This Friday, Claressa Shields holds court in Atlantic City against Ivana Habazin.
The main event bout is a continuation of Shields’ (9-0, 2 KO’s) quest to become boxing’s fastest three-division champion in history. Shields has already made history multiple times over during her short career.
Unapologetic and confident, Shields represents black girl strength in a truly unique way. Between wearing her hair short or in traditional African styles and advocating for her hometown of Flint, Michigan, she has never been one to follow convention just to keep her headlining slot.
She is the only back-to-back boxing Olympic gold medalist in U.S. history. The 24-year-old followed that up by becoming the undisputed middleweight world champion with an almost perfect fight against formerly undefeated Christina Hammer last April.
The win placed her in the same ranks as boxing royalty: Bernard Hopkins, Terence Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Oleksandr Usyk and Cecilia Braekhus; the only fighters to have unified all four major world titles in any weight class.
Shields is now joined by fellow new-generation boxer, Katie Taylor, who has since joined the undisputed ranks. However, Shields stands out as the only female boxer to headline a card on a premium network six times. In a sport where it is hard to sell the women’s game, Shields is bankable and only rising.
Recently, she has been rumored to be training mixed martial arts and wants a fight with the elite in the UFC. A natural disrupter that caught the ire of legendary boxer Christy Martin, Shields made waves challenging her male counterparts.
With a slew of fights featuring boxing’s male elite slated for this year, it is fitting that America’s two-time gold medalist is setting off 2020 to command the respect of the women’s ranks.