(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – 2012 Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) added another major award to her ever-growing list of accolades over the weekend. The first American woman to win Olympic boxing gold received the Youth Female Boxer of the Year award from the international federation for Olympic-style boxing at a special ceremony in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Shields was one of five athletes honored at the event, which was held in conjunction with the Elite Men’s World Championships. Team USA’s Shakur Stevenson (Newark, N.J.) was recognized for his outstanding year at the award ceremony as well, taking the Junior Male boxer of the year title.
Due to changes to the age divisions, the 18-year-old Olympic champion was forced to box in the youth division in 2013. The new college freshman didn’t allow the new age group to stop halt her success, taking the USA Boxing National Championships youth division middleweight crown in April. Shortly after starting her freshman year at Olivet College in Olivet, Mich., Shields competed in the first-ever Women’s Junior/Youth World Championships in Albena, Bulgaria. She dominated the competition, winning early stoppages in her first three bouts of the World Championship tournament. She won gold with a victory over Elzibieta Wojckik of Poland in the championship bout to take the Women’s Youth Championship title.
“The exciting thing about Claressa is that she represents the future of boxing. She arrived on the international scene just in time to go to the Olympics and now she is already focusing on going for that second gold medal,” said 2012 Olympic Coach and AIBA Women’s Commission member Christy Halbert.