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History Taking a Backseat To Community For Claressa Shields

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Despite an international fight looming in September, The Champ is launching her BYF youth program

FLINT - Drop the W, Claressa is the GOAT. Greatest Of All Time. Adding a qualifier like ‘W’ shortens the heights that she’s reached. I mean, if the Greatest Woman Of All Time has done things that no man has done in her country, doesn’t that eliminate the need for the ‘W’?

She is:

  • The only American to win back-to-back gold medals in boxing at the Olympic Games.

  • The only person to hold all four major world titles at once, in 2 weight classes.

  • The fastest person to win 3 separate division world championship belts.

  • A 12-time World Champion

But most importantly, right now, she is the lead instructor of boxing for the BYF program that launched this past week inside “@ Fitness”, a gym owned by her fiancee Tony Rich and located in the prominent Flint neighborhood of Beecher. “It stands for boxing, yoga, and fitness,” Clareesa explained to Next Up Michigan in an interview outside the gym. “It’s the summertime, no better time. And just because I have a big fight coming up doesn’t mean I can’t give back to my community.” Clareesa stated when asked why she would initiate something requiring her attention at this time.

The question was an honest one, as more history looms for the Champ. On September 10th, Claressa Shields will go toe-to-toe with her “arch nemesis” Savannah Marshall. The bout will take place at the historic O2 arena in London, and will be the first time women have headlined a boxing card in the venue. Shields has her work cut out for her – Marshall is a U.K. native – and anyone with boxing sense knows it is more than a daunting task to defeat a tough Brit in their own backyard. “I gotta fly 6 hours over there to give this girl a beatdown, but it’ll happen” she said without a flinch.

That’s what makes the move to begin the BYF program one of the most selfless acts in recent memory, when speaking of superstar athletes. Sure, many throw money at the issues in their communities – and it works in instances – but Claressa is putting her time where her heart is, and not losing a lick of training for history in the meantime, “I spread my times out the way I do. I’m still training [for the fight] and still working out. I worked out for hours today and I’m still here helping with the fitness class, so its not a big deal that I’m doing the program right now.” and that is coming from a 12-time World Champion boxer. On the near eve of women’s boxing history, United Kingdom history, and the pinnacle of her future Hall-Of-Fame career, here was Claressa outside a Flint gym, patiently waiting to finish her interview and return to her duties with the next generation.

It's a revealing trait about a person who could easily be inaccessible, with reason, to a city that needs her presence. After all, there are none like her. That’s right, the 27-yr old is charting a historical path to greatness and is showing no signs of slowing down. She’s a legend in the making, and is using her platform for others, “I want to find the next Claressa Shields.” the Champ said about her program.