Michigan’s Shields captures Gold again; New Jersey’s Stevenson settles for Silver in close fight

Shields defends her Gold in Rio (Peter Cziborra/Reuters)
Shields defends her Gold in Rio (Peter Cziborra/Reuters)

Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) – American Claressa Sheilds dominated her Gold medal bout against Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands and in the process easily defended her 165-pound Gold Medal Sunday afternoon at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Shields, who won all four rounds on all three judges’ scorecards, came in as the heavy pre-tournament favorite to repeat. She became just the second American to win two Olympic boxing medals. You have to go all the way back to the 1904 St. Louis Games, when Oliver Kirk won both the bantamweight and featherweight gold medals.

However, no American ever returned to the Olympics to win a second consecutive gold until Sheilds turned the trick Sunday as she did it in dominating fashion.

She was the better, stronger, faster boxer early on, as she overwhelmed the taller Fontijn, who was attempting to win the first Olympic boxing Gold medal for the Netherlands since 1928.

Late in the opening round, Sheilds continued to press the action, landing thunderous right hands.

In the second she mixed in the jab with gorgeous left hooks as she caught her opponent walking in. From there she would cruise and land more shots in the third round, while simply breaking down her opponent in the fourth round with hard combinations.

The 21-year-old from Fling Michigan, improved her Olympic record to 6-0 and is a staggering 77-1 overall. She has not lost since 2012 and has won the past two world championships.

“I wanted to let everyone know that I’m not just a great female boxer but I’m one of the greatest boxers to ever live,” Shields said after the bout. “I’m the first American to be a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Oh my god!”

She improved her Olympic record to 6-0 and is a staggering 77-1 overall. She has not lost since 2012 and has won the past two world championships.

Stevenson loses Gold to Ramirez (Dean Mouhtaropoulos, Getty Images)
Stevenson loses Gold to Ramirez (Dean Mouhtaropoulos, Getty Images)

Shakur Stevenson, the talented 19-year-old boxer from Newark, NJ, did not have the same performance against Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez, who won his second Gold medal in a row following his 2012 flyweight championship at the 2012 London Olympics, with a split-decision victory.

In a very competitive and tight contest, Ramirez was able to take the first round on all three judges scorecards, by simply being the more aggressive boxer from the onset. Stevenson bounced back in the second round, showing fast hands and scoring inside. He landed a couple of nice combinations, as he slipped in and out of trouble and earned the second round on all three judges scorecards, setting the stage for an intense and gut wrenching final third round.

Knowing the bout was up for grabs, Ramirez came out firing early on, sneaking in the jab, while Stevenson was on the defense. However, Stevenson showed guts and heart and fired back, but the last 30 or seconds he cut down his punch outpoint, while Ramirez threw and landed slightly more punches to push him over the top.

Afterwards, a visible upset Stevenson broke down in tears while being interviewed. The raw emotion was touching as he also displayed a tremendous about of class and maturity as he gave credit to his opponent.

“When I came through here (interview area near ringside), I was crushed, I was hurt,” a teary-eyed Stevenson said. “I hate losing more than anything. I’m disappointed in myself. Much respect to Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez. He did what he had to do and I took my loss. I knew it was a close fight, I didn’t feel it was my best performance, so I wasn’t surprised by the decision,” he added.

 

Posted by RQ

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