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Claressa Shields reflects on strong 2018, looks ahead to next year

Claressa Shields had a big year, and is hoping 2019 will be even bigger.

Cecilia Braekhus v Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

The dust has settled, another W has been added to the BoxRec. So what is Claressa Shields thinking and feeling as she contemplates a quite successful year in boxing?

We queried the Michigan-born boxer, who is advised by Mark Taffet and promoted by Dmitriy Salita, and has fought on Showtime, DAZN and HBO in her last three tangos. So, she’s spreading the word on her skills on, like, most all the platforms.

So, thoughts on the win over Hermans?

“My performance was good but I can always be better. I only had two goals for the fight and that was to win the fight and to hit her hard to the body, and I did both. When I watched the fight, I graded myself C+.”

Also, fighting on that last HBO card — thoughts on that? Did she have any special interactions with Jim or Max or anything?

“It meant a lot to be a part of that HBO telecast! Being an amateur that was one of my goals. I’ve been a boxing junkie for a few years now and there’s a lot of great fights I’ve watched on HBO, so to fight on that network was a huge thrill and just another reminder of how far I’ve come in a short period of time!

“I loved the fighter meeting with Jim, Max and Roy. We had some great, insightful conversation and they gave some some great input on my boxing. Those guys are legends, and it was a thrill just to be in the same room with all of them together.”

The ratings were solid for her fight, right? What does it say about the appetite for watching women fight, I asked the 23-year-old boxer, who owns an 8-0 record.

“I was very happy to be on the final HBO telecast and on the same card as Cecilia Braekhus, and I was thrilled to be in the most watched fight of the night. That made me very proud.

“Going forward, for women’s boxing to go to next level the best need to fight the best, like me and Hammer are doing in the spring. These girls need to stop talking so much and start fighting. Stop posting pics of themselves at the beach and start posting videos of them training. And lastly I must continue to improve. When people think of women’s boxing in this era my name and my face is the first thing to pop up so I have to push myself to be greater.”

Now, big picture. Characterize this year — pluses, minuses? Did Shields reach her expectations as a fighter?

“I had a great year. My career is going in the right direction. I defended my super middleweight titles earlier in the year, and won the WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight titles by the end of the year. I was 4-0, fought two world champions and one three-time former world champion, won all my fights by unanimous decision, won 38 of the 40 total rounds. I am never content, but I was happy with the progress in 2018. I felt I made a lot of strides forward in moving from amateur style to pro style with Coach John (David Jackson). 2019 will be even more historic.”

2019. What might it bring? What fights is she craving? Where does Shields see herself end of next year?

“My goals for 2019 are to become undisputed at middleweight! I want to continue to break records. In 2019, I want to first beat Hammer in the spring in a megafight which will land women’s boxing on everyone’s radar, then I will move down to 154 and face one of the best champions there to add the third division world title to my resume. And hopefully I will get a fight with Cecilia Braekhus to decide who is pound-for-pound overall!”

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