Claressa Shields on her fearsome father’s reputation: ‘He knocked guys out in front of me – I thought: ‘What the heck?” | Boxing News


Claressa Shields didn’t understand why there was no retaliation or revenge after getting caught up in school riots. She grew up in an area where these arguments could go on forever. But not if she was scrapped. Why?

She kept hearing the same name: “Bo Bo”.

Another broken lip the next week. No one tried to avenge the young Shields for “Bo Bo,” but she didn’t know why.

“Bo Bo was my daddy,” she now tells Sky Sports.

“Growing up, I got into street fights. But my father’s name carried so much weight. After I fought, people I didn’t know said, ‘This is Bo Bo’s daughter.’

“I thought, ‘Who is Bo Bo?’.

“I didn’t know he was Bo Bo until my daddy got out of jail.”

Shields is live on Sky Sports on Saturday

Clarence Shields was imprisoned for his daughter’s earliest years and was released when she was nine years old.

He was an accomplished amateur boxer – his record is said to be 27 wins without a loss – but his dreams were dashed when he was jailed.

But in prison, the legend of Bo Bo Shields grew.

He became a fearsome street fighter, first fighting in organized brawls in the prison yard and after his release joined the murky world of unauthorized brawling.

With wads of cash, Bo Bo would meet his rivals in abandoned barnyards or local alleyways. Only one person would stand with the prize in their pocket.

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Claressa Shields says she will show her greatness against Ema Kozin

“His boxing nickname was ‘Cannonball,'” Shields says of her father.

“My daddy was knocking out guys in front of me – I was like, ‘What the hell?’.

“My daddy always says if he hadn’t gone to jail he would have had a fight with ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard.

“I look at him like, ‘Sure dad!’.

“My father didn’t teach me boxing. But at the age of 11, he made me do 10 push-ups and 30 crunches before I went to bed. He built my strength.

“While I was running, he rode his bike alongside me.”

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Ema Kozin showed off her skills on the pads ahead of her big fight against Claressa Shields

Bo Bo passed his boxing dreams on to his daughter, who happily followed him. She was relieved at first at the protection afforded by her father’s reputation. She later excelled and realized that boxing was her escape from a difficult life.

“Growing up, I was scared of him sometimes,” Shields recalls of her father.

She crosses her hands in front of her chest and closes her eyes and says:He would sleep like this.

“He had a gun under his pillow. He learned that in prison.

“So, when it came to waking him up? You had to be gentle.

“Prison gave him those instincts. But my daddy is a natural fighter.”

As a child, it seemed unlikely that Shields would inherit her father’s mentality.

Shields can start a fight with Marshall

She barely spoke – she suffered from a speech impediment – and was often forced to look after her siblings while her mother, an addict, was absent.

At school, her silence was seen as a weakness as she was teased. Those were the days when Bo Bo was imprisoned. Before word of his release spread and his daughter was no longer molested.

Shields was taken in by her grandmother. Today, after back-to-back Olympic gold medals, world championships in three divisions, and undisputed titles in two weight classes, the same Flint, Michigan location has been renamed “Claressa Shields Street.”

“The street was family-oriented,” she recalls. “People could beat up other people’s children, discipline other people’s children, they would cook for other people’s children.”

But the auto industry, which employed most locals, collapsed, causing mass unemployment and poverty.

Claressa Shields
A street in Flint was renamed after Shields
Claressa Shields
Shields’ hometown celebrated their Olympic success

“People had to fend for themselves,” she says. “It got separated.

“People only cared about their own families, they couldn’t be part of the street family.”

The 2014 Flint water crisis, which contaminated drinking water for the entire city and caused one of the worst public health problems in modern American history, was devastating to Shields’ home. For this reason, she dyed her hair blue – the color of clean water – to raise awareness.

“We’ve learned to rely on each other again,” she says.

“Some families could not afford boxes of clean water. They don’t have cars to fetch crates of water.

“We have come together to help people in need.

“The city is resilient”

Shields is defending her IBF, WBA, and WBC belts

The experience of coming off Flint is why Shields won’t be impressed by her UK debut against Ema Kozin on Saturday. live on Sky Sportsor even the anticipated showdown with Savannah Marshall later this year.

“If you can make it in Flint, you can make it anywhere,” she says.

“I’m not worried about where I’m going. People tell me, ‘You’re going to Albuquerque or Detroit? It’s dangerous…’

“I tell them, ‘I’m from Flint.’

“The mentality of the people in Flint? We grow up with the instinct to have our backs covered. We know what someone looks like when they’re trying to get you. We are always ready to fight.

“Flint put that in me.”

Perhaps her hometown influence would have given Shields toughness even without Bo Bo.

The combination of Flint and her father has made her one of the most successful and successful female boxers. Bo Bo is never far from his daughter’s side.

“My father is meaner than me,” she says. “He has a friendly side, but if you mess with him?

“He still has that boxer’s mentality now. You never lose it.”

Sky Sports Box Schedule

Saturday 5 February in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs. Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs. Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles

Saturday February 19th in Manchester
Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook
Natasha Jonas vs. Ewa Piatkowska – WBO Super Welterweight Title
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut

Saturday 26 February in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – Undisputed super lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish Heavyweight Title

Saturday, March 5th in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza

Saturday March 12th in Newcastle
Savannah Marshall vs. Femke Hermans – WBO Middleweight Title

Sunday March 20th in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs. Steve Rolls
Keyshawn Davis
Xander Zayas


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