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Claressa Shields Wins USA's First-Ever Women's Boxing Gold Medal

The American men were a big disappointment in boxing at the London Games, but Claressa Shields helped to make up for that on Thursday when she won the US' first ever gold medal in women’s middleweight (165 lbs), beating Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova, 19-12. It's also first-ever women's boxing medal won by the United States, in any weight class (the sport is making its Olympic debut in 2012).

The 17-year old Shields drew even with Torlopova in the first round, but then won each of the next three rounds on her way to gold. Shields looked good in all her matches at the Olympics, with her closest bout being her quarterfinal 18-14 win over Anna Laurell.

While it may not carry the cultural significance of the classic Balboa over Drago win, it’s always nice to beat the Russians in boxing (at no point during the match did Torlopova scream, "I fight for me! FOR ME!"; yes, Rocky has ruined all real boxing for me.)

Shields' gold medal is the first won by Team USA boxing since Andre Ward in 2004.

Marina Volnova of Kazakhstan and Jinzi Li of China took home the bronze medals.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub