Flint boxer Claressa Shields aims to make history at Olympics again

Shields plans to continue being trailblazer long after Summer Olympics

Claressa Shields is driven, focused and unapologetically real about who she is and who she wants to become.

The Flint native is in Rio de Janiero competing in her second Summer Olympics going after her second gold medal in women's boxing.

The 21-year-old competes in the women's middleweight 165kg division and became the first woman to win gold during the 2012 Olympics.  That was the first time women's boxing was an Olympic sport.

Related: Michigan Olympians at Rio

"You've got to work 10 times harder than the men to be better and to get the recognition that you deserve and that's what I've been doing my whole life, and that's why I’m in this great position," Shields said.

The great position she is referring to is having the opportunity to become the first boxer, male or female to win back -to-back Olympic gold medals.

Shields said she has learned a lot and is not the same 17-year-old who won gold in 2012.

"About being a trailblazer for women's boxing, I didn't know what I was doing when I was 17. I knew I had a dream and my dream was to become the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal," Shields said.

Shields said she has only gotten better in the years following the London Games.  She moved from Flint to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.

"The 17-year-old Claressa can't do nothing with the 21-year-old Claressa. I mean, she had a lot of heart, but now I've just changed, just my IQ in boxing went from here to here, it's just a total difference," Shields said.

The Flint native has been a fighter nearly her entire life, both physically and mentally. She grew up in the poverty stricken streets of Flint surrounded by drugs and violence and says she used boxing as a way out.

"I think without boxing I would just be an angry woman with kids and I don't know, I just think I wouldn't be where I am," Shields said.

Her life story is documented in a new film called T-Rex.

"Growing up in Flint, a lot of my anger comes from, you know, when my dad was in prison. I grew up in poverty," Shields said.  "Well, not everybody goes through, but there's other women that go through being raped and being molested when they were kids. '

"I was kind of angry from all that stuff. and when I found God in my life when I was 13, he gave me a stronger mind to handle it," Shields said.

Shields is confident in her goals and they extend well past the Olympics in Rio.

"My whole goal with boxing is to go down in history as the best woman fighter who ever lived," Shields said. "I have to go pro. I have to fight on TV. I have to break that barrier."

"I believe I can be the, I guess, the Rhonda Rousey of boxing. She brought MMA to great heights and that's what I want to do for boxing."

Shields begins competing in Rio on Sunday August 14. Stay with Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit.com for the latest updates on Shields and other local Olympic athletes.


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