Written By: Omar Palacios Senior Boxing Analyst
Claressa Shields has had her fair share of success, but the two-time gold medalist isn’t done yet. Friday, the Flint native will become the first woman ever to headline a card on television, and with less than a week to go before her only second professional fight, she’s got a good sense of what it could mean if she can continue to do what she’s hitherto done -win.
However, Claressa was unsure about her future in the sport even after making history and becoming the first US boxer, male or female to ever win back-to-back gold medals. “I was scared and I thought this could be the end of boxing for me. Everybody kept saying I wasn’t going to get any fights. And they wouldn’t put me on TV and they don’t respect women’s boxing. But I also turned professional with two Olympic gold medals and that’s something that no other American boxer has ever done. With that, I’ve been getting a lot of respect.”
As it turns out, the end of her reign as Olympic Boxing Queen was not the end of her career, it was merely the end of a chapter in her life. As a new chapter unfolds, there’s no telling what the future will have in store for the young warrior. She could very well be the face of women’s boxing, or she may soon fade into oblivion . With females such as Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm paving the way, female fighting has begun to explode. Shields can very well be next on the list of heavy hitters and can easily take women’s boxing to a whole new level.
The 21 year old Shields is set for a 6 round middleweight fight against Szilvia Szabados of Hungary (15,8,6), on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
“We are not going to go all six. I plan to get out of there in the third or fourth round,” said Shields about her upcoming bout. Some might say she’s cocky, or even arrogant, but if you look past the bravado, you can see that she takes herself seriously because of what she’s been able to accomplish. Few people can fathom how much hard work, sweat and tears go into the making of a boxer like her.
She’s been put on the spot many times when asked if she has her gold medals on hand, and she always does. She doesn’t hesitate to pull them out and wear them either. “What’s somebody gonna do, beat me up for them?” she said when asked if she wears them around the dangerous town of Flint.
She’s not worried about all that. She does what she does for her people and they love and support her for it. In an interview with Showtime, Shields said that she loves inspiring the kids in her community and letting them know that they too can accomplish great things if they put their mind to it, as she did.
On Friday, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields will take one more step towards her destiny. Will she rise to the occasion in front of a live TV audience? Boxing fans can only wait and see.