Claressa Shields cemented her name in boxing history Friday, January 10 after comfortably dispatching Croatia’s Ivana Habazin to claim the vacant WBO and WBC super welterweight titles.
The win makes her the fastest fighter – male or female – to win world titles in three weight divisions.
Shields, who in her only fight of 2019, became the second woman in history to hold championship titles from all four major boxing organizations was introduced to the sport by her father.
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Born Claressa Maria Shields on March 17, 1995, in Flint Michigan, Shields got her introduction to boxing at the age of 12 by her father who was a boxer in the underground leagues before he was jailed.
Shields was two when her father was taken in and released when she was nine.
While Vasiliy Lomachenko and Kosei Tanaka needed 12 fights to win championships in three weight division, Shields has done than just 10.
“It wasn’t what I wanted but I’m happy with the improvement,” said Shields. “This feels great. I did it in 10 fights. Now, I’m No. 1, the fastest boxer in history to become a three-time division world champion.”
Following her introduction to boxing by her father, Shields met Jason Crutchfield, who would become her coach and trainer.
The outcome of the bout “was never in doubt as Shields dominated the first nine rounds while recording the first knockdown of her career when she caught Habazin with a hard body shot in the sixth round,” reported The Flint Journal, MLive.
That was the first time Habazin had been knocked down and the first knockdown of Shields’ brilliant career.
“The biggest motivation for me is becoming a three-division world champion faster than any other boxer, male or female,” said Shields in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith.
“Regardless of what she [Ivana Habazin] says, her actions have to show it. She can say whatever. I think it’s sad that she’s using her coach’s incident in Flint in order to make herself bigger. That’s kind of insensitive to me. She keeps bringing it up in every interview. At the end of the day, I am the cash cow in women’s boxing. Ivana is being paid more than she’s ever been paid for a fight, but she’s just another opponent. I’m the greatest woman of all-time.”
Shields, who in her amateur career had seventy-seven wins and one loss, won a gold medal at the Olympics after beating Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova in 2012.
She would go on to win the World Championships two years later. Again, she won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics when she defeated Nouchka Fontijn from the Netherlands. That same year, she started her professional career when she won her first match against Franchon Crews.
In 2017, she won the North American Boxing Federation Middleweight Title. She later won the WBC Super Middleweight Belt and the IBF Super Middleweight. In 2018, she retained her WBC and IBF titles.
She also won the WBAN Super Middleweight title after defeating Tori Nelson. She later won the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation Middleweight belts when she fought Hanna Gabriels.
“I’m carrying the sport of women’s boxing and I am the best woman fighter and that’s my role,” said Shields.
“My goal is to speak up for all of us. I’ve taken the fight game to unique measures and they still don’t like me for their own personal reasons. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, there will be somebody that don’t like you. You don’t have to like me, but you will respect what I do.”
Claressa Shields was awarded in 2017 the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award for Biggest Powerhouse. The following year, she was inducted into the United States of America Boxing Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame.