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The two-time Olympic gold medal winner calls herself the ‘GWOAT’ – Greatest Woman of All Time; she made her MMA debut back in 2021 against Brittney Elkin and is aiming to be on top in both boxing and MMA

Two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-division boxing world champion  Claressa Shields is returning for another round of MMA fights.

Shields and the Professional Fighters League announced a multi-year agreement on Wednesday and she expects to enter the cage again in 2024 at 158 pounds.

The undisputed middleweight boxing champion went 1-1 in the PFL in 2021 , but is widely regarded as the world’s top pound-for-pound female boxer.

“All my fans, y’all have been asking me, when are you getting back to MMA, when are you getting back in the cage,” Shields said in a video posted on social media. “Well, here you go. Me and the PFL have signed a great seven-figure deal.”

Shields is 14-0 with two knockouts as a pro boxer, including a unanimous decision over Maricela Cornejo in June.

claressa-shields and Alycia Baumgardner

“It is a privilege to announce the PFL has re-signed the most dominant women’s boxer in the world, Claressa Shields, to a new multi-year agreement,” said Peter Murray, CEO of the Professional Fighters League.

The PFL announced a week earlier the signing of Amanda Serrano, the undisputed featherweight boxing champion. Serrano has a 2-0-1 MMA record, with both wins by submission.

Claressa Shields will be back in the ring Aug. 17 to defend her Olympic gold medal. The 2012 Olympics in London were the first time women were allowed to box in the Games and the 17-year-old high school student from Flint, Mich., made history.

But winning a gold medal didn’t change her life as much as she thought it would.

As an independent journalist and filmmaker, I’ve been following Claressa for the past five years. When I first met Claressa in 2011, I was in a dimly lit auditorium in Toledo, Ohio, photographing the women who were trying to become the first to box in the Olympics. A teenage girl with short hair, thick biceps and a determined stare entered the ring — it was her first fight against adult women.

Shields, who is 5-foot-10 and fights at 165 pounds, dispatched her opponent before the end of the first round.

Claressa had been training in the basement of a small neighborhood gym in Flint, one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Few people had ever seen her fight. Less than a year after I first saw her, there she was in London with a gold medal around her neck.

Claressa Shields Still Plans to Box While in MMA

 

“I just remember being on the podium and I’m like, ‘Holy crap! This medal is huge,’ ” she told me last month. “And it was so heavy. And when he put it on, I just held [it] and looked and I thought I was about to go crazy. I wanted to jump down and run around the ring,n  and jump othe ropes and put my hands in the air holding the medal. Just shaking and laughing. It was like someone handed me a million dollars and said, ‘Here you go.’ “

Claressa slept with the gold medal, its ribbon wrapped around her wrist, for weeks. After years working toward this goal, she’d achieved it.

But just days after the Olympics ended, Claressa remembers sitting in her coach’s living room back in Flint and thinking: Now what?

“You know, I guess, I’ve won the Olympic gold medal and I don’t know what to think about now,” she told me. “I don’t know what to dream about. That was my dream for years. I was literally going to sleep and I would see all black, like I wasn’t able to dream. My dream had been accomplished. What do I do now?”

Soon she was back in high school, living with her coach because things were too unstable at home. Her mother has long struggled with addiction.

As a member of the U.S. national boxing team, Claressa received a stipend of $1,000 a month. But those earnings were going to pay her mom’s water bill and helping her older brother, who was in prison.

“Everybody was saying, ‘You should be signed with Nike, you should be on a Wheaties box, how come you aren’t in this magazine?’ It got to the point where I just shut everybody out. I can’t hear that anymore. I really can’t dwell on what I didn’t get,” she told me.

Why didn’t any of those things happen?

Claressa Shields ready and prepared for undisputed bout with Maricela  Cornejo | Sports | abc12.com

“I don’t know why it didn’t happen,” she said. “I take it as I wasn’t ready for it, I guess. I wasn’t the ideal woman. I wasn’t the pretty girl who wears her hair straight. I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t what they were looking for.”

A few months after the London Games, Claressa was back on the amateur circuit. At her first tournament, Claressa and her coach met with USA Boxing officials about a PR strategy. The officials had one suggestion: Claressa should stop talking about how she likes to beat people up.

“You want me to stop saying that?” Claressa asked the boxing officials. “Why?”

Julie Goldsticker, a USA Boxing PR consultant at the meeting, offered some advice on attracting endorsements.

“I box,” said Claressa.

“I understand that,” Goldsticker replied.

“It’s an image thing,” Jason Cruthchfield, Claressa’s coach, explained. “Just tone it down a little bit.”

Claressa wouldn’t budge.

“Their definition of a woman — you can be tough, but not too tough,” she told me when we spoke recently. “If I want to get in there and kick a girl’s ass, I’m going to kick her ass. That’s it. You might as well have told me to start punching my opponents a little softer so girls won’t feel so threatened.”

It’s one thing for a girl to fight — but to admit that you like it makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

Until 2012, boxing was the last male-only sport in the Olympics. Having women in the ring is a stretch for advertisers and promoters – even for many fans. Claressa’s own father, Clarence Shields, had trouble with it. And he was a boxer.

Clarence was locked up for most of Claressa’s childhood, in prison for robbery. These days, he’s supportive of her boxing career, but it wasn’t always that way.

He and his daughter first talked about boxing when she was 11. He told her it was too bad he didn’t have any sons to train.

“Maybe you could live your dreams through me a bit,” Claressa told him.

A week later, she asked her dad if she could box. “And my answer was, ‘Hell, no,'” Clarence said.

“Do you remember the exact words? You said boxing is a man’s sport and that made me so mad.”

“And you should have taken it that way. That was a chauvinist statement, that a girl can’t do it.”

“I’ve been at it ever since. I’m still proving people wrong.”

“Truth be known, little mama, you are awesome.”

Champion woman boxer Clarissa Shields and her winning committee

 

Proving people wrong is one of Claressa’s biggest motivations. Now 21, her record is 74 wins and one loss. That single loss was four years ago.

Her goal is to be unstoppable, because that’s what will make people respect and pay attention to women’s boxing. And to her.

To focus on training for Rio, Claressa moved last year to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. She’s gotten away from the chaos and stress of life in Flint. She’s seen a bigger world. And that’s what she also wants for her mom and younger sister and brother.

“So now, after this Olympics, I want to move my family to Florida or a better place where they can be safer and make a living,” she told me. “I want my family to see things I’ve seen.”

This time around, it’s about more than winning a gold medal. Claressa wants to follow in the footsteps of another young, black Olympic boxer who redefined beauty and power both in and out of the ring.

And like Muhammad Ali, Claressa’s fight for recognition is both personal and political. She wants to make the world embrace her power and aggression.

“In Rio, what’s going to happen [is] everybody’s going to be talking about that girl, Claressa Shields, can fight,” she says. “I know for a fact I’m gonna win the Olympics again. I know already. I’m just telling you what is going to happen. I’m going to win. Period.”

Sue Jaye Johnson is the producer of T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold, a film about Claressa Shields premiering Aug. 2 on PBS Independent Lens. She co-produced for Radio DiariesClaressa’s fight to make it to the 2012 Olympics and has been chronicling her life ever since. You can listen to Claressa’s 2012 audio diary on the Radio Diaries Podcast.

The radio version of this online story was produced by Joe Richman and Nellie Gilles of Radio Diaries.

Olympic Games, Claressa ShiAs the first American female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal and the first American boxer of any gender to win gold in consecutiveelds is already inducted into boxing history. She is highly praised in boxing for her trash talk. A sport that emphasizes verbal abuse just as much as dominating the ring

Not too long ago, we saw Alycia Baumgardner, the undisputed super featherweight world champion, call out Shields for a fight. Shields told Baumgardner that she would make easy work of her. ‘The GWOAT’ dropped another bomb on Baumgardner on X.
Shields in the tweet called out the fact that ‘The Bomb’ has a loss on her record. She said, “They got all that KNOCKOUT POWER but still got them losses though.” Baumgardner suffered one loss in her entire career in her first WBC International Super featherweight title defense, at the hands of Christina Linardatou. Shields also boasted about her undefeated record in the same tweet
Shields mentioned how she has “no knockout power” and is still ranked No.1 in pound for pound. Shields is the current WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, WBF, and The Ring middleweight champion. In another reply, Shields agreed, recognizing the importance of a possible confrontation between the two. The feud between them has taken center stage in women’s boxing.
Alycia Baumgardner To Claressa Shields: "I Will Drop Your Big Ass"
In the past, Claressa Shields had expressed respect for her fellow Olympic contender Alycia Baumgardner, refusing a fight at 147 pounds. However, Baumgardner has now called Shields out for a match. Shields initiated the conversation on social media, emphasizing that a true pound-for-pound fighter can excel in any weight class. She declared her willingness to face Baumgardner at 147, 154, 160, or 168 pounds.
The GWOAT expressed surprise as she had previously stated she wouldn’t fight Baumgardner or Mikaela Mayer. Baumgardner remains determined to face Shields. In reply, Shields, intrigued by the challenge, encouraged Baumgardner to prepare a fight plan as she considered taking her up on the offer.
There is a good possibility that we see the flag bearers of women’s boxing take each other on in an epic battle. The social media fight only creates more anticipation. What do you make of the ongoing battle online? We would love to hear your views.

Recently, a five-year-old clip of Claressa Shields getting knocked down by a male fighter during sparring went viral on the internet. As per the clip, in proximity, as Shields leaned in to throw her right hand, her partner threw a cross followed by a lead left hook.

While the partner, identified as Arturs Ahmetovs missed the cross, he landed the left hook to Shields’ chin and dropped the same on her back. Following this incident, footage of ‘T-Rex’ dominating male sparring partners in the gym has now been released.

After the old video of Arturs Ahmetovs knocking down Claressa Shields went viral, ‘T-Rex’ took to X and claimed Ahmetovs had not only cheated but put her life in jeopardy during that 2018 sparring session. While there was “no shame” in being dropped, the Undisputed Middleweight champion stated Ahmetovs had taken the padding out off his gloves to spar against Shields. Likewise, she also expressed her disgust for coach Derek Santos who, as per Shields, had permitted Ahmetovs to fight with a pair of tampered gloves.

In addition, Shields stated Ahmetovs had removed the padding because ‘T-Rex’ had “embarrassed him earlier this week.” Anyway, after fans speculated Ahmetovs knocking down Claressa Shields in sparring, footage of the two-time Undisputed champion hurting her male sparring partners was released.

American Female Boxer, Claressa Shields Goes Unclad On ESPN Body Issue -  Gistmania

In the clip, one can see Shields not only punching but effectively rattling all the male fighters she is up against. She is both quick and explosive. In addition, Shields is seen demonstrating impressive head movement and footwork. Undoubtedly, after the clip was uploaded, several fans lauded the same on X.

Fans react to Shields’ viral sparring

Frankly speaking, while several people argued that Ahmetovs did not actually cheat, Shields, who has improved a lot since 2018, certainly impressed several fans with the latest clip. Likewise, reacting to the mentioned footage, a fan said Shields was “clearly a great boxer.”

Meanwhile, one was surprised that the fighters walked out of the ring after sparring with Shields.

On the other hand, one declared that Shields is very tough in the ring.

In the high-stakes world of professional boxing, one expects battles and bruises, victories and defeats. But for Claressa Shields, a different kind of fight has emerged, one that transcends the physical confines of the ring. The champion, known for her resilience and dominance in boxing, faces a heartrending challenge that no training can prepare her for.

This week, Shields confronts a personal tragedy, grappling with the loss of not one, but two cousins. Shields’ revelation about this devastating double loss paints a picture of vulnerability rarely seen in the invincible world of sports.

Claressa Shields, in an unguarded moment, shared her grief with the world through a tweet, stating, “Burying 2 cousins in one week this is crazy.” This expression of profound loss immediately resonated with her fans and the wider boxing community. Firstly, one fan expressed his deep sorrow for her loss, acknowledging the pain and offering condolences.

Then came another reaction, conveying sorrow upon reading Claressa’s distressing news. This response highlighted the emotional connection fans often feel with their sports heroes.

Another fan’s message stood out for its compassionate and spiritual nature. He extended heartfelt sympathies to Claressa and her family.

Another fan, adding to the chorus of condolences, wished peace for the departed cousins.

One keen observer offered not just condolences but also a personal touch by sharing his understanding of her situation. His words of comfort and encouragement were a testament to the shared human experiences that bind us.

These reactions collectively paint a picture of a community united in grief and support, rallying around Claressa Shields during her time of personal loss. As far as her professional life is concerned, a new enemy has just appeared on the horizon.

Boxer Claressa Shields, a Flint native, wins Sportswoman of the Year award  | WEYI

The tension between Claressa Shields and Alycia Baumgardner escalated with a series of heated online exchanges. Shields ignited the discourse, boldly claiming, “a true pound-for-pound is someone who can win at any weight class.” She confidently declared her readiness to face Baumgardner at any weight, from 147 to 168. However, Shields also expressed confusion, noting, “I’ve always said I’d never fight Baumgardner,” a sentiment she shared about Mikaela Mayer.

Baumgardner’s fiery response recalled a past gym encounter, stating, “I said ‘we should fight at 147’ and you laughed! And I said I’m serious.” Shields, undeterred, responded provocatively, “Well hey, you think you can dethrone the GWOAT…” and challenged Baumgardner to prepare for the fight. This exchange has piqued the fans’ interest, hinting at an imminent and thrilling showdown in the ring.

The exchange of words has set the stage for an epic confrontation, raising the question: Who will emerge victorious in this clash of titans?

Claressa Shields is perhaps in the prime of her career, establishing a big enough name as a two-time Olympic gold medalist and world champion in three weight classes to headline the first boxing card in the six-year history of Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena.

The undisputed middleweight champion became the first woman to earn a seven-figure payday in her last two fights and made another $1 million on Saturday night when she beat top-ranked contender Maricela Cornejo at the home of the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons.

Shields grew up poor in Flint, Michigan, and has earned enough money to become rich at 28. Still, she laments the gender inequities in boxing.

“We don’t get the equal TV time, the equal promotion, equal pay. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do with my platform and make sure that I get all of that,” Shields said earlier this week in an interview with The Associated Press.

Shields is boxing in a marquee event in part because sports-streaming service DAZN stepped up enough financially to facilitate the fight.

Women in boxing have shown they can sell out big arenas, as Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano did 13 months ago at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but they’re not compensated as well as men in the same sport.

Claressa Shields signs multi-year deal with PFL for MMA bouts | WEYI

“It’s like any other profession where the women still haven’t caught up,” said Jackie Kallen, a 77-year-old former boxing publicist and manager who was commissioner of the International Female Boxing Association. “They take a beating just like the men. They bleed just like the men, but they don’t get paid just like the men.”

Shields is 13-0 with two knockouts. She turned pro in 2016 after becoming the first U.S. boxer of any gender to win consecutive Olympic gold medals and is averaging two fights a year.

Shields also is on a mission to be recognized as the “Greatest Woman Of All Time,” or the “GWOAT,” now and in the future.

“People that say that women’s boxing don’t have fans, well, they’re going to be mad Saturday,” she said.

Claressa Shields, the current women’s IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO world middleweight boxing champion, is currently threatening legal action against fans and networks after a video surfaced showing her being dropped in training by Arturs Ahmetovs, a retired male professional boxer with a record of 6-1-0.

Ahmetovs released the 2018 sparring footage on December 6, which showed him flooring Shields with a crisp jab-cross-hook combination.

Shields quickly took to X, alleging that Ahmetovs removed padding from his gloves after Shields “embarrassed him earlier that week.”

“I’ve never been Ko’d in 17 years and I’ve been dropped 2x all in a week of each other,” Shields continued in another post. “I have no shame in that. But for a male fighter to literally take the padding out his gloves, he’s a punk. Him and coach Derrick santos are bad for the sport!”

The discourse continued on Shield’s feed, with many fans reminding “the GWOAT” that she was getting her just desserts after past remarks that she would beat Keith Thurman and Gennadiy Golovkin in boxing.

Ultimately, Shields released a statement on her Instagram story, threatening legal action against fans and networks claiming she got KO’d in the footage.

claressa-shields

“Anybody or network post that sparring video from 5 years ago getting blocked and a defamation of character letter because I did not get KO’d I got knocked down by a b**** boy with no padding in his gloves.”

Female boxing world champion Claressa Shields is sent tumbling to the canvas in shocking footage from her 2018 sparring session with a male boxer.

Latvian fighter Arturs Ahmetovs recently shared a clip which shows him sparring with Shields, an undisputed champion in the women’s middleweight division.

As the pair exchange punches, Ahmetovs connects with a chopping left hook which sends his female counterpart crashing to the deck.

It is unclear whether Shields returned to her feet and continued the session as the video ends with the three-weight champion staring straight up at the ceiling.

claressa sheilds

 

Ahmetovs, who won six of his seven professional contests from 2019-20, appeared to post footage from the sparring session in response to a claim by Shields back in September that an unnamed fighter dropped her after taking the padding out of his gloves.

‘I’ve been dropped in sparring once by a guy,’ she said. ‘But the guy I sparred, he was like a little Russian hater, he took the padding out of his gloves.

‘I whopped his a** on the Monday, and his coach wanted to spar again on Thursday. He caught me, but he didn’t have no padding in his gloves. He knows exactly who he is.’

Ahmetovs then posted a clip of Shields’ comments followed by his shot which put her down in the now-infamous sparring session.

‘It’s nice that you remember me @claressashields,’ he wrote before his coach Derik Santos added: ‘She is full of s***, they asked for help to spar, why would we want to spar a women [sic]?

‘No one took padding out of the gloves. After she was accusing of this, the gloves were handed to her coach.

‘But more importantly she sparred 2 rounds prior where […] artur was instructed not to hit her hard, while he was working with her she started talking mad s*** at him and fouling him to [the] point she tripped him.’

After Ahmetovs released the sparring footage, Shields doubled down on her claim that he removed padding from his gloves in a series of posts on X.

She said: ‘One thing for sure, if I went public 2018 about how this fellow professional boxer & boxing trainer took his padding out his gloves to spar against me because I embarrassed him earlier that week, it would have jeopardized my upcoming world title fight.

‘I’ve never been Ko’d in 17 years and I’ve been dropped 2x all in a week of each other. I have no shame in that. But for a male fighter to literally take the padding out his gloves, he’s a punk. Him and coach Derrick santos are bad for the sport! 

‘I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want my opponent to have information of me getting dropped leading up to my fight. But why keep a video hidden for 5 years and you so big and bad – F*** outta here.’

After her spectacular victory over Savannah Marshall to become undisputed middleweight champion last October, American star Claressa Shields is not expected to box Natasha Jonas or rematch Marshall in her next fight

Shields became undisputed middleweight champion after she won her spectacular fight with Savannah Marshall in October of last year.

“We offered her a rematch in the UK, she doesn’t want to fight in the UK which is fair enough,” promoter Ben Shalom told Sky Sports.

Shields has also been linked with a move down to super-welterweight to return to Britain to box unified 154lb champion Natasha Jonas. But that will not be Shields’ next fight.

“I think that they’re looking at an option in the US, hopefully on Sky. It won’t be Jonas and it won’t be Marshall,” Shalom said.

“We made the offer that we needed to for her to come back for the rematch and it was turned down. I think the general point is she doesn’t want to fight in the UK next.”

Shalom however is still hopeful the Shields-Marshall rematch can happen further down the line.

Hartlepool’s Marshall has other options herself, that could see her push her another title fight in the division above, up at super-middleweight, before renewing hostilities with her great rival Shields.

“It will happen. To be fair she [Shields] feels it isn’t the right time,” Shalom said. “It’s not the natural time for it.

“Maybe the rematch is at 168lbs where it’s a bit more even.”

Claressa Shields

He added: “We are likely to announce a big fight for Savannah in the next week.”

Shields’ team have previously made Natasha Jonas, the unified WBO, IBF and WBC super-welterweight champion, an offer to box, but Jonas’ management did not feel it was substantial enough for the magnitude of that fight.

Jonas is one of the UK’s most in-form fighters. Earlier this month she became the first woman to win the British Boxing Board of Control’s Boxer of the Year award.

Shalom expects Jonas to box again in May or June.

“She will have another fight,” he said. “We think we’ve got a big fight for her. Probably announce that within the next week.

“We will have big news for both of them [Marshall and Jonas] in the next week or so.”

After her victory over Maricela Cornejo inside the squared circle, Claressa Shields recently re-signed with the PFL. Responding to her fans who wanted her “back in the cage,” Shields declared that she and the PFL “signed a great seven-figure deal“. While the undisputed Middleweight champion was excited to “return to a fighter-first organization,” Peter Murray, the CEO of the Professional Fighters League announced that it was a “privilege” to re-sign ‘T-Rex’ to a “new multi-year agreement“.

In the wake of re-signing with the PFL, energetic and happy Shields even stated that within two years, she would win the PFL championship belt. Undoubtedly, on the surface, everything seemed to be fine with Shields. However, while everyone expected the champ to enjoy the time of her life, the 28-year-old recently uploaded a post of her crying.

Taking to Instagram, the undisputed champion shared a brief clip of her crying. According to her, crying is simply a method of getting rid of negative energy. While Shields did not go deeper into why she was crying, the 28-year-old informed her fans that she was “okay“. “Crying is just releasing negativity energy,” Shields wrote. “I’m Okay!” exclaimed Shields.

Claressa Shields

Reacting to Shields’ post, one said, “Crying is the weakness leaving the body. You know you got warriors behind you“.

Meanwhile, one assured Shields that she was aLoved Champ“. “Most Powerful Woman,” they added.

On the other hand, one encouragingly wrote, “Yes let it out. I cry all the time. Lift my head up and thank the Lord“.

Similarly, one said, “Love you @claressashields let it out so you can activate your superpowers!!!

Finally, one fan assured Shields that she was beautiful in “any kind of way“.YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL. @claressashields Now cheer up and do what you do and kick some butt,” they added.

What do you make of Claressa Shields crying? Do you see a particular reason behind posting the clip on Instagram? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. For all the latest boxing updates, follow EssentiallySports!