Flint’s Claressa Shields: ‘I’m fighting for my city’

Defending gold medalist starts tournament in Rio on Wednesday

Claressa Shields
In this photo taken on July 23, 2013, Claressa Shields prepares for her sparing round at the Berston Field House in Flint, Mich.

RIO DE JANEIRO (MEDIA GENERAL) — Claressa Shields will tell you she fights for a lot of reasons: for herself, for kids who feel “broken.” But there is one reason that rises above:

“The main thing I’m fighting for is my city,” she said. “I think that we need so much help right now.”

Shields is a native of Flint, Mich.

>>Watch: Shields in Rio

Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields shows off her gold medal from the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (June 2016)

She’s already got a gold medal under her belt — she won it during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She was 17 at the time. Now, at the games in Rio, she hopes to become the first American boxer to win two Olympic golds.

“It would mean a lot and it’s a very reachable goal,” she said.

It didn’t always seem so reachable. Shields is the product of a broken home in an impoverished city. Now, she is a great hope for her hometown.

“God wants me to spread a message to everybody and to help people that don’t have hope to have hope, and once again, no matter how you were raised, you can be whatever you want to be,” she said.

She’s the favorite in her weight class. Her first fight of the Rio games is Wednesday.

>>Watch: Shields and Mikaela Mayer are USA’s female boxers

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