Claressa Shields: The New Beauty of Boxing

Dan Murphy June 15, 2012 1
Claressa Shields: The New Beauty of Boxing

This is the first in a series of articles leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics in London on July 27. Each will highlight an athlete and the aspects of his or her sport that make it an example of great design. Today, Claressa Shields of Team USA, Women’s Boxing.

Claressa Shields Women's Boxing


The most compelling story of the 2012 Summer Olympics might just be the one that took root in the boxing ring at the Berston Field House in hardscrabble Flint, Michigan. That’s where Claressa Shields, a 17-year-old boxing phenom, trained to become one of the best pugilists in the world.



Claressa Shields Summer Olympics


She spent a good portion of her junior year away from Northwestern High School, and off of the tough streets of Flint, a city with high unemployment and one of the worst violent crime rates in the United States. Shields stormed through the U.S. Olympic Trials in Spokane (Wash.) in February, where she won the middleweight division and was named the most outstanding fighter. Then she headed to the AIBA World Boxing Championships in China, where she experienced defeat for the first time in her young career at the hands of England’s Savannah Marshall. Despite the loss, Shields, who has an impressive record of 26-1, advanced to the Olympics after receiving an at-large bid from the International Olympic Committee.


Quote by Clarence Shields


The precocious Shields, who started boxing at age 11, is a confident without being cocky. She’s a quick puncher with a solid jab and a powerful 5-foot-9 frame.

“I lost one, but when I get to London, I will not make the same mistake,” Shields said to USA Boxing. “Now I know all the girls I am looking forward to. I’m going to study them like a book.”


Claressa Shields Women's Boxing



Women’s boxing is making its debut as a medal sport at the 2012 Olympics. When it’s done right, the “sweet science” is far from a brutal brawl. When two skilled boxers enter the ring, it’s a dance. Movement and motion responding to movement and motion. Give and take. A jab answered with a bob and a counter punch. Ducking renders the normally dangerous right hook harmless. And throwing the right hook exposes the midsection to a debilitating body blow. It’s a physical chess match on a padded, roped-in stage, until one of the contestants outguesses the other or one of the players tires. Boxing’s design is in the minor movements and fluidity of both performers. Those who don’t respect the fight or work hard enough to learn the nuisances of the dance find themselves rudely dropped to the mat. The result of the handy work done by by a pair of Everlast gloves, and the athlete wearing them.


Women's Boxing Match

Summer Olympic Series - Original Content at

Brady Ellison

Holley Mangold

Jessica Ennis

Jordyn Wieber

Usain Bolt


  • Michelle

    I am pleased that women’s boxing is part of the olympics…about time! I am looking forward to watching Claressa come home with a gold. GO USA!