By Derek Gionta: It is that time of year again. 2018 was another eventful one in professional boxing. The year end is a good time for reflection of the good, bad, and ugly of the sport. We always have our fair share of new faces, great fights, bad decisions, emerging prospects, and noble contributors outside of the ring.
This is what makes the year end awards so interesting among the websites and other boxing publications.
A new award was established this year by SecondsOut.com’s panel of writers to the best female boxer of 2018: Claressa Shields.
Shields, the 23 year old native of Flint, Michigan and two time Olympic gold medalist, sports an undefeated record of 8-0 (2) and has caught the attention of mainstream sports fans as well as the already captured loyal boxing audience.
Shields, teaming up with trainer John David Jackson, had a strong 2018 by going 4-0, all in title fights won by decision on major TV networks.
After defeating Tori Nelson in her first defense of the Female IBF and WBC super middleweight belts, the fighter also known as "T-Rex", moved down to middleweight for the following three bouts in which she captured the Female IBF, WBA, and WBC middleweight belts in wins over Hanna Gabriels, Hannah Rankin, and Femke Hermans.
Three of those wins were 10 round shutouts while the fourth gave her 7 and 8 rounds on the judges’ cards.
Shields’ promoter Dmitriy Salita, had this to say about his fighter:
"Claressa has had an amazing year both inside and outside the ring. She has strived for greatness not only through her ring accomplishments but also by using her place in history to elevate women’s boxing. She has accomplished both of these goals this year and goes into 2019 ready to continue to create history and to bring excitement to boxing fans around the world."
Her last bout of the year on December 8th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California was televised on HBO’s final boxing broadcast. This made it a monumental victory and moment in HBO Sports history for Shields and Salita.
"I am honored to have co-promoted HBO’s final boxing card and proud to have brought Claressa Shields to the network, stated Salita.
"HBO has televised some of the greatest fights of all time featuring the legends of the sport."
"In its final telecast, it both hearkened back to those days by presenting a new legend in Claressa and foreshadowed the future of the sport, which will prominently feature women’s boxing with Claressa leading the way."
Shields will look to continue her winning ways and cement her name in female boxing history as 2019 approaches and will have center stage on whatever platform presented to her.
Congratulations to our Secondsout Female Fighter of the Year, Claressa Shields.