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Saturday, October 13, 2012
Claressa Shields wins NPAL title

Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Olympic champion Claressa Shields won her second straight National Police Athletic League title Saturday night, outpointing Franchon Crews 30-19 in the 165-pound open division.

The 17-year-old Shields, from Flint, Mich., led 7-4 after landing a handful of jabs in the first round and was ahead 14-8 after the second, even after Crews landed a right jab that seemed to stun her. Instead, the Olympic champion stayed comfortably in control the rest of the bout.

"It was a good one," Shields said of the right that momentarily seemed to stun her, "but it was only one shot. I knew if I started going crazy she was going to land more. One point doesn't turn the fight."

It was the second time Shields faced Crews, the 25-year-old Baltimore fighter who was the top-ranked middleweight until Shields beat her in the first round of the U.S. Olympic trials.

"She doesn't like to get hit," said Jason Crutchfield, Shields' trainer since she first took up the sport at age 11. "When she responded, she was never out of control and that was great to see."

The victory came a night after Shields opened the tournament with a performance that left her and her trainer hoping for more in the title bout. Crutchfield had no complaints after his fighter left the ring with a championship belt.

"She's such a great competitor," he said. "It's pretty hard to keep her from getting what she's after."

Shields advanced to the NPAL title bout after a third-round stoppage victory over Dara Shen on Friday night. It was her first bout since beating Russia's Nadezda Torlopova in the gold medal match in London.

The victory made her the lone American boxer gold in the ring.

Now, the high school senior will return home to train for the 2014 world championships. She'll be 21 when the next summer Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro, but that's far in the future.

"Time passes pretty slow when you're 17," she said. "I know I'll still be an amateur for at least the next three years."