Claressa Shields opens up about people doubting her boxing talent to Seventeen magazine.
This past February, I was at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Spokane, Washington, competing for a spot on the first-ever women's boxing team. I don't usually get nervous, but this time I couldn't help myself. My opponent, a former national champion who is nine years older than I am, was shoving me and talking trash right to my face. During the final round's last few seconds, I was breathing so heavy, it hurt my throat. But I kept fighting-and won! I was even named Most Outstanding Boxer! No one thought I could win-probably because it's so hard to think of being the best at anything where I'm from.
On the sidelines
Growing up in Flint, Michigan, I saw so many kids from my school end up in jail or unemployed, and gangs would hang out and cause trouble in my neighborhood. I had to learn how to protect myself, because it didn't feel like anyone else was protecting me. My parents split up-my dad had to serve jail time, and my mom was busy with my younger sister and brother. And