Flint boxing, MMA star Claressa Shields signs seven-figure, multi-fight deal

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Next month, Claressa Shields hops back into the boxing ring.

But, before that, ka-ching! 

Shields, the Flint boxing world champion, has signed a multi-fight contract that will be worth seven figures, her agency announced Thursday. The number of fights or the exact terms weren't disclosed, but the deal marks the latest financial boon for Shields, who continues to double dip in boxing and MMA.

After winning gold medals in back-to-back Olympic games Flint boxer Claressa Shields has gone on to a successful pro boxing career.

Shields, 26, returns to boxing Dec. 11 in the United Kingdom, where she will put her IBF world middleweight championship on the line against Ema Kozin, 22. This marks Shields' first boxing bout since beating Marie-Eve Dicaire in March in Flint. Her professional boxing record is 11-0.

She has participated in her first two MMA bouts between the two boxing bouts.

"I'm excited to be defending my titles in the UK," Shields said in a statement Thursday. "I'm excited to return back to my first love, boxing, and fighting as a professional in the UK has always been a dream for me.

"Hopefully I'll be one step closer to shutting Savannah Marshall's mouth victory on Dec. 11."

Marshall, 30, is 11-0, and a future bout between her and Shields is expected to be part of the multi-fight contract announced Thursday.

The deal is between Shields and Salita Promotions and Sky Sports and BOXXER, a promoter. Marshall also is part of BOXXER's stable. The deal means Shields' future fights will air on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

"With this one-of-a-kind partnership, Claressa is taking another significant step to raise women's sports and boxing's popularity to new heights," Dmitriy Salita, president of Salita Promotions, said in a statement.

"A victory on Dec. 11 against the undefeated WBC No. 1 contender Ema Kozin (20-0-1) will secure a mega-fight between Claressa and her longtime rival Savannah Marshall for the undisputed middleweight world championship."

Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing, and is a three-division world champion as a professional boxer.

Earlier this year, she launched her MMA career, after signing a three-year deal with the Professional Fighters League. She won her first MMA bout in June, and lost her second in October.

She recently told The News she plans to retire from boxing by the age of 34, but could continue her MMA career beyond that. Shields, who also has movies and music in the works, said boxing is much more dangerous than MMA, though MMA is more complex.

"We're excited to bring the most feared female in boxing to BOXXER and Sky Sports," said Ben Shalom, founder and CEO of BOXXER. "We look forward to seeing her in career defining fights."

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984