Claressa Shields to face amateur rival in pro debut
When Claressa Shields stares across the ring at her opponent in her pro debut on Nov. 19, she will see someone she’s already beaten.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is set to face former amateur rival and former “American Idol” contestant Franchon Crews in a four-round, super middleweight bout on the non-televised portion of Sergey Kovalev’s light heavyweight championship against Andre Ward on HBO PPV, it was announced on Thursday. The bout will air on the “freeview” section of the telecast, starting at 7 p.m. ET at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Shields hopes her presence changes the course of women’s boxing and helps to broaden the appeal of it.
“I can’t wait to perform for my fans,” Shields said in a prepared statement. “Franchon Crews has an outstanding amateur background, but I’m a once-in-a-century fighter and I fear no one. It will be a great night for women’s boxing, a night that I hope will be remembered as one that changed the course of history.”
Shields first faced Crews, who is also making her pro debut, when she was 16, upsetting the then top-ranked American middleweight in the 2012 Olympic Team Trials. Franchon, who started boxing to lose weight for her singing career, went on to cobble together a stellar amateur resume, winning 15 national championships and medaling in the 2012 and 2016 world championships. But the 29-year-old never beat Shields in the times they met, which is obviously why she was chosen as the opponent in her pro debut.
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