London, England – Claressa Shields of the United States was one of three fighters to claim historic gold medals, as the inaugural Olympic women's boxing competition came to a close Thursday at the London Games.
Shields, Great Britain's Nicola Adams and Ireland's Katie Taylor won the first three titles, winning the middleweight, flyweight and lightweight divisions, respectively.
The 17-year-old American simply outclassed second-seeded Nadezda Torlopova of Russia, posting a 19-12 decision over her 33-year-old opponent. Shields displayed superior quickness in winning the final three rounds after the boxers fought to a 3-3 tie in Round 1.
At 17 years, 145 days olds, Shields is the youngest Olympic boxing gold medalist since American John Fields won the men's featherweight title as a 16- year-old at 1924 Paris Games.
"People were saying I couldn't do it, that I am too young," Shields remarked. "They said girls with better experience would beat me."
Overall, the U.S. women claimed two medals in boxing with Marlen Esparza also taking a bronze in the flyweight class. This comes after the American men failed to win a single boxing medal at a Summer Games for the first time in their history.
"I feel USA needs it. I am glad that someone won a gold medal," said Shield. "We all worked hard together. I represent myself and them in the ring."
Adams was the first woman to put her name in the history books as an Olympic boxing champion, dominating China's Ren Cancan to take the flyweight division in the first bout of the day. Adams lost to Ren at this year's world championships, but she battered her Chinese opponent Thursday at the ExCel Exhibition Centre.
The 29-year-old Adams knocked the top-seeded Ren to the canvas in the second round en route to a 16-7 victory.
Meanwhile, Taylor, the four-time defending world champion in the lightweight division, claimed gold for Ireland in the final bout, earning a close 10-8 decision over Bulgarian Sofya Ochigava. Taylor was trailing 4-3 after two rounds, but took control of the fight by earning four of the five points awarded in Round 3.
Taylor's medal is the second of the London Games for Ireland, following a bronze won Wednesday in equestrian.