Claressa Shields is all about making history. This is exactly why the reigning boxing world champion signed with the Professional Fighters League.
As Shields continues to train towards her 2021 debut in mixed martial arts at Jackson-Wink MMA in New Mexico, she will shift her immediate focus towards the boxing ring.
Shields, a three-division world champion and Olympic gold medalist, headlines an all-women’s pay-per-view event on March 5.
The reigning WBC and WBO super welterweight champion will face IBF super welterweight champion Marie-Eve Dicaire in a unification match airing live on FITE TV from the Dort Financial Center in Flint, Michigan.
For Shields, who signed with the PFL in 2020 and is expected to make her debut in MMA this summer, this is just another opportunity to make history for women in sports.
“Listen, women have to stop depending on men to give us shots at everything,” Shields said in an interview with ESPN . “Women’s boxing is a hot commodity. Don’t let other network tell you that it’s not. Women’s boxing is in, just like women’s MMA.
“All we need to do is have our own platform and show them that we have fans and that we can sell pay-per-view buys.”
Shields is a perfect 10-0 in her boxing career and has held at least one world title since her fourth pro fight. The 25-year-old native of Flint, Michigan captured gold at both the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and four years later at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Following her training in Florida for the Dicaire bout, Shields will return to Jackson-Wink to continue her progression in MMA. There, she has been working with the likes of former world champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm.
“This is going to be a big year for me,” Shields said. “And I want to take advantage of all my opportunities and I feel like God set me to the side a little bit just so I can grow mentally, physically, spiritually and just be ready for what the world holds for me this year.
“I feel like it’s going to be a big year.”
The PFL season kicks off on April 23 on the ESPN family of networks with competition in six weight classes as athletes battle for a million-dollar purse at the championship finale.