Olympic Boxing 2012: Claressa Shields Only Hope for US Gold

Kurt SaundersCorrespondent IIIAugust 8, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Claressa Shields of the United States celebrates her victory against Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan during the Women's Middle (75kg) Boxing semifinals on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

What a special day it will be tomorrow for women's boxing.  In the sport's inaugural Olympic Games, American 17-year-old Claressa Shields will be boxing for the middleweight gold medal against Russia's Nadezda Torlopova.

Shields defeated Kazakhstan's Marina Volnova earlier today to earn a spot in the gold medal match. That fight was never a contest as Shields dominated from start to finishing, winning 29-15.

"That's the performance I wanted everyone to see," Shields said (LA Times)

Unlike Shields, the U.S. men's boxing team had an extremely disappointing Olympics and will be heading home without a medal for the first time in its history.  American flyweight Marlen Esparza lost her semifinal match today, leaving Shields as the lone American left in boxing.  

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, Shields will undoubtedly be enshrined in women's boxing forever. The 2012 London Olympics were the inaugural Olympics for women's boxing. As a result, Shields will head home as one of the first medalists ever in the sport—something she can be extremely proud of for the rest of her life.  

Nonetheless, Shields wants gold and knows the opportunity is hers for the taking (via LA Times):

"I'm not dreaming. It's real, Shields said of her chances at a gold medal. It's right here. All I have to do is grab it."

The high school student from Flint, Michigan (I wonder if she knows Jackie Moon) is 16 years younger than the 33-year-old Torlopova. Obviously, experience is on the side of the Russian's while youth stands with the American.  

Tomorrow's bout will be a classic matchup of young-vs-old and while this isn't exactly the Cold War Confrontation of 1972 when Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in chess, this bout does hold significant social value.  

As mentioned, Shields will be attempting to win gold in women's boxing's first year as an Olympic sport.  So tune in and support your fellow American as she attempts to make history.