Shields eager to make her professional boxing debut

John Niyo
The Detroit News
Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields isn’t done fighting. In fact, she says she’s just getting started.

The 21-year-old Flint native, who made history in August as the first American boxer to repeat as an Olympic gold medalist, is set to make her professional debut Saturday night in Las Vegas.

She’ll fight amateur rival and former Golden Gloves champion Franchon Crews on the undercard of the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Shields’ four-round super middleweight bout won’t be part of the HBO pay-per-view broadcast, but will be available live on “freeview” starting at 7 p.m. on the pay-per-view events channel as well as HBO Boxing’s Youtube channel, and ESPN3.

“I’m excited,” Shields said. “I’m ready to take on this new task of being a professional fighter and, ultimately, winning a belt. When deciding to go pro, I thought about my legacy. I didn’t want to disappear for four years and (then) win another gold medal but have people not know my name or what I look like or how I box.”

And while Shields hasn’t ruled out another Olympic run — she boasts an amateur record of 77-1 — she long has talked about making inroads for women in her sport at the pro level.

“I’m a smart fighter, I’m an entertaining fighter,” Shields said. “The world is going to see a level of boxing that no woman boxer has ever showed before.”



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