Reigning Olympic champion Claressa Shields made history in Rio, becoming the first U.S. boxer ever to win back-to-back Gold medals with her third unanimous decision victory of the Olympic Games in the women’s middleweight final with the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn.
Shields was so dominant in her second Olympic run that she received the women’s Val Barker Trophy, which is given to the Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament.
“I won! I listened to the game plan. I had fun the last round and I landed a lot of big shots. I’m a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Oh my God, I feel like I’m dreaming. I don’t even feel like I’m up right now. This is crazy,” Shields said in disbelief to USA Boxing.
For the second straight Olympic Games, Shields was the final American boxer to compete and once again, she put an exclamation point on her Olympic run in the gold medal bout.
After settling in for the first minute of the contest, she began opening up in the second half of the round. Shields closed out the round strongly to take the first round on the scorecards.
Shields truly began to shine in the second round, landing powerful shots to Fontijn’s body and head and bringing her legion of supporters to their feet. Shields jogged back to her corner after the second round with a two-point lead at the midway point of the contest.
She turned it up even further in the third round, peppering Fontijn with combinations and closing the round with a thunderous right hand in the final 20 seconds. She had the bout secured after winning the opening three rounds but she didn’t let up over the final two minutes.
Shields closed the show in the fourth, opening the round with her hands down and begging Fontijn to come forward. She ended the bout with a powerful left hook on her way to another 3-0 victory and her second Olympic gold medal.
Her victory on Sunday moves her record to 77-1 and adds a second Olympic gold medal to a resume that already includes two world titles and a Pan American Games championship for the Flint, Michigan native.
With the thrilling victory by Heather Hardy over Shelly Vincent live on NBC the same night, the world waits to see if Claressa Shields will go pro and aid the reinvigoration of womens boxing.
Shakur Stevenson and Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez engaged in another historic USA vs Cuba battle in Saturday’s bantamweight finale at the 2016 Olympic Games. The Gold medal bout went down to the wire between the two talented boxers, but Ramirez’s pulled out the closest of split decisions, giving Stevenson the Silver.
One of the most highly anticipated bouts of the tournament, the Stevenson-Ramirez showdown lived up to the hype.
Both boxers looked to use their strengths in the match-up which featured two of the greatest Olympic-style boxers in the world. Stevenson utilized his range and distance early while Ramirez looked to smother the American boxer.
All three rounds were hotly contested but Ramirez took the first three minutes on the judges’ cards. Stevenson turned the judges in the second round, showcasing his boxing skill and landing the cleaner punches to tie the bout up at one round a piece.
He started the third round strongly, showcasing his ability to judge distance and catching Ramirez with effective straight shots. As the bout neared the end, Ramirez fired off a combination of punches, none of which connected and Stevenson looked to answer as the final bell rang.
After nine minutes of boxing at its highest level, the two boxers waited at the center of the ring for the announcement. The verdict came by split decision and it was Ramirez taking his second consecutive Olympic gold medal.
“Right now, I’m crushed, said Stevenson to USA Boxing. I’m disappointed in myself, I knew I could have done better. I have to go look at the tape and see what I did wrong. I had a game plan to try to outbox him the last round because I knew he was going to come forward and it didn’t work. Hopefully they will allow Cubans to go to the pros because I definitely want to fight him again,”
Floyd Mayweather, who attended Stevenson’s bout in Rio, signed the young boxer to his Mayweather Promotions, signaling the start to a promising pro career.