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Claressa Shields, Marlen Esparza win World Boxing Championships

Claressa Shields

The first U.S. Olympic women’s boxing medalists, Claressa Shields and Marlen Esparza, won their first World Championships on Monday.

Shields, who won 2012 Olympic gold at the first Games to include women’s boxers, won a unanimous decision over China’s Qian Li in the Worlds middleweight final in Jeju, South Korea.

Shields, 19, was named Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament.

Esparza, 25, who won 2012 Olympic bronze, took her first Worlds gold in her fifth try. She prevailed in a 2-1 decision over England’s Lisa Jane Whiteside in the flyweight final Monday.

“My nerves have impacted me in the past but because I’ve been here so many times before, it wasn’t as nerve-racking,” said Esparza, who was ill during the tournament, according to USA Boxing. “I’ve been fighting so much that I could make adjustments and think in a way that I wasn’t able to before. In the past, I’ve just reacted off of instinct and this time, I was able to think.”

Tiara Brown added a featherweight bronze medal for the U.S. Brown also won the 2012 World Championship but was not on the London Olympic team.

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