Claressa Shields: “I Think Shakur Is Going To Beat Oscar Valdez Pretty Bad”
By: Hans Themistode
Claressa Shields was both elated and taken aback when the news initially broke.
As first reported by Dan Rafael, formerly of ESPN, WBO lightweight champion Shakur Stevenson and WBC titlist Oscar Valdez – are on the verge of agreeing to terms for a unification showdown on April 30th, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On paper, Valdez will be undoubtedly the most accomplished and skilled fighter Stevenson has ever faced in his young career. Still, despite the step up in competition, fellow former Olympian Claressa Shields believes that once the bell rings, Stevenson will prove that he’s simply on another level.
“I got Shakur winning,” said Shields recently during an interview with FightHype.com. “I got Shakur tested slightly but I think Shakur is going to break Oscar Valdez down and by the seventh round, it’s going to be a knockout. Skills pay the bills.”
While Valdez has enjoyed sizable success throughout his career thus far, in 2021, he took both his game and star power to another level.
Following a fairly dominant title reign at 126 pounds, Valdez struggled mightily once he opted to test the super featherweight waters. With two shaky performances against Adam Lopez and Jayson Velez, Lopez found himself as a gigantic underdog against the hard-hitting Miguel Berchelt.
Regardless of the thoughts of the betting public, however, Valdez easily dispatched of the Mexican star, scoring three knockdowns on the night before violently stripping Berchelt of his WBC crown via 10th round stoppage. Soon after, Valdez would successfully defend his newly won trinket, somewhat controversially, against Robson Conceicao.
Although Valdez may have solidified his placement as one of the best 130 pounders in the world, Stevenson planted his flag firmly alongside him.
The former Olympic silver medalist toyed with fringe contender Jeremia Nakathila, winning every round during their June 12th, showdown. Four months later, Stevenson laid waste to former marine Jamel Herring.
Even with a packed pro-Herring crowd vehemently cheering him on, Stevenson ignored the noise and easily outboxed his man before scoring the 10th round stoppage victory. In the process, Stevenson was successful in wrapping his second divisional title around his waist.
With both 130 pound titlist riding the high of their respective stellar years, and with the pair considered arguably head and shoulders above the rest, Shields is anxious to watch them lock horns in the middle of the ring.
In the end, while the former two-time Olympic gold medalist ultimately respects Valdez and thinks extremely highly of his overall skills, she maintains that once the bell rings, Valdez will be on the receiving end of a beating like no other.
“I think Shakur is going to beat Oscar Valdez pretty bad.”
Claressa Shields Picks Up First Defeat Of Pro Fighting Career, Loses To Abigail Montes In Professional Fighters League
By: Hans Themistode
No matter the circumstances, Claressa Shields always managed to find a way to win. Whether she was competing on the Olympic stage or fighting for an undisputed boxing crown, or better yet, in the cage during a Mixed Martial Arts bout, Shields would always have her raised in victory.
However, in her second trip to the MMA world, Shields suffered the first defeat of her professional fighting career.
As a newly signed member of the Professional Fighters League, Shields struggled with the physicality of Brittney Elkin approximately four months ago. With defeat staring Shields squarely in the face, she bit down on her mouthpiece and scored a third-round stoppage win. While she was ecstatic with the victory, Shields couldn’t muster up any magic this time around.
Standing across the cage from Shields tonight at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida was the undefeated Abigail Montes. Despite sporting an unblemished record, Montes was viewed as the heavy underdog. Still, even with little to no public backing, the Mexican product proved her doubters wrong.
Unsurprisingly, Shields moved comfortably in the octagon on the feet. The multiple division boxing champion, blasted Montes whenever she came within range. Realizing that she was up against one of the greatest strikers in boxing history, Montes opted to stay out of the wheelhouse of Shields and began mixing things up with her clinch game.
Montes drove Shields back against the cage and attempted to drag her down to the matt in the final minute of the opening frame. Shields though, showed much-improved takedown defense as she kept things standing for the majority of the round.
A more determined Montes came out in round two, hellbent on forcing Shields to fight uncomfortably. The two grappled against the cage with Shields unable to let her hands go as she struggled with the wrestling abilities of her opponent.
Just when Montes appeared to be in control, Shields broke free and landed a smooth combination. As blood began to gush from the mouth of Montes, she rushed Shields and pulled her down to the canvas for the duration of the round.
With the third and final round closing in, both women came out aggressive as their contest appeared to be up for grabs. Unwilling to exchange leather with Shields, Montes quickly dragged the boxing star into her world. For the vast majority of the final period, Shields was forced to fight on her back. Although Montes never landed any eye-catching blows, she was the far more effective fighter.
Following 15 mostly entertaining minutes, both women embraced in the center of the octagon. They then waited patiently on the final scores to be sorted and read out loud. Shields was none too pleased as Montes managed to eke out a close split decision win. But, regardless of her recent shortcomings in the cage, Shields is set to return to the sport she’s dominated for almost a decade.
On December 11th, in Birmingham, England, Shields will put her WBC, IBF, and WBA middleweight titles on the line against Slovenia’s Ema Kozin.
Claressa Shields speaks in-depth about MMA training, why she would never fight on a Jake Paul Undercard, and why MMA fans are more loyal to fighters
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women In Sports Foundation
Claressa Shields begins the second chapter of her MMA career on October 27 against Abigail Montes of Mexico.
After years of dominance in the squared circle, Shields admits the rise inside the cage is a more frustrating one. Likening personal achievements in the octagon to being a “kid in a candy store,” each passing day presents new opportunities for the boxing “GWOAT” to climb the ranks in her new discipline.
Speaking to BoxingInsider.com in-depth on Zoom, Shields discusses the inner workings of her MMA preparation, why she would never fight on a Jake Paul undercard, her admiration for her fellow women fighters (particularly Katie Taylor), and Flint Strong the upcoming film based on her life starring actress/singer Ryan Destiny.
Is Claressa the boxer different from Claressa the MMA fighter?
CS: I would say when I think about myself inside of boxing, I don’t have any doubts. And I don’t have many frustrations. And then when I look at myself inside the cage, because I’m just now starting, I don’t have doubts, but I have more frustrations. So I feel like when I do good in MMA, I feel like a little kid inside the candy store. And then when I do good in boxing, it’s like ‘You’re the GWOAT, that’s what you’re supposed to do.’
I just accept it more when it’s in boxing, but when I’m in MMA and I’m doing it, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. So to be winning fights and have any success in training and stuff like that. I feel like a kid in a candy store.
There’s a disparity in how women are promoted in MMA vs boxing. But within that, the fans seem to respect [women] MMA fighters more than boxing fans. What do you think the MMA fans have figured out that boxing fans haven’t?
CS: I think the MMA fans have figured out loyalty. I feel like in boxing we have this thing where you have to be an undefeated fighter for us to respect you. In MMA. They’re like ‘We’re gonna respect every MMA fighter especially the ones who we cheer for win Lose or Draw because it takes so much to get inside the cage and so much to be great at that sport.’
Same thing with boxing it takes a lot to be great at boxing too. But I feel like the boxing fans, are just like if you’re not undefeated then they don’t respect you as being the great that you are. You have one bad night…I mean we watched Anthony Joshua be damn near a unified champ and He lost to Andy Ruiz. I feel like the UK boxing fans are some of the most loyal fans to their fighters. And they all kind of flipped on AJ, you know, and saying like, “Oh, he’s not as good as everybody thinks,” or “he fights like an amateur. He got too much muscle.” They were saying all these mean things about him.
Nobody was saying mean stuff when he was knocking all the good guys out. Then in MMA, like I said, Conor McGregor. I don’t know he lost his last two MMA fights last three. But guess what? His fans still show up to the arena to see him. Still say Conor McGregor is the goat, still, respect Conor McGregor regardless of his losses. That’s just the difference between the two fans. I feel like in MMA, I’m respected so much because boxers don’t make the switch to MMA
What’s a narrative you’ve heard out there that you just don’t want to hear any more?
CS: Women can’t sell tickets, you know, or women don’t have a large fan base. I don’t want to hear that shit no more because it’s a lie. I think it’s time for women in boxing to start getting the opportunities that men get to start being able to fight on major cards, pay per view, main events on all these networks, and also being paid correctly. You know, they make up all these excuses as to why women don’t get paid the same as the men.
Will we see a battle of the sexes match between men and women boxers?
CS: I’ve actually had an exhibition fight against a man. It was an exhibition by in Flint, Michigan for a charity event. And I boxed against this boxer from Detroit. I don’t know his name, they said his nickname was Mooka. I boxed against him and this was before they started all this exhibition stuff that they got now. I literally had on a dress, it was a ball gown dress. I ended up changing into my boxing outfit and me and him boxed 4 rounds. This was in 2014, 2015. I think it’s definitely possible, it just depends on what females you picking.
Thoughts on Jake Paul:
CS: I basically said to Jake Paul can beat me in a boxing match and I’ll never fight on an undercard of his. But I also said, to my knowledge, Amanda Serrano made $75,000 for her fight. And I’m like, but the guys made millions. That wasn’t right. The fact that what she was paid wasn’t right and that she wasn’t the main event wasn’t right TO ME. And that’s why I wouldn’t do it. And people were like oh, you [taking a shot at] Serrano? But I was like a no, the shot was clearly to Jake Paul.
Claressa Shields will face Abigail Montes at the 2021 PFL Championship on Wednesday, October 27th!
For our full, in-depth interview, visit BoxingInsider.com on YouTube or click below.
Claressa Shields Scores The Knockout Win In MMA Debut, Stops Brittney Elkin In The Third
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing, at least to a certain extent, had become both too easy and not rewarding enough. So after dominating as an amateur and pro, Claressa Shields figured that she could do the same in an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) octagon, she was right.
For months on end, Shields trained tirelessly for her MMA debut in the Professional Fighters League (PFL), an organization in which she signed a multi-fight contract to compete under. In her first official fight under mixed martial arts rules, Shields took home a third-round stoppage victory over Brittney Elkin.
Although on paper, Shields walked into their showdown as the favorite, Elkin’s experience was difficult to overcome.
Shields marched her way to the octagon in Atlantic City, New Jersey, kicked her shoes and stepped into the cage. Early on, she proved that her world-class striking ability could easily translate as she tagged her opponent on multiple occasions. But, as expected, Elkins managed to get their contest to the ground and that’s where things got complicated for Shields.
As the multiple division boxing champion had grown accustomed to trampling over the competition in the ring, she admits that she had to bite down on her mouth guard and dig deep against Elkin’s.
“Every time I sat down in the corner, I was like ‘Damn, I lost another round,’” said Shields after her victory. “I came out for the second round, lost the second round. Then came the third round, my coach said to not get taken down. She got me on the ground but she never hurt me. None of her punches hurt me. None of her armbars—nothing.
“I never doubted myself in a boxing match in my life. MMA is something like, it’s possible I can lose this first fight. I don’t want to lose but all I could do was just try not to lose. I just had a never quit attitude every round.”
Quitting has never been a part of Shields vocabulary but before tonight, losing rounds wasn’t either. After going 64-1 as an amateur with two Olympic Gold medals and 11-0 as a pro with world titles in three separate weight classes, including two undisputed title reigns, Shields rarely lost a round. Yet, as noted by Shields, her dominance in the ring didn’t exactly translate to the octagon.
Refusing to accept defeat, however, Shields got exactly what she was looking for in the final round. After Elkin’s failed to secure a takedown, Shields took full advantage, buzzing her opponent as she attempted to get the fight on the ground. With precious time ticking off the clock, Shields went for the stoppage. As the referee looked on, he attempted to give Elkin’s the benefit of the doubt. With that said, after Shields scored shot after unanswered shot, he was forced to call off their contest.
Although there was no title on the line, Shields celebrated as if she had just won one. Now, as Shields is officially a two-sport athlete, she replayed the final moments in the octagon that allowed her to pick up her first MMA win.
“I just seen that she didn’t like getting hit. She was exposed. Coach kept saying, ‘Let her out.’ I was like, ‘I’m not letting her up.’ She turned toward me. I pushed myself toward her again, and it was over.”
Claressa Shields: “They Need To Come With That Dough And I’ll Be Seeing Katie (Taylor) At 147”
By: Hans Themistode
There is essentially no one left for Claressa Shields to face.
After unifying the 168-pound division earlier in her career, Shields went on to become an undisputed belt holder at 160 pounds and most recently, she doubled up on her undisputed tag by dropping down in weight yet again to win every single title at 154 pounds.
Her claim as the best female fighter in the world is difficult to fulminate against considering the lack of options she has at her disposal.
Currently, the only other fighter who is worth mentioning in terms of serious competition, is undisputed lightweight champion, Katie Taylor. The weight discrepancy however, makes their showdown more of a pipe dream.
Or maybe not.
Following her latest win over Marie Eve Dicaire this past Friday night, Shields revealed that she would be willing to go down even lower in weight if a matchup with Taylor can be made.
Despite Taylor holding an undefeated record, numerous world titles and worldwide recognition as one of the greatest female fighters of her generation, Shields seemed unaffected by her long list of accolades.
To the Flint Michigan native, handling Taylor won’t be much of an issue. But dragging her body down even lower in weight will be.
“Katie Taylor is not the worry in that sense,” said Shields during her post-fight interview. “The 147 is. Katie is a great fighter.”
For Shields, facing Taylor at 147 pounds will make her feel strange when she walks past the mirror. Losing a few extra pounds for a male fighter isn’t viewed as much of a big deal. In her case however, Shields likes what she sees whenever she looks at her reflection and knows that if she does drain her body down to the welterweight limit, that she’ll ultimately lose an important part of her curvy body.
“They got to pay me a lot of money for me to lose my butt to go down to 147. At the end of the day, I’m a woman and that’s something that I love about my body. I may not have big breasts but I got a nice butt and I would lose that to go to 147.”
As much as she adores her body though, Shields would be perfectly alright with trading in her curves for a big bag of cash.
“They need to come with that dough and I’ll be seeing Katie at 147. At least with a million, talk to me nice.”
For Taylor, she has never competed at 147 pounds, although she did make one appearance at 140 roughly two years ago against Christina Linardatou. Taylor would win that contest via unanimous decision.
While it’s too early to assume that they will in fact fight, at this point in time, the Taylor might just be the only competition left for Shields.
Billy Joe Saunders Gets License Suspended and is Ripped by Heather Hardy and Claressa Shields
By: Hans Themistode
For the better part of four years, WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders spent the vast majority of his time calling out Canelo Alvarez. After years of employing the same tactics, Saunders finally got his wish. A date with Alvarez on May 2nd with Saunders WBO title on the line.
Now, ironically enough, Saunders used his words to land the biggest fight of his career. But now, his words are about to cost him.
With the entire world seemingly on quarantine thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, Saunders thought it would be funny to share a video of what men should do to their female spouses should they get on their nerves too much during isolation.
Saunders quickly found out that he was the only one in the room laughing.
Domestic violence has always been a hot button topic. Too many athletes have found themselves in trouble for simply failing to keep their hands to themselves. Saunders may not have actually put his hands on a female, but everyone, including his promoter Eddie Hearn is shaking their head at him.
“I was appalled really,” said Hearn. “It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. He’s a really good kid, with a really good heart … but every now and again he does the most stupid things.”
“It’s unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it. It’s much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it’s unacceptable.”
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common occurrence. Yet, you might be willing to bet that one woman has never had to deal with it. That would be arguably the best female boxer in the world, Claressa Shields. With two gold medals, world titles in three different weight classes and an undefeated record, you would have to be crazy to even think about putting your hands on Shields.
While she isn’t worried about herself. She did offer a bit of advice to all the ladies in abusive relationships.
Necessary? Also yes.
Another fighter who decided to jump all over Billy Joe Saunders is former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy.
“This is not funny,” Hardy wrote in a Tweet that she has since deleted. “I can’t imagine the number of people quarantined in abusive and dangerous spaces right now, and this dumb piece of sh*t makes a joke about ‘how to hit your annoying wife.”
The words of Hardy, Shields and Hearn were sharp, but Saunders really felt it when his boxing license was suspended.
“Having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media,” the BBBofC said in a statement, “we have suspended his boxer’s license pending a hearing under the board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
Saunders has always been known as having thick skin and unapologetic. But this time around, he’s noticed that he made a huge mistake.
For what it’s worth, the boxing community has seemingly appreciated the apology. Even Hardy came around and apparently wants to sweep things under the rug.
While Hardy may not think that Saunders is “dick head” the rest of the world may still feel that way. He has always been perceived in an unfavorable light and this situation certainly doesn’t help.
If Saunders hopes to get into the good graces of everyone he’ll need to take even more action. That would include becoming a social advocate against domestic violence.
As for his contest with Canelo, unless he can somehow get his license back, he may have lost the biggest fight of his career before it even started.