Only a high school junior, 17-year-old Claressa Shields of Flint, Mich., has emerged as one of boxing’s brightest stars at the London Games, where the women’s discipline is making its Olympic debut., ranked 12th in the world, advanced to Thursday’s gold-medal round with a 29-15 victory over Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova, 23. She’ll face either Li Jinzi of China or Nadezda Torlopova of Russia for gold.

Shields showed no trace of nerves or intimidation, but came out swinging. And she kept punching, even when hung up on the ropes, to win the first round 7-5.

“Stay off the ropes!” a U.S. fan shouted form the stands.

Shields landed a terrific right in the second round, scored 5-3 for the American, putting her up 12-8 at the halfway point.

The third round was Shields’s biggest yet. She landed a punch that dazed her opponent so much it drew a standing-eight count. And she took a 20-11 lead into the final round.

The 5-9 Shields starting boxing at age 11, inspiring by Laila Ali.

Earlier Wednesday, Marlen Esparza of Houston fell to gold-medal favorite Ren Cancan 10-8 in a flyweight semifinal and bows out of the sport’s inaugural Games with a bronze medal.

The 5-3 Esparza fought more aggressively with each round and closed the fourth and final round scored at 2-2, hoping for more. But it wasn’t enough to make up for an earlier deficit

“I can’t be angry about getting any medal at all,” Esparza said afterward, wiping away tears. “But [bronze] wasn’t my goal.”


Source: Washington Post

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