Claressa Shields (right), celebrates winning the gold the medal in the Women's Middle Weight final bout during the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL - South Arena 2. At left is the silver medalist Nadezda Torlopova (RUS).
LONDON - U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields won the Olympic gold medal Thursday, capping her swift rise to the top of women's boxing with a 19-12 victory over Russia's Nadezda Torlopova.
The 17-year-old Shields shuffled, danced and slugged her way past her 33-year-old opponent, showing off the free-spirited style and brute strength that made her unbeatable at the London Games.
Shields even stuck her tongue out at Torlopova after ducking a few punches in the final round.
The teenager won the 12-member American team's only gold medal in London. The winningest nation in Olympic boxing history got no medals from its men's team for the first time, and flyweight Marlen Esparza won a bronze.
Shields has been on the international boxing scene for less than two years, but the Flint, Mich., native is among its fastest-rising stars. She lost early in the world championships, yet still qualified for the Olympics.
The teen sensation has won over the London crowd with a combination of style, skill and charisma.
Shields is the youngest boxer to win an Olympic gold medal since 16-year-old John Fields of the U.S. won the featherweight title at the 1924 Olympics, according to Reuters.
Irish lightweight Katie Taylor and British flyweight Nicola Adams also won gold medals Thursday at the London Games in a landmark tournament with the first Olympic titles.