Claressa Shields Wins Gold in Olympic Finals

By Laurena Marrone on August 9, 2012
Claressa Shields Wins Gold in Olympic Finals
“Good job. You did what you needed to do. Now let’s have some fun!” (Stacey Verbeek)

Shields is the second youngest boxer to ever win a gold medal. With this win in the Olympic debut of Women’s Boxing, she has secured her place in history…

The first-ever Women’s Olympic Boxing came to a close today highlighted by middleweight Claressa Shields’ fierce and dominant win over Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova, the two-time European champion, to win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Shields displayed her confidence even before the fight started, making her way into the ring and feeling it out like a seasoned pro, not a 17-year-old amateur. She looked serious and focused from the start. But a surprising round one, where few punches were thrown, found the scoring even at the bell to end the round. 

Round two got underway with Shields advancing aggressively and consistently against Torlopova, but also getting caught as well. It wasn’t until a time out for Shields’ shoe to be tied with 48 seconds left on the clock that we saw the “real” Claressa Shields emerge.  With self-assurance, power and what felt like more action than we saw in all the fights this morning combined, Shields took the round with a score of 7:4.

Between rounds Claressa’s trainer told her, “You’re getting hit too much. I don’t want you getting hit so much.”

With that advice ringing in her ears and her confidence soaring, Shields began hitting Torlopova with impressive combinations in round three, especially in the final seconds, which she went on win 5:3. But Shields’ defense in this round, at least to me, as well in as the round to follow, proved why she is a champion. She masterfully avoided countless punches thrown her way by using her head, body and defensive posture as effectively as any professional boxer fighting today.

At the conclusion of the third, Shields’ coach said, “Good job. You did what you needed to do. Now let’s have some fun!”

A relaxed Shields entered the ring for the fourth and final round displaying great body movement and a cocky attitude. She boxed with her gloves down much of the time. She even stuck her tongue out at Torlopova, which led to a warning by the referee.  Not exactly a display of great sportswomanship, but I can only imagine what the 17-year-old was feeling at the time.  With 25 seconds left in the fight, the crowd was chanting “USA! USA! USA!” and Shields finished strong, securing the gold with a final flurry and score of 19:12.

Shields is the second youngest boxer to ever win a gold medal. And with this win in the Olympic debut of Women’s Boxing, she has secured her place in history. If she doesn’t turn pro before Rio in 2016, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division.

In other action

The ExCel was filled to capacity today, even attracting royalty to the event as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was present to support the Women’s Finals.
With a sea of Irish flags marking the stands, Katie Taylor’s fans had come out in force. But they would have to wait, as the Flyweight Finals first took center stage with China’s Cancan Ren facing Great Britain’s Nicola Adams. 

Adams looked elated to be representing her country in the Finals, smiling and soaking up every glorious moment. While not an especially exciting fight, Adams showed her skills and tenacity early in the bout. Halfway through the fight and knowing she was ahead, Adams played it safe during the third and fourth rounds, staying well out of Ren’s range. Her strategy paid off, as she earned a 16:7 win over China, and Great Britain’s first gold of the games.

The Flyweight Awards Ceremony (which followed the lightweight bout) proved to be more emotional than the fight itself, as Team USA’s Marlen Esparza reluctantly made her way to the ring to receive her bronze medal. Esparza appeared unhappy, keeping her hands in her pockets for much of the time except when she played with her hair. Every now and again a forced smile was caught by the cameras, but overall she looked miserable and it makes one wonder if she, like several of the American men, believes she was robbed.

In the Lightweight Finals, the crowd went wild as Katie Taylor entered the ring. Her opponent, Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, had to maintain focus and concentration amidst a crowd that was on its feet and cheering for much of the fight. 

Feeling each other out in the first round, there wasn’t much action and Taylor was somewhat tentative. She was bouncing more than Ochigava, who seemed steady on her feet throughout the round. It looked as if Taylor might have met her match in Ochigava and that this fight would not be as one-sided as many thought, and might even lead to an upset. The round was scored evenly at 2:2.

Taylor eked out a 2:1 score in round two, but it wasn’t until the third round that she showed her trademark hand speed and combinations, earning her a solid score of 4:1.

The fight ended with a close 10:8 win for Taylor. As she made her way to her corner, an expression of doubt crossed her face as if she was questioning the validity of her win. (On the other side of the ring, Ochigava appeared quite confident, holding up her hand as if victory was surely hers.) It wasn’t until Taylor’s team gave her a reassuring smile and hug that she lightened up and actually looked like she had won the gold.

This was a very close fight, a perilously close for Taylor, the favorite in these Olympic Games. Ochigava should be proud of her performance and a well-deserved silver medal.

The final results for Women’s Olympic Boxing are:

Gold: Nicola Adams (Great Britain)
Silver: Cancan Red (China)
Bronze: Marlen Esparza (USA)
Bronze: Mery Kom (India)

Gold: Katie Taylor (Ireland)
Silver: Sofya Ochigava (Russia)
Bronze: Mavzuna Chorieva (Tajikstan)
Bronze: Adriana Araujo (Brazil)

Gold: Claressa Shields (USA)
Silver: Nadezda Torlopova (Russia)
Bronze: Jinzi Li (China)
Bronze: Marina Volnova (Kazakhstan)

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  1. Maria 09:39am, 08/14/2012

    You never cease to amaze me:) 
    This article is awesome, I am not even a boxing aficionada but was pulled right into the ring!! Keep on Laurenaaaa!!!
    Love you!!!

  2. CC 07:12pm, 08/13/2012

    Hi, good commentary on the fights. One small correction, though, it was Ochigava who won the second round against Taylor 2:1. I was there supporting Katie and while we were confident in our homegirl it was nailbiting for many of us Irish fans as we knew it was close, Ochigava was no pushover.

    Nicola Adam’s win was very convincing, as was Claressa’s, who delighted the crowd that appreciated the skills of the teenager. Most of us stayed for her medal ceremony also, resisting the urge to leave for our celebrations as we wanted to celebrate all the women boxers, all of whom should be proud of their achievements.

    I missed the Marlen Esparza semi-final; why do you think she was robbed?

    There were definitely some odd decisions in the boxing tournament (there’s a surprise) and one, or maybe two, that spring to mind were in the men’s for Zou of China.

  3. chubby 06:25pm, 08/09/2012

    Did I hear Laila Ali right, did she say that she was about Claressa’s age or a little younger when her dad won a gold medal?

  4. Laurena 03:06pm, 08/09/2012

    Thank you to everyone for supporting my writing.  Aside from my work, boxing is my absolute passion in life and I hope that comes through in my writing.  I feel honored to have been part of history covering the first-ever Women’s Olympics.  And thank you to Robert and for the opportunity.

    I’ll cherish it always.

  5. the thresher 02:53pm, 08/09/2012

    Laurena Marrone girl, you did an excellent job.

  6. the thresher 02:52pm, 08/09/2012

    Wonderful news!

  7. Melissa 12:38pm, 08/09/2012

    This is certainly a day for women to celebrate, what an amazing outcome for Claressa!

    You did a fantastic job covering the Olympics this year Laurena!

  8. Troy Q. Tipton 12:20pm, 08/09/2012

    Claressa ROCKS!! keep up the great work!! Laurena Marrone girl, you did an excellent job of covering the event with publicity and promotion. looking forward to working with you.

  9. J. Martin 12:19pm, 08/09/2012

    Great article. Shields is one helluva boxer.

  10. bigtone 11:41am, 08/09/2012

    this is more than history!! this is MAGIC! i am now a fan of women’s boxing….BOOM!

  11. TJ 11:08am, 08/09/2012

    I’ve enjoyed very much your coverage of the Olympics.  This is a great day for this young woman.
    Thank you.

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