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Rashida Ellis rebounds from Olympics, wins world boxing title

Rashida Ellis

ISTANBUL, TURKIYE - MAY 12: Shakilya Rashida Ellis (red) of USA in action against Marija Malenica (blue) of Croatia during women’s 54 kg match of the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships 2022 in Istanbul, Turkiye on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Elif Ozturk Ozgoncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul on Friday.

Ellis, 26, beat Olympic silver medalist Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil in a 3-2 decision. It was a rematch of 2019 World Championships and 2019 Pan American Games semifinals, both won by Ferreira.

“It’s about time,” Ellis said, according to USA Boxing. “I feel good, I worked hard for this. I had to just fight my fight, and look what happens when I do.”

Olympic lightweight gold medalist Kellie Harrington of Ireland missed worlds due to injury.

Ellis won the lone U.S. medal at women’s worlds, which finish Friday.

Last year, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

“It’s not stopping me from becoming the best in the world,” she posted on social media after that defeat.

The Massachusetts native began boxing at age 10, following two older brothers into the sport.

“I started fighting boys in school and beating them up,” Ellis said before the Tokyo Games. “As a punishment, I had to go to the gym with my brothers. They put me in the ring, and I loved it.”

After the two-time Olympic champion Shields turned professional in 2016, U.S. women won one gold between the 2018 and 2019 Worlds -- Danielle Perkins’ heavyweight crown in 2019. Perkins won an 81+kg division. The heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

Oshae Jones won the U.S.’ lone women’s boxing medal at the Tokyo Games, a welterweight bronze. Jones, 24, is now listed as a professional boxer on her social media.

NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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