The mighty talent and charisma of Claressa Shields
By James Blears
A double gold medal winner in successive Olympics, already a double world champion as a super middleweight and a middleweight, now keen to win number three this time as a super welter….and still aged twenty four.
Claressa Shields is at the WBC’s fifty seventh Convention which is at the Grand Oasis Hotel in Cancun. We caught up with the young Great One and asked her:
WBC: When did you realize that you really knew how to box
CS: When I first walked into the gym at eleven years old, I saw two guys sparring and I thought I can do that. Then this girl came down to our gym when I was fifteen. Her name is Laura Wilder. She’s from Pontiac. She was ranked number two in the world at 178 pounds. I was 168 pounds and we got in the ring. I remember her looking at me and said how many rounds do you want to go? She said about six for you as if she thought she was going to knock me out. I got offended because I’m competitive. She was big and as strong as hell. I started beating her up and by the fourth round she had her hands at her knees and she was done. She told me you’re little but you’re mighty.
WBC; Would you like to fight Franchon Crews again?
CS; We don’t mind fighting each other. We’ve fought four times in the amateurs and once as professionals. She’s a world champion, I’m a world champion. But right now I’m trying to capture my third division and I would also love to get a fight with Cecilia Braekhus. She’s at 147 pounds. If she comes to 154 pounds, she and I can rock and roll. My next fight is against Ivana Habazin. And now after the postponement, we should be fighting in late December.
WBC; When do you think women boxers will earn what they truly deserve?
CS; My last fight the check was supposed to be three hundred thousand. It wasn’t a Laila or a Christy Martin, but before my boxing career even gets close to there I will make a million dollars for a fight. I will keep fighting against the best and I believe we will get there. And if I’m in high demand, my opponents are in high demand too.
WBC; When you are the best, how do you test yourself?
CS; I spar against men and I also watch my fight films, not to look at what I’m doing, rather to see my mistakes and fix them. I don’t ever become complacent. My greatest satisfaction was becoming a two time Olympic champion, because no other US woman fighter had accomplished that.