Sunday, October 01, 2023  |



Claressa Shields outclasses Maricela Cornejo over 10, retains undisputed middleweight championship

Claressa Shields was in the zone as she made her way to the ring for her homecoming title defense. Photo by Stephanie Trapp / Salita Promotions
Fighters Network

Claressa Shields dominated Maricela Cornejo from start to finish on Saturday at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, where she defended her undisputed middleweight championship with a shutout unanimous decision (100-89, 100-90, 100-90).

Cornejo (16-6, 6 KOs), who took the fight on nine days’ notice after original opponent Hanna Gabriels tested positive for a banned substance, was outclassed and overpowered, even though Shields (14-0, 2 KOs) was unable to get the stoppage.

“I pressed for the knockout, I went for the knockout many times, but Maricela is just tough,” Shields said during her post-fight interview on DAZN, which streamed the card live. “Power don’t matter, it’s all about skill and heart and I have more of that than any of my opponents.”

Shields couldn’t drop Cornejo, but she did have the 36-year-old veteran in trouble at points during the middle rounds, especially Round 7, which saw the four-time title challenger reeling about the ring and wobbled just before the bell. Shields’ main tools of punishment were straight and overhand rights, which either stood the L.A. resident straight up or violently knocked her head back.

Sheilds nails Cornejo with one of MANY right hands delivered during their June 3rd middleweight championship. Photo Stephanie Trapp / Salita Promotions

Saturday’s homecoming (the 28-year-old pound-for-pound queen hails from Flint, which is an hour’s drive north of Detroit), follows the best performance of Shields’ pro career, a unanimous decision over Savannah Marshall that headlined a huge event in London last November. The hard-fought 10 rounder enabled the two-time Olympic gold medalist to win the undisputed middleweight championship for the second time.

And depending on what happens in Manchester, England on July 1, Shields could rematch Mashall or her pro debut opponent, Franchon Crews Dezurn, who owns two victories over Cornejo and became undisputed super middleweight champion last April.

Crews Dezurn, who dropped a four-round decision to Shields in her pro debut in November 2016, is putting her 168-pound titles on the line against Marshall, The Ring’s No. 1-rated middleweight, at Manchester Arena.

Sheilds said she might be ringside for that showdown of heavy punchers and definitely wants to face the winner.


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