Three-division boxing champion Claressa Shields made some headlines a few days back by signing a deal with PFL to move to mixed martial arts, but the self-styled “GWOAT” isn’t planning to hang up her boxing gloves any time soon, either.
Shields tells Sky Sports that she is not retiring from boxing by any means, and that PFL know she plans to continue boxing. In fact, she says she’ll box in February, then debut in MMA in June.
Shields also spoke about Savannah Marshall, the only fighter to ever beat Shields in the amateurs, and her growing disgust with someone she feels is still living off of one win that she never really followed up:
“What annoys me is that Savannah lives off this. What are her accomplishments besides this? Nothing. She went to the Olympics, she didn’t medal. She went to the world championships and stood on the podium below me. ... Savannah was at every tournament that I won. Every girl that beat her, I smoked them. ... Listen, stupid, I fought the best fighters and won the belts. I beat Christina Hammer. Could Savannah beat her? I beat Hanna Gabriels. Can Savannah beat her?”
Shields also called Marshall “soft” for waiting for a vacant 160-pound title when the British fighter beat Hannah Rankin on Oct. 31 to win the WBO middleweight title, and said she’ll “shut (Marshall) and her team up” if they actually take the fight.
The 29-year-old Marshall (9-0, 7 KO) looked good in the Rankin bout — she stopped Rankin, which Shields did not do back in 2018 — but there is a clear gulf between Rankin and Shields (10-0, 2 KO), too, and a big question about Marshall having the success against Shields now that she did when Shields was 17 years old. Claressa would be strongly favored if the fight comes together.
That said, listen, all the great fighters in history have those opponents who just give them fits in the style matchup. For some examples, Muhammad Ali had Ken Norton; Floyd Mayweather got tougher fights from Jose Luis Castillo and Marcos Maidana than he did some even more acclaimed opponents; Ricardo Mayorga, for some damn reason, was kryptonite for Vernon Forrest, and Forrest for Shane Mosley. You can go on and on with this.
Marshall may be that opponent for Shields. Or maybe not! You know how we could find out now? If they fight. It’s a good fight to make for women’s boxing. I hope we see it next year, personally.