Shields is not short on confidence but she has the pedigree to back it up
Claressa Shield made history at the age of 17 when she won the first middleweight gold medal in women’s Olympic boxing at London 2012 and is now aiming for another game-changing moment for women’s boxing by headlining the first all-female pay-per-view event.
The American says, she is ‘taking no prisoners’, upping the ante in recent weeks in a series of statements including her claim that only Muhammad Ali is ahead of her as ‘The Greatest’ boxer of all time.
Shields, from Flint, Michigan faces Marie-Eve Dicaire for the undisputed women’s light-middleweight world championship on Friday evening.
She will put her two 154-pound belts on the table, with the vacant Ring Magazine and WBA titles also on the line when she faces Canada’s Dicaire in the headline event of the all-female “Superwomen” card on Friday night on FITE TV at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Centre in her hometown, where a limited crowd is permitted.
Her CV is second to none. She is a reigning unified light middleweight titleholder, and the unified middleweight champion and a former super middleweight world champion.
But besides boxing, Shields is also working alongside some of the greatest martial artists in the world ahead of her MMA debut in the Professional Fighters League in June this year.
“I wanted to challenge myself. Money is always great, let’s not get that wrong, but it was more just to prove that I am one of the greatest athletes of all time,” says Shields, who also believes that women’s fights should be “increased to three minute rounds from two minute rounds” to match that of the men and to see more knockouts.
“I don’t box for a hobby. It’s not a hobby. It’s my career, and I feel like people underestimate me when I speak about how great I am,” she added.
Shields now wants to compare her accomplishments to ‘The Greatest’, Muhammad Ali. “If I didn’t say how great I am, no one would have ever called me great because they don’t recognise it. Only the greats know that they’re great,” she says.
“If Ali had never said he was the greatest of all time, he would have never been considered the greatest. No matter what boxer comes along, nobody can get in front of Muhammad Ali. That’s how I feel about myself.
“Muhammad Ali is first, and Claressa Shields is second. I am the greatest woman of all time, and 98 per cent of men in the world can’t beat me.”
The three-weight world champion admits to admiring Katie Taylor, the brilliant Irish fighter who is the undisputed women’s lightweight champion, but insists that Taylor has not yet achieved what the American has in the sport.
Shields is also intent on a rematch with Savannah Marshall, the Briton who is the WBO middleweight champion, if she is victorious over Dicaire in Michigan. It would be a blockbuster fight in the women’s ranks.
“When I lost my first fight when I was 17 [to Britain’s Marshall], I didn’t sleep until I was 21 when I won my second Olympics. That’s how personally I take this fight.
“I’m hoping she can bring out a different side of me because many girls haven’t been able to take me to level three. I’m hoping she can take me to level 10.
“Savannah isn’t a better fighter than me, and that’s been proven. I want you to know I’m not taking prisoners. This is a new era for me. My name from now on is Claressa ‘The Wolf’ Shields. My old ring name ‘T-Rex’ has long gone. ‘T-Rex’ was aggressive, but the greatest of all time has so much more. She possesses poise, power, and punch placement.”