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Claressa Shields wins BWAA’s female fighter of the year award

The unified middleweight titleholder went 4-0 in 2018.

Cecilia Braekhus v Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Claressa Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) has a successful 2018, and has now been formally recognized by the Boxing Writers Association of America by being named the female fighter of the year for 2018.

Shields began the year defending the IBF and WBC super middleweight titles against Tori Nelson, and then moved down to middleweight in June, grabbing the vacant IBF and WBA titles against Hanna Gabriels. Shields would then add the WBC middleweight title to her collection when she beat Hannah Rankin last month, and then just defended all three titles by beating Femke Hermans just over a week ago.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive the fighter of the year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America. It is a dream come true, and it furthers my goal to lift women’s boxing to new levels,” Shields said. “In 2019 my goals are to become undisputed (middleweight) champion, to be ranked in the top 10 pound-for-pound list regardless of gender, and to continue the march of women’s boxing toward equality with men.”

Thomas Gerbasi, chairman of the BWAA’s women’s boxing committee, credited Shields with becoming a two-weight world champion this year, while successfully defending her titles in both weights. Gerbasi also added that Shields accomplishing this with less than 10 professional fights made it all the more impressive for the committee.

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