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SXSW Exclusive: Claressa Shields, Youngest Woman to Box in Olympics, Talks Early Years in Clip from Doc ‘T-Rex’

SXSW Exclusive: Claressa Shields, Youngest Woman to Box in Olympics, Talks Early Years in Clip from Doc 'T-Rex'


The 2012 Summer Olympics years behind us (the next installment is in 2016), a documentary feature film about 19 year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, the youngest woman – and one of the first – to ever box in the Olympics, will be making its world premiere at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival in Austin. TX.

The tri-continental effort (North America, Europe and Asia) comes from directors Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari, who begun work on the film in 2012 (when Shields was 17 years old), en route to a successful $64,000 crowdfunding campaign – funds that were used to complete the film.

Here’s a long description of the project: “T-Rex isn’t her real name. Her real name is Claressa. Friends and family just call her Ressa. She’s from Flint, Michigan. She’s in high school. Next year she’ll be a senior. The first day we met, it was her 17th birthday. She had a water balloon fight and a big, yellow cake. She carries her money around in a plastic bottle. She wears her hair in braids (sometimes). She takes the bus to school. She likes twitter. She likes boys. She writes in her journal. Pretty everyday for a teenager. But this is hardly an everyday story. Six years ago her dad took her to a local boxing gym. She said she wanted to box. He said, “Hell no. Boxing is a man’s sport.” She ignored him. She dreams of being the first woman in history to win the gold medal in Olympic boxing. But in order for her to succeed, she’ll need to stand her ground both inside and outside the ring.”

At the 2012 summer Olympics in London, women’s boxing was a first-time-ever sport, with Claressa being the youngest of all the competitors. She would eventually claim her sport in history as the youngest, and the first woman boxer to win a Gold Medal in her weight class. 

She returned home, to Flint after the Olympics, as a new chapter in her life began… 

Her current record stands at Wins 43, 18 of them by knockout, and just 1 loss! Her last big win was last year, when she took home the Gold at the 2014 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.

The documentary that tells her story, titled “T-Rex,” will make its world premiere at SXSW next month.

In the exclusive clip from the film below, Claressa talks about what it was like during her early years pursuing the sport:

And if you missed it, here’s the trailer:

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