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  Rio 2016: Impenetrable Claressa Shields

Rio 2016: Impenetrable Claressa Shields

REUTERS
Published : Aug 23, 2016, 12:26 am IST
Updated : Aug 23, 2016, 12:26 am IST

United States' Claressa Maria Shields displays her gold medals - from London and from Rio - for the women's middleweight 75-kg boxing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: AP)

United States' Claressa Maria Shields displays her gold medals - from London and from Rio - for the women's middleweight 75-kg boxing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: AP)

Claressa Shields brought one gold medal to the ring with her and left with two hanging around her neck after retaining her Olympic middleweight title and making US boxing history on Sunday.

As a gesture of confidence, having the 2012 gold in her pocket before the fight in the expectation of showing it off alongside another took some beating.

But so too does Shields, the ‘T-Rex’ who has not lost since 2012 and is her country’s first double boxing champion in 112 years.

Her two golds are two more than any other US boxer has won since 2004.

“At London I knew I was going to win and I knew I was going to win here,” she told reporters after the unanimous decision over Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands.

“I’ve worked so hard to be here. You know not everybody can be an Olympic gold medalist. I’m a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Oh my god, I can’t believe I just said that,” she exclaimed.

Shields knew long before the result was confirmed, and the winner’s hand raised by the Vietnamese referee, that the gold was hers.

Climbing out of the ring after the announcement, she ran around the arena with the US flag held aloft before wrapping it around her.

“She convinced herself from the moment she got here that she was going to win that second gold medal and had it (the 2012 one) in the pocket waiting,” US coach Billy Walsh said.

Co-winner of best fighter Officials later declared Shields the co-winner, a first in Olympic boxing, of the Val Barker prize awarded to the best fighter of the tournament. She shared the honour with Uzbekistan’s light-flyweight Hasanboy Dusmatov.

Joined on the podium by bronze medalists Dariga Shakimova of Kazakhstan and China's Li Qian, the fighter from Flint, Michigan, slipped the gold won in London four years ago around her neck to stand and sing the anthem.

Shields had won the first three rounds 10-9, 10-9, 10-9 but the fourth was closer, with two of the three judges giving it to her Dutch opponent even though the American felt she had been in complete control.

Location: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro