Claressa Shields, the only American boxer, either male or female, to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, will cross another barrier on March 10 when she becomes the first woman to headline a card on premium cable in the United States.
Shields, 21, took middleweight gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016 and won her only professional bout in November. She faces former world-title challenger Szilvia Szabados, 26 at Detroit’s MGM Grand on 10 March.
The bout, which will be six, two-minute rounds, is yet another milestone for Shields, whose goal long has been to erase any negative perception that exists about women in boxing.
Women haven’t been given the opportunity,” Shields said
“This is a big opportunity to be on TV and give the fans the chance to see us and cling to us and like the way we fight. This is big.”
Shields, who reunited with long-time coach Jason Crutchfield, who led her to her first gold medal in 2012, said that instead of feeling pressure, she is “blessed to carry the torch” for women’s boxing.
The American posted on Instagram:
The NABF was one of the first titles that the great Muhammad Ali fought for and won after his 1960 win at the Olympic Games!!!! To be given the opportunity to follow in his footsteps is an honour! And I’ll continue to carry his legacy!”
In December, Great Britain’s two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams said she would “love to see a woman headlining a boxing show”.
Adams turned professional in January and makes her debut on 8 April, while Ireland’s Katie Taylor – Olympic champion in 2012 – embarks on her third fight in the pro-ranks on the undercard of David Haye’s meeting with Tony Bellew on 4 March.