TORONTO, CANADA - Making history
is nothing new to 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa
Mich.) and neither is winning gold medals. Shields did both on
Friday night in championship round action at the 2015 Pan
American Games in Toronto. The reigning world champion filled
the only remaining hole in her resume with a unanimous decision
victory over the Dominican Republic's Yenebier
the women's middleweight gold medal bout.
Friday's meeting was the fourth
contest between Shields and Guillen with the American Olympic
champion taking victories in all of their previous bouts. She
continued her winning streak in their Pan Am Games match-up.
Shields controlled the first round with strong combinations and
found a home for her stiff jab and right hand. The trend
continued in to the second stanza as Shields' combinations and
movement allowed her to allude Guillen's offensive output. In
the third round, the referee inexplicably took a point from
Shields for lowering her head while she evaded Guillen's
straight left hands. The Olympic champion responded aggressively
to the point being taken, stepping up her output late in the
round. Shields switched stances from southpaw to orthodox
throughout the bout, adding to Guillen's confusion in the
women's middleweight finale. She finished the bout in typical
impressive fashion, landing a thudding right hand in the final
seconds of the point to put an exclamation point on her
performance. Despite the point being taken, Shields won every
round on all three judges' scorecards to take the gold medal by
"She came out and fought a little
bit different this time. I've never had a point taken from me
before and I've boxed in a lot of tournaments in a lot of
countries with a lot of different referees and I've never had a
point taken for moving my head," Shields said. "That still
didn't scare me though, I knew it was just one point. I knew I
won the first three rounds easy and in the fourth round, she
started to move and didn't really try to fight. I just kept
pressuring her and won a unanimous decision."
Shields boxed three times on her
way to a Pan Am Games gold medal, opening the tournament with a
victory over Brazil's Flavia
the quarterfinal round. She added a win over Argentina's Lucia
semifinal competition prior to her championship bout on Friday.
"I feel like I definitely had a
huge improvement from my first match here. In my first fight, I
did a whole lot of fighting off the ropes, I guess I was doing
the rope-a-dope," Shields said of her tournament opener. "I
think my best fight here was my second fight against Argentina.
Against Dominican Republic, she's very strong. I don't think a
lot of people realize how strong she is. I'm strong, but she's
strong too. She wants to throw that one big punch. She knocks
girls out but you're not going to catch me with a big shot like
that so I had to be really strong with her. I have a lot to work
on over the next year. I need to get faster, smarter and
stronger of course."
Women's boxing made its Pan
American Games debut in the 2011 event, one year before the
sport's first appearance on the Olympic docket. As the U.S. team
failed to medal at the 2011 Pan American Games, Shields' gold
medal is the first for an American woman in Pan Am competition.
Shields has won gold in every
major international event contested in women's boxing, taking
titles in elite and youth world championships competition as
well as her historic win at the 2012 Olympic Games. The
20-year-old recently moved from her home in Flint, Mich., to the
U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to focus fully
on her run at a second Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Olympic
Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Two more American boxers will
compete for Pan American Games gold in flyweight competition on
Saturday at the Oshawa Sports Centre in Toronto. USA Boxing
flyweight national champion Antonio
Fla.) will take on Cuban Olympian and 2011 Pan American Games
silver medalist Yosbany
the men's flyweight finale and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen
battle Canada's Mandy
the women's flyweight championship bout.
Springs, Colo.), Israel
Wis.) and Joe
Colo.) are leading the United States boxing team at the 2015 Pan
165 lbs/female: Claressa
Shields, Flint, Mich./USA dec.
Yenebier Guillen, DOM, 3-0