MAKING historical past, or “herstory”, as she calls it, is nothing new to Claressa Shields. It’s what she does. Whether or not it’s being the one American boxer to earn back-to-back Olympic gold medals, or profitable world titles in three totally different divisions faster than anybody else, the charismatic 25-year-old has grown accustomed to setting data. This Friday (March 5), she plans so as to add yet one more layer to her legacy by turning into the primary fighter ever to reign as undisputed champion in two separate weight courses in the course of the four-belt period.
Aiming to stop Shields from reaching this feat is 34-year-old Canadian Marie-Eve Dicaire. In what will probably be Shields’ opening outing in her hometown of Flint, Michigan – and Dicaire’s sole look exterior of Canada thus far – the unbeaten super-welterweights are set to collide over 10-twos on the Dort Federal Occasion Middle on a Salita and GYM co-promotion, stay on FITE. Up for grabs are Shields’ WBC and WBO straps, together with Dicaire’s IBF title and the vacant WBA championship.
“I’m excited to be preventing one other undefeated champion and to have the chance to make extra historical past,” said Shields. “Headlining my first pay-per-view occasion with this historic all-women’s card, notably at such an essential time within the evolution of girls’s boxing and across the Worldwide Girls’s Day [March 8] celebration, is so significant to me. It’s one massive step for boxing and one big step for womankind.”
Equally to Shields, Dicaire is proud and thrilled to be concerned in such a major showcase for the feminine sport, particularly after the competition was postponed in Could final 12 months as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m completely satisfied to lastly have the ability to face Shields,” Dicaire mentioned. “It’s been a 12 months now that I’ve been making ready solely for this combat. I’m used to creating historical past in girls’s boxing. I used to be the primary lady to steer an occasion in a significant amphitheatre in Canada. On two events, my IBF title defences have been proven on pay-per-view in Canada. I’m enthusiastic about this chance for my profession and for the development of girls’s boxing.”
If all the pieces goes to plan for Shields, this bout would be the first act of a memorable 2021, as she is anticipated to make her MMA debut later this 12 months, having signed a multi-year take care of the PFL (Skilled Fighters League) on the finish of 2021. She has been participating in MMA coaching with a purpose to put together for her new problem, and she or he intends to compete concurrently as a boxer and combined martial artist. For now, although, beneath the steerage of coach John David Jackson, her focus is all on the ring somewhat than the cage.
Dicaire is actually no stranger to different fight sports activities, too. Previous to taking over boxing on the superior age of 24, the Saint-Eustache southpaw loved an especially profitable spell in karate, which she started practising at simply six years previous. She additionally spent a while as a kickboxer, however discovered her true calling when she crossed over to the noble artwork. After turning into Canadian beginner champion in 2013, the Quebecer made her skilled bow in November 2015, aged 29.
In contrast to Dicaire, who began out late within the sport, Shields has been boxing since she was 11. Following an excellent 77-1 profession within the unpaid ranks, the place she garnered gold medals at two Olympic Video games (2012 and 2016) and two World Championships (2014 and 2016), “T-Rex” turned over in November 2016 as a 21-year-old. In solely 10 fights as a professional, she has accrued eight world titles – WBC and IBF super-middleweight (unified), WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO middleweight (undisputed), and WBC and WBO super-welterweight (unified).
Final trip in January 2020, Shields scored her first knockdown within the professionals when she floored Ivana Habazin in spherical six of their conflict for the vacant WBC and WBO super-welterweight belts. Nonetheless, the ex-IBF welterweight titlist was in a position to regain her footing and make it to the ultimate bell, the place she dropped a landslide unanimous resolution. Of Shields’ 10 victories, solely two have come inside the space.
Whereas some have steered that Shields’ scarcity of early finishes signifies an absence of punching energy, the 17-0 Dicaire has did not defeat any of her opponents by way of the short route. In her most up-to-date displaying in November 2019, she soundly outpointed former WBA featherweight champ Ogleidis Suarez on a unanimous verdict to retain her IBF super-welter crown for a 3rd time.
The well-conditioned Dicaire employs clever footwork and upper-body motion to evade incoming strikes, whereas firing out sharp jabs and one-twos each upstairs and down. An efficient and environment friendly punch-picker, she tags her rivals with left uppercuts up high and spearing pictures to the midsection, earlier than shifting out of vary.
Sturdy, expert and tenacious, Shields is an correct attacker who unleashes stylish combos consisting of hooks, straights and overhand blows. She is a formidable physique puncher who boasts a top quality jab, however her prime attributes are her scintillating hand velocity and relentless work fee. Though she suffered a knockdown throughout her otherwise-dominant unanimous factors win over the adorned Hanna Gabriels in June 2018, her defence is usually stable.
In her first combat as a super-welterweight towards Habazin, Shields regarded sprightly and strong, suggesting that she is effectively suited to 154lbs. Dicaire is a nice fighter herself, however Shields is a formidable pressure, which she will show as soon as once more by succeeding on the scorecards.
The Verdict Shields vs Dicaire is a becoming spectacle forward of Worldwide Girls’s Day.