Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


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.

“Being on the Kovalev-Ward card with another accomplished fighter like Claressa Shields is such an honor and a step in the right direction for women’s boxing and the sport of boxing as a whole,” Crews said in the press release. “Moments like these don’t come frequently. Others before me created the blueprint, I opened the door, and Claressa is now ready to walk through it. I am excited about fighting November 19, but the real fight is us tearing down the barriers together.”

Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…


Ring Magazine Dec 2016

You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Double Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The U.K. Issue featuring cover star Carl Frampton is available now.