By Mark Elezaj
Flint Michigan- The “GWOAT” Claressa Shields, the two-time Olympic boxing champion, the No. 1 pound-for-pound female fighter in the world and the undisputed women’s middleweight champion of the world, will attempt to make history tonight when she steps back in the ring to face Marie-Eve Dicaire in an all women’s PPV dubbed “SUPERWOMEN”.
For Shields, a victory tonight means that she will become the first boxer in history to be a two-division undisputed champion in the four-belt era. If Dicaire wins tonight, not only can she say that she beat “The GWOAT” but she will be the fifth woman in history to hold an undisputed championship during the four-belt-era.
Shields is widely regarded as the face of women’s boxing today.
“I feel like I’m a trailblazer for women’s boxing and I feel like this is a huge step for women’s boxing,” she said in a phone interview with BET.com. “Overall, just to be able to do it up in Flint at a time like this, it’s going to be very historic and be very uplifting to the people of Flint.”
Tonight’s event will be the first time in 20 years that a women’s boxing match will be the main event of a pay-per-view.
The all-women’s PPV card was put together by Salita Promotions with the intention of proving that the sport of boxing has an audience that can make female boxers self-sufficient on a standalone fight card.
“Women can carry [fight] cards. Women have a fan base. People are tuning in to our fights and they want us to have equal rights, equal pay, equal promotion,” Shields said. “And then we can make money without promoters who won’t book women’s fights.
“That’s what I want and I want for other girls who are going through the same thing that I’m going through in the U.S. to say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to wait around for you guys, either. You guys don’t want to give us the opportunity, we’re going to fight against the other world champion and see if a pay-per-view [provider] will get behind us and support our fight.'”
Shields is not only looking to be the best female fighter in boxing, she’s also looking to dominate in the mixed martial arts cage.
After Friday nights fight, Shields plans on making a transition to mixed martial arts by resuming her training in preparation for her MMA debut in June with a showcase bout for the Professional Fighters League.
The plan, to fight five times in 2021, three boxing matches, and two PFL contests.
Back in December 2020, Shields signed with Professional Fighters League. Her MMA contract does allow her to continue her boxing career.
“Being thoughtful about her boxing career and what’s required, and then being thoughtful about her MMA career and what’s required and so 2021 is the year of Claressa Shields, for sure,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “She’s an amazing human being. Her story transcends sport and now at this next goal to take on MMA, she absolutely has what it takes to be champion, but we’ll see if she can get there — and that’s the fun part.”
Shields feels that MMA tends to be fairer to women than boxing does and that women see equal footing as far as promotion and payment.
“In MMA there isn’t many African American women in the sport,” she said.
“With me doing it, do I think it will bring more Black women to do MMA? I don’t know. I just feel like for you to want to do MMA, it’s got to be something you want to do and that you’re passionate about and I’m actually passionate about boxing and about fighting and learning. So may be me joining MMA will bring more African American girls, but I’m not quite sure.”
“My motivation is just to solidify that I’m the GWOAT [Greatest Woman Of All Time] overall,” she said.
“I’m just one of those boxers who don’t have fear. I’m not scared to try something new, I’m not scared of losing, and I’m not scared of not trying. I have a lot of time to prove it because I have a three-year contract with the PFL and I have a lot of time left in boxing also.”
Shields feels that there will be more all-women fight cards in the future.
“We’re going to continue to build pay-per-view numbers,” she said. “I mean, who knows what the first pay-per-view card numbers were. I’m quite sure if we go back and look it would be like $50,000, I don’t know. But now we can talk about how it’s in the millions, but that had to be built up. It doesn’t just start off that great.
“When this card happens and its successful, I think other women will stop waiting on the networks to give them a fight date and start saying we want to fight in two months and we’re not going to wait four months because you guys are giving us a check, we’re going to go and create our own checks. We’re going to be our own brand,” she said. “We’re going to get our fans to tune into our fights and we’re going to make the best fights.”
~ The Fighting Voice ~