Advertisement
Advertisement

Gold Medalist Shields Forced to Compete at Youth Level

By Ryan Maquiñana

Claressa Shields of Flint, Mich., is the best female amateur middleweight in the world, with an Olympic gold medal around her neck to prove it.

However, despite having already proven her ability on the grandest of stages against full-grown 165-pound adults almost twice her age, the precocious 18-year-old has been barred from competing at the highest level of the sport.

Why?

In an attempt to overhaul the amateurs for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) has implemented many changes—including an age requirement that requires a minimum of age of 19 to compete in the Elite (Senior Open) Division.

No exceptions.  Not even for Shields, who must now—believe it or not—face likely overmatched, less experienced opponents in the Youth Division at next week’s U.S. National Championships in Spokane, Wash.

When BoxingScene.com asked USA Boxing if a waiver could be obtained for Shields due to her credentials, the answer exposed the needlessly inflexible nature of the new guidelines.

“Yes that is accurate,” public relations director Julie Goldsticker said via email.  “USA Boxing does not have the option of bypassing AIBA rules.”

Imagine if a 20-year-old LeBron James had won the NBA Finals as a rookie, but was then forced to go back to dominating college competition the following year.  Shields is essentially being forced to do the same thing.

Another questionable decision by AIBA was to remove headgear from all Elite competition involving the men, but not for the women.  Combined with their archaic flirtation last year with mandating that female boxers wear skirts during the 2012 Olympics, as well as the scandalous judging in London, and this recent run hasn’t been AIBA’s finest hour.

To be fair, not all of the moves have been bad.  For one, the old computer scoring system that generated so much controversy has been thankfully replaced by a pro-style 10-point must system.

But the fact that USA Boxing’s first major tournament of the year could feature some serious mismatches between girls still physically coming of age and a pure knockout machine like Shields makes you wonder if AIBA will consider some common sense.

Raquel Miller, who won silver as a 152-pound welterweight at last year’s World Championships, has ascended to middleweight and will be among the favorites to win the Elite Division gold at Nationals.  But much to the 28-year-old competitor’s chagrin, she would rather have to go through Shields to do it.

“Absolutely, I want to fight the best the sport has to offer and get opportunities to challenge myself whenever I can,” said Miller, a San Francisco native who was Shields’s chief sparring partner in London.  “I think they should let Claressa fight.  I mean, she’s the Olympic champion.”

Emails to AIBA were not immediately returned.

Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com.  He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.

Tags: Amateur Boxing image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by MC Hammer on 03-29-2013

This isn't right. She's gonna hurt those kids, and it stunts her potential since she's already beating on adults. There needs to be an exception

Comment by anonymous2.0 on 03-29-2013

Poor logic, being good isn't measurable (how do you measure good, is there an objective number or a grade that can be assigned to being good?) And there's the case of accountability, if she got seriously hurt in the elite…

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (2)
Top Headlines Eddie Hearn Critical of Al Haymon and PBC Business Model Photos: Andre Berto Drills Victor Ortiz To Avenge First Defeat Photos: James DeGale Taken To His Limit By Porky Medina Ricky Burns Enjoying Low-Profile Approach Video: Jack-Bute, DeGale-Medina Post Presser Highlights Part 2 Video: Jack-Bute, DeGale-Medina Post Presser Highlights Part 1 Bellew-Makabu: Burton vs. Dodson For British Title Added Video: Victor Ortiz on His Boxing Future Following KO Defeat Video: Andre Berto on KO of Ortiz, Danny Garcia Shot, More Video: Ellerbe Reacts To Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Fury: Klitschko Fight is My Last, I Have No Motivation To Carry On! Medina: James DeGale Said He Would Stop Me, He Ran All Night! WBC Prez Vows Investigation of Two Judges in Jack-Bute DeGale Disappointed With His Performance Against Medina Moreno Outclasses Sor Rungvisai To Set Up Yamanaka Rematch Floyd Mayweather Hints at Comeback, Reveals Talks With CBS/SHO Jack, Bute Ends in Draw - Jack Sets Up DeGale Unification Pedro Campa Extends Win Streak With Stoppage Win Over Alfaro Video: Victor Ortiz Attacked By Crazy Fan Following KO Defeat Badou Jack-Lucian Bute - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard James DeGale Digs Deep To Overcome, Decision Rogelio Medina Washington Decisions Eddie Chambers: Benavidez, Gausha Win Badou Jack-Lucian Bute - CompuBox Historical Review James DeGale-Rogelio Medina: LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Andre Berto Gets Revenge, Knocks Victor Ortiz Out in Four Jack-Bute, DeGale-Medina LIVE Results: Sharif Bogere Wins Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto II - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Thomas Williams Blasts Out Edwin Rodriguez in Two Rounds Edwin Rodriguez-Thomas Williams - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jorge Lara Demolishes Montiel With Brutal First Round Knockout Jorge Lara vs. Fernando Montiel - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Anthony Joshua to Have U.S. Network Deal Announced Next Week Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II - CompuBox Historical Review Liam Walsh Retains British and Commonwealth Titles With TKO Photos: Hughie Fury's Severe Cut Above His Left Eye Hughie Fury Suffers Bad Cut, Gets Technical Nod Over Fred Kassi Amir Khan Eyes MMA: I Fancy My Chances With Conor McGregor! Jamie Conlan Wins FOTY War To Get Title: Walsh Retains His Belt Andy Lee Sets Record Straight on Rumors of Daniel Jacobs Bout Video: Eddie Hearn Discusses Tony Bellew's Big Title Card
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement