She believed she could, and she did

On Nov. 19, two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields earned her first victory with a solid performance in her professional debut

Earning a gold medal for the second time and becoming the first U.S. boxer to win back to back at the Summer Olympics wasn’t enough for Claressa Shields. The hunger for greatness continued to claw at the 21-year-old until the day she announced that she’d be willing to join some of the greatest female fighters in the ranks of professional boxing. Shields, the kid from Flint, Michigan, who had defied the odds and fought her way through every obstacle in life, wasn’t about to give up now. She vowed to win, and she did. On Nov. 19, Shields jabbed her way to her first professional victory, defeating Baltimore native Franchon Crews. Shields believed she could, and she did. And this is only the beginning.

Claressa Shields, 21, ahead of her first fight as a professional against light heavyweight opponent Franchon Crews.

Shields uses boxing wraps to protect her hands during practice. This will be Shields’ first bout after winning her second gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games in August.

Shields warms up during practice ahead of her professional boxing debut at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Shields has a practice session wth her trainer.

Shields dons her “Just a Kid from Flint” shirt from a Powerade Olympics campaign showcasing athletes who have overcome despite adversity and challenging upbringings.

Leon Lawson, Shields’ trainer, gives the boxer advice during her training session.

Shields takes a break for a few moments before continuing her training ahead of her professional debut.

Shields takes a moment to braid her hair. Outside of being a boxer, her appearance and being a role model to youths are also her top priorities.

A trainer assists Shields as she stretches.

A smiling Shields holds one of her two medals as a little girl admires the other. After claiming a second victory at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games in August, Shields became the first American boxer to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

Shields throws her focus — and punches — into a bag during her training session.

Shields takes a breather, reflects and prepares herself for the fight to come.

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas sits empty. In a few hours, the arena will be filled with boxing fans.

Shields, appearing cool, confident and supported by her crew, enters the arena before her professional debut.

Shields laces up her boxing boots in the dressing room ahead of her professional debut.

Petroleum jelly is applied to Shields’ face to limit bleeding and protect the area most often targeted by opponents.

It’s the calm before the storm. Shields and her crew wait patiently for the fight to begin.

Shields delivers a powerful left hook to Franchon Crews’ face.

Shields’ quick jabs became the moves to watch throughout the rounds.

After competing in an electrifying four rounds, Shields is declared the winner of her first professional bout in a 40-36 unanimous decision.