Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

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 Arum Rips: Golden Boy's Flat Fee Offer To Golovkin is Bullsh*t! Video: Bob Arum on Pacquiao Card, Future of PPV, More Estrada's Promoter Expects Chocolatito To Get KO'd in Rematch Photos: Mike Lee, Chris Traietti - Go Face To Face in Chicago Yordenis Ugas Demolishes Bryant Perrella in Four Rounds Magdaleno Confident of Making 122, Feels Donaire Has Aged Video: Pacquiao vs. Vargas Undercard Press Conference Jacobs' Trainer: Danny Not Afraid, He Will Curdle Golovkin's Milk! Donnie Nietes Feels Good at 112, Eyes WBO World Title Shot Ashley Theophane Tops Mayweather Promotions Card on Oct. 8 Photos: Nonito Doniare, Jessie Magdaleno - Go Face To Face Tyson Fury Will Be Back, Getting Help - Says Trainer Peter Fury Braehmer Will Have His Eye on Kovalev vs. Ward Winner Oscar Valdez Vows To Put on a Show on Pacquiao vs. Vargas Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters Deal in Place, Nov. 26 Humberto Soto Will Now Face Daniel Ruiz on October 1 Danny Garcia's Handlers Tried To Secure Eggington, Says Hearn Jamie Cox Feels He Would Topple DeGale, Jack, Ramirez, De Carolis Photos: Frankie Gavin, Sam Eggington - Face To Face at Presser Klitschko vs. Joshua Getting Close as Both Sides Wait For Rulings Erik Skoglund-Timy Shala WBA Title Clash Rescheduled To Dec. 9 Tyson Fury Facing 10 Day Deadline From WBO To Explain Condition Izu Ugonoh Anticipates a World Title Shot in 2017 Jose Pedraza's Manager Not Happy, Says Boxer is Stuck in Limbo Ward: I’ve Got Plenty of Time To See What I Need Of Kovalev Mayweather Sr: Danny Garcia Can't Beat My Son, Not as Good Flanagan: Now or Never For Crolla Fight – One or Two Left at 135 Eddie Hearn Eyes Pro Deal, Star Potential For Nicola Adams James Metcalf-Serge Ambomo New MGM Headliner on October 7 Parker Tabbed By Bookies as Big Underdog in Joshua Fight Klitschko: Since Going Pro, I've Never Had Such a Long Break Ryan Rhodes: Facing Ricky Hatton Will Be Weird Kovalev Rejects Talk That Golovkin Dropped Him in Camp Dillian Whyte, Ian Lewison Explodes- Pulled Apart at Presser Pacquiao Looking Solid in Training Camp, Very Fast and Strong Kozaev, Fayfer, Papazov, Ananyan Get Wins in Krasnodar Tommy Morrison's Son Fights To Create Own Identity Mayweather Sr: I Believe My Son Will Fight Again, Break The Record Andreev, Chelokhsaev Win, Tedeev Upset in Vladikavkaz Lucas Matthysse To Return in Early 2017, Says Golden Boy Prez
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement