Claressa Shields took her place in American boxing history on Sunday afternoon, when she became the country’s first boxer to win two Olympic gold medals. Shields once again dominated the Middleweight (75kg) competition from the outset, working her way through to the last-day final against the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn.
It was another hugely impressive display of aggressive boxing from Shields, who also displayed a speed and agility that made her a difficult target for the powerful Fontijn. After an emphatic first three rounds, the American was in a commanding position going in to the final two minutes, and despite Fontjn’s late rally, it was a unanimous decision for the defending champion.
“The key to the success was belief. Last night I had a scare about this bout and the final but when I woke up, I trained and I decided I am great and I will be great here and I will win the gold medal. I thought about my opponent and I knew I could outbox her. So once I’d made that conscious decision, all I had to do was remind myself where I was and what I was about to do. I made sure that my mind was prepared. The fact that I won every round was amazing. She was a great opponent, she is someone I always want to fight. I’ve known that I’m the greatest female boxer since I was 17 years old, so to be the first American boxer to win two Olympic gold medals, I can’t even believe it.”
Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn won the silver, with China’s Li Qian and Dariga Shakimova of Kazakhstan winning the bronze.