Former Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields won the WBA and IBF Female Middleweight Titles on the evening of June 22, defeating Hanna Gabriels via unanimous decision in Detroit, Michigan.

Both fighters entered the bout with gold in other weight classes, with Shields holding the WBC and IBF Female Super Middleweight Titles, while Gabriels holds the WBA and WBO Female Super Welterweight Titles. In 2016, Shields became the first American boxer to win a gold medal in consecutive Olympics.

As ESPN states, this may have been the toughest test for Shields thus far, as the former gold medalist managed to win the bout despite suffering a knockdown for the first time in her young professional career.

“[Gabriels] has heart...she showed why she’s a champion," Shields said. "But overall, like I said, I’m the greatest woman of all time. I can get [knocked down], get back up, fight 10 rounds and win.”

The Gabriels v Shields fight

Gabriels came out aggressive in the opening round, and both fighters threw a few hard combinations to start. Shields landed multiple punches after Gabriels dropped her guard. Shields blocked a combination, but an uppercut from Gabriels a few seconds later knocked Shields down for the first time in her career. Shields got up and took the standing eight count, but Gabriels got Shields in a corner, trying to storm her and the two end up clinching before the referee separated the two.

"She caught me with a shot in the first round," Shields said. "That’s when I knew "Okay, she just wants to move and catch me off guard.' I was thinking to myself, 'You still got it.

Be smart. Use your jab. Move your head. And tired her out.'"

The two slugged it out early once again in the second, but Shields managed to take advantage of the round— and fight — with a left hook, followed by a five-punch combo. After a pair of quiet rounds, the fifth started with Shields landing a couple of shots on Gabriels. Gabriels tried to move around the ring, but Shields cut off the ring. After a few big shots by Shields. the two clinched up near the ropes, with Shields landing a few more punches in before the bell.

Shields was throwing more and landing more as the second half of the fight began, and Gabriels seemed to just be looking for one big punch. After each threw combinations, a strong right hand from Shields stunned Gabriels. Shields tried to unleash a flurry of shots, but the bell rang to signal the end of the round.

In the seventh, Gabriels was still doing more backing up than applying pressure. She finally started to come forward, but Shields rocked her with a few shots.

There was no action for nearly 30 seconds in the eighth before Shields threw a small combination. But Gabriels started to come forward again, putting forth a much better performance since the first round of the match. Unfortunately for Gabriels, she was unable to do much in the final two rounds.

The aftermath

The judges awarded the decision to Shields with scores of 97-92, 98-91 and 97-92. Despite losing nearly every round on the cards after knocking Shields down in round one, Gabriels was gracious in defeat.

"I kept working," Gabriels said. "She’s very fast and she does have a lot of power. It was a great fight. I’ll accept my loss with dignity. I gave my all."

Shields now improves to 6-0, holding four championships. Gabriels lost for just the second time in her professional career, moving to 18-2-1.

As Fight Sports reports, there is now anticipation that Shields could face WBC and WBO Female Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer, who retained her titles on the undercard of the event.