Boxing champion Claressa Shields comes home to Flint

Athlete carries family and city in her heart

By Steve Garagiola - Reporter/Anchor, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

DETROIT - It's unusual to encounter an athlete who, at the young age of 24, makes you wonder if there's anything left for them to accomplish. 

RELATED: Claressa Shields: The undisputed champ

In three years as a professional boxer, Claressa Shields has won all five women's middleweight championships. On April 13, Shields beat Christina Hammer to become the women's undisputed middleweight champion.

There were five titles to chase in Shields' weight class, and she has earned them all. 

The road to success hasn't been easy for Shields, but it has been a quick trip. 

Shields won an Olympic gold medal in 2012 and then another in 2016. She's the only American boxer to win two Olympic gold medals. 

Shields took control of her life early and has come a long way from her youth in Flint. She credits her grandmother with giving her the confidence to fight her way into what was a man’s world.  With money, fame and success, she could leave Flint in her past, but she said she will always come home.

“I love Flint,” she says proudly. “The children need faith. They need hope and role models.” 

On the day that Flint’s mayor gave Shields the keys to the city, she spent the morning passing out water bottles. That afternoon, she signed autographs and posed for pictures for over two hours with wide-eyed children.

“You can be a champion," Shields told them. "Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams.”

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