Robert Johnson/Icon SMI/Corbis View on Corbis
Claressa Shields is a 17-year-old high school student from Flint, Michigan. She’s also an undefeated middleweight boxer who just might represent the United States at the 2012 London Summer Games.
In February, Claressa was named outstanding fighter at the first ever U.S. Women’s Boxing Olympic Trials — the first U.S. team trials since women’s boxing was added to the Olympic program. Now, along with teammates Queen Underwood and Marlen Esparza, Claressa moves on to the world championships in Qinhuangdao, China. If she finishes in the top eight in her weight class, she’ll be an Olympic contender this summer in London.
It was 1904 the last time women boxed at the Olympics, and then it was only a display event. In August 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to include women’s boxing as an official, medal sport. AIBA, the international boxing association, hopes to include more weight classifications and more female fighters in the 2016 games. But in 2012, the first Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing may go home with Claressa Shields.