LONDON (Reuters) - American teenager Claressa Shields outfoxed and outgunned Russian Nadezda Torlopova to win the first women’s Olympic boxing middleweight gold on Thursday.
Shields took the bout 19-12 at the Excel Arena in east London to claim America’s only gold medal in the ring at the Games after the nine men all exited before the semi-finals.
The grinning Shields danced her way out of the arena to cap her rise to the top from the tough streets of Flint, Michigan.
Following a cagey opening round, Shields broke open a big lead after a strong second round where she utilized her quicker hand speed to land a number of scoring blows in the tight exchanges with her bigger opponent.
The Russian, at 33 almost twice the age of her opponent, took more punishment in the third round as Shields landed with a couple of big left straights to take a 15-10 lead.
Shields ducked and dived away from the lumbering blows from the tired Russian, making her miss with ease.
The American joined Briton Nicola Adams and Ireland’s Katie Taylor in becoming the first women’s Olympic boxing champions after the duo won their finals earlier on Thursday. London is the first Games where women have been able to box.
Losing semi-finalists Li Jinzi of China and Kazak Marina Volnova took bronze.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston, editing by Mark Meadows