AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. (AP) — Claressa Shields is the unseeded sensation of the first U.S. women’s boxing team trials, tearing up the middleweight division with three straight victories on a surprising trajectory toward the Olympics.
The Flint, Mich., product is also staying up too late on the phone, talking trash with rivals at fast-food restaurants, pouting after a victory because it wasn’t one-sided enough, and generally behaving like an exuberant 16-year-old.
Trainer Jason Crutchfield describes his job as a roller-coaster ride with Shields, who has skyrocketed through the amateur boxing world in the past year. Now she’s one victory away from earning a trip to China for the world championships and a shot at Olympic qualification.
If Shields makes it, she could add a new spin to the history of teen stars in Olympic sports.