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Claressa Shields: “I Focus Strictly On Whose In Front Of Me”

By: Sean Crose

Claressa Shields – who is probably the best female boxer on earth – is set to face Ema Kozin on February 5 at Wales’ Motorpoint Arena Cardiff. It will be the undefeated 11-0 fighter’s first professional foray outside of America. Like Shields, Kozin is undefeated, boasting a record of 20-0-1. Known as “The Princess,” the Slovenian fighter exuded confidence on a Wednesday media call to promote the fight. Yet Shields, who is known as “The Greatest of All Time,” or “GOAT,” for short, expressed plenty of confidence in her own right.

“I’ve never overlooked an opponent,” said Shields, “and I won’t just because of the Savannah Marshall fight. We’ve always had someone that we’re already working on facing for the next fight. I’ve been in this situation before. I’m focusing on the person who has earned the right to fight me. Kozin is my mandatory, and I respect that this is a huge opportunity for her.”

Although she always takes training seriously, this camp offered Shields something unique: the chance to work with Floyd Mayweather. “Training with Floyd Mayweather has pushed my confidence even higher,” said Shields. “He’s very fond of my skills and my power and he said he’s going to fly to the U.K. to watch this fight. So I’m definitely looking to put on a great show.”

Shields made it clear she’s not at all worried about returning to Great Britain. For it was at the London Olympics where Shields earned a gold medal in 2012. “I’m expecting the U.K. fans to be very excited to see me,” she said. “When I walked out there in London for my gold medal match in 2012, it was an explosive crowd. They have great fans and I’m excited to be back to show off all my improvement since 2012.”

Even though she has tried her hand at MMA recently, Shields stated she is still in love with the sport where she has earned her glory. “I never lost my love for boxing,” said the 16 year old native of Flint, Michigan. “That’s my first love and that’s why I’m the greatest at it. MMA is something I do for myself. Being able to even do that, with no amateur experience, just shows that I’m a different kind of athlete.”

Although focused on Kozin, Shields still wants to get in the ring with the 11-0 undefeated Savannah Marshall in what could be a huge fight. “I’m hoping to get in the ring with Savannah Marshall next,” said Shields. “Women’s boxing is on fire right now and we’re giving the fans the fights they want.”

Kozin, of course, made it clear she has plans of her own. “I’ve never been as prepared as I am right now,” said the challenger. “I wouldn’t be stepping in the ring with her (Shields) if I didn’t believe I was capable of beating her.”

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