Claressa Shields happy to focus on boxing, get closer to Marshall battle
It’s back to the ring after a stint in the cage for Claressa Shields, the dual combat sport practitioner and Michigan native who will work to stay unbeaten in the boxing sphere on Dec. 11, when she battles Ema Kozin in Cardiff, Wales.
The WBC has the unbeaten Slovenian Kozin (21-0-1, 11 KOs) ranked No. 1 at middleweight, for the record. This scrap in the top support bout on a PPV card topped by a Chris Eubank Jr clash, maybe against TBD as Liam Williams is reportedly injured.
Shields’ promoter Dmitriy Salita secured a seven figure deal with Sky Sports in the U.K., which signals a hardening trend, with women’s boxing gaining a more sure foothold in the U.K. as opposed to America.
A win for the 26 year old hitter who’ll put her WBC, WBA and IBF straps up for grabs likely positions her for a battle against probably her stiffest test as a pro, Savannah Marshall, who beat Claressa in their amateur days.
“I’m excited to return to the boxing ring against the undefeated number contender and show the world once again that I am the GWOAT,” said the two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, who promised via Twitter that she’d beat down the Slovenian in this middleweight tussle. “It’s been a dream of mine to fight in the U.K., and it brings me one step closer to shutting Savannah Marshall’s mouth once and for all. I will be sensational on December 11.”
Shields’ last fight came on Oct. 27, when she mixed it up with Abigail Montes on a Professional Fighters League card, exiting with a split decision loss. The take-no-BS fighter debuted on the MMA side June 10, 2021, enjoying a TKO triumph over Brittney Elkin.
Shields (11-0 with 2 KOs) offered RING her take on the 22 year old Kozin. “She comes forward throws, a lot of punches. To me she looks decent, but she’s in for surprise when we fight. She’s good, I’m great and I’ll show that Dec. 11.”
The fighter has been active with her chops busting, engaging in a back and forth with social media creation Jake Paul, slated to top a Showtime PPV against Tyson Fury’s little bro Tommy on Dec. 18. Shields announced she is keen to engage in a sparring session with Paul, and will put up $100,000 which he can take home if he beats her.
OK, has she heard back from Jake?
If no, would she consider bumping up the sparring winner take all deal, to $250,000?
“No,” she said, chuckling. “I guess Jake Paul isn’t stupid after all. I owe him a good old right hand to the face!”
That’s mostly, I think, smart buzz generation. Back to more tangible subjects—is Shields especially looking forward to getting back to the squared circle for the first time since beating Marie Eve Dicaire in March 2021?
“I always look forward to boxing. It’s my number one love,” Shields said. “MMA wasn’t too bad, I’m going to be doing more of it next year but I’m happy to be defending my world titles in the sport I know everything about.”
And I was curious, does she see boxing differently now, after drilling so hard learning the MMA ins and outs. “I see boxing the same but there are a few things I learned in MMA that I’ll use in boxing. Opened my eyes to a lot more!”
It’s a good bet Shields wouldn’t want to delve much into what could come after this event versus the Slovenian (below).
Promoter Salita, though, is willing to indulge a bit in visualizing a possible future. “Claressa really wants to beat Savannah Marshall and is willing to go to her home country, her home town,” he said in closing, “to show her without any doubt that she is the best in the world.”