Not only does the United States still have someone in the medal hunt, the Americans have a very good chance at a gold medal.
Claressa Shields, the women’s representative at middleweight, has moved on to the final in her division with a rousing 29-15 victory over Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova, who took a lot of leather and endured a pair of standing eight counts.
Shields almost did not get into the Olympics. She lost out in the Women’s World Championships when she was beaten by Savannah Marshall of Great Britain, but through a quirk in the rules for Olympic qualifying, because Marshall went on to the finals of the middleweight competition, Shields was able to earn herself a berth for London.
So she basically had to play a waiting game to find out. as it turned out, she was one of the top two in the “Americas” group in her particular weight class.
She’s been precocious, that’s for sure. Shields is still a junior in high school in Flint, MI and she emerged victorious in the Olympic Trials, which is heady stuff. Reportedly the bout where she lost to Marshall was the first time she tasted defeat in her amateur career.
She found a challenge in her first bout, which was no cakewalk, as she outpointed Anna Laurell of Sweden, but only by an 18-14 margin.
The win over Volnova was much more decisive. Shields got off to a 7-5 lead at the end of the first round and just kept pulling away from there, leading 12-8 after two, 20-11 after three rounds and finishing with a flourish, as the judges gave her the fourth and final round (women fight four rounds of two minutes’ duration) by a 9-4 score.
In the finals, Shields will meet up with Nadezda Torlopova of Russia, who beat China’s Jinzi Li in the other semifinal. Torlopova defeated Volnova, among others, to reach the semifinals of the World Championships before losing to the aforementioned Marshall.