time, made her Olympic debut at the 2012 Games -- the first Olympics that featured women's boxing. Shields won all three of her bouts in London to capture the gold medal.

Olympic outlook: Shields has not lost a match in the four years since the London Olympics. With only one career loss on her record, she will be the heavy favorite to defend her gold medal this year in Rio.

Hometown: Flint, Michigan

How she got started in boxing: When she was 11 years old, Shields took up boxing after being motivated by a story that her father -- a former boxer -- told her about Laila Ali taking after her dad, the great Muhammad Ali. At first, Shields' parents were reluctant to sign her up for classes. Finally one day, the whole family got together to take a vote on whether Shields would be allowed to box. Although her dad was still against the idea, the rest of the family voted in favor of it, so Shields' dad ultimately agreed to pay the fee and enroll her in training.

Claressa Shields at the 2012 Olympics

In London, Claressa Shields (blue) became the first American female to win an Olympic boxing championship. Credit: Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

Personal motto: "Your best is never good enough because your best is always yet to come."

Greatest source of inspiration: Tennis great Serena Williams. Says Shields: " I really didn't know what to do after I won the 2012 Olympics when I was 17. A lot of people screamed at me to go to college and to turn professional. Serena Williams has a picture of her with 2 Olympics gold medals, one on both sides of her face. That picture, let alone with her dominance in her sport, made me wanna be as dominant in my sport as she is in hers."

Other influences: Dutch boxer Lucia Rijker: "I watched a documentary on Lucia Rijker and she was just amazing to me. Her skill was superb and her attitude was ferocious." American boxer Anne Wolfe: "Anne Wolfe really reminds me a lot of myself, she's all business."

Training regimen: "On a typical training day, I wake up at 8 a.m. and do a five-mile run. I eat breakfast after and rest til noon, then do strength and conditioning, which consists of using your natural body weight, medicine balls, lunges and squats. After that, I rest again before going to boxing training from 6 p.m. til 8:30 p.m. Boxing practice consists of eight rounds on they heavy bag, four rounds on the pads, three rounds on the speed bag, three rounds of technical drills and calisthenics (525 crunches and 80 push ups), and it ends with stretching."


Nutrition: "Breakfast is my biggest meal: five to six boiled eggs, a meat and a fruit. Lunch is optional: Sometimes I like to eat something grilled, with a salad or spaghetti and meatballs. I like to eat kind of light at night, so a cup of soup or animal crackers [for dinner]."

Lucky charms: " I really don't believe in superstitions, but I don't go to a competition without a long pair of cartoon socks (such as Betty Boop or Superwoman). I also carry my world championships credential and my bible with me to every tournament."

Nickname: T-Rex. Says Shields: "The first guy I ever sparred against, Darrion Lawson, named me that. He said I was really aggressive and had short arms."

Favorite musical artists: Meek Mill, Tamia, Alicia Keys

Favorite songs while traning: "Go Get It" by Mary Mary, "Monster" by Meek Mill, "Anything Could Happen" by Ellie Goulding, "Wait Til You See My Smile" by Alicia Keys

Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields will represent the United States once again at the 2016 Olympics. Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Favorite TV shows: "Law and Order," "Being Mary Jane," "Empire"

Favorite movie: "Million Dollar Baby"

Favorite magazines: "Ebony," "Ring Magazine," "Sports Illustrated"

Celebrity crush: Kevin Hart


Charity work: "I became involved with the Universal Kidney Foundation. They came to meet me as a potential sponsor, and I mentioned that my little brother had a kidney failure. I have been a supporter and have done a huge boxing charity event for them."

If she weren't an athlete, she would be a: Singer

Social media
Facebook: Claressa Shields
Twitter: @claressashields
Instagram: @claressashields

Who is...

Learn about some of the top boxers heading to Rio 2016:

Carlos Balderas (USA) | Mikaela Mayer (USA) | Claressa Shields (USA) | Shakur Stevenson (USA)

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