USA rises with Claressa Shields’ boxing middleweight title

8/10/12 in Olympics, Summer   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

A dark cloud on the boxing front finally drifted out of the skies for the Americans on Thursday as 17-year-old Claressa Shields dominated her 33-year-old Russian opponent Nadezda Torlopova with a final score of 19-12, marking the nations first gold at the sport in four years. Americans, who are usually recognized as the “winningest nation” at the sport will still great an empty-handed men’s team after the highly anticipated five day event ended on Thursday.
"All I wanted was a gold medal, and I kept working towards it, even when people were saying I couldn't do it. I'm too young. I couldn't do it,” said Claressa Shields. “There were girls who were going to beat me because of better experience… I proved them all wrong."
Nadezda Torlopova was no match for Claressa Shields, who shuffled and dodged the Russians punches while still advancing on her in the usual brawling-style. Claressa Shields’ prowess in the ring quickly won-over the Irish fans who had been bursting to watch Katie Taylor to take on Russia’s Sofya Ochigava in the lightweight; a match that finished at a 10-8 win in favor of the Irish.
Entering the ring, Nadezda Torlopova tried to keep Claressa Shields at an arms length, threatening her with a left jab to keep the teenager from unleashing her powerful punches. However, no matter how hard Nadezda Torlopova tried to keep shifting on her feet as a means of avoiding Claressa Shields, the American was half her speed and a soon enough she got an opportunity to throw face-to-face punches at the Russian, leveling the score at 3-3.
Claressa Shields kept bringing out that aggression in the second round, with combinations upstairs and the left always on a ready to take a 10-7 lead. From then onwards the match was sealed in favor of Claressa Shields, who was onto Nadezda Torlopova with combinations of powerful right punches, never missing the target. Nadezda Torlopova was taken by Claressa Shields’s blinding speed of punches and gave out early in a match that had the American’s name all over it.
The last few seconds of the match didn’t rule otherwise and when the referee declared Claressa Shields the winner, pumping her hand into the air, the American put on a smile that said it all. She came prepared and ready to take the gold that was hers.
The Flint, Mich., native Claressa Shields has been steadily rising to contention at international level in boxing over the past two years. Although Claressa Shields lost prematurely at last year’s championship, she still managed to qualify for the London Olympics.
Claressa Shields is the person in the 12-meber American team who will be given a hero’s welcome after the gold medal.
"This was something I wanted for a long time, even when boxing wasn't going all right, even when my life wasn't going all right,” expressed a beaming Claressa Shields who turned to boxing during the painful years of a difficult childhood.
The American indulged in a hearty laugh, her head rocking back in rhythm as she took her gold medal at the podium. It wasn’t a mocking laugh it was a heart of true-felt joy at taking a jab back at life.
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