It’s True. Claressa Shields the Main Event on Showtime Card in March.
Former U.S. Olympic superstar Claressa Shields signed an expected contract with television network Showtime on Tuesday. But not expected was that her fight will be the main event.
It’s an historic moment in female boxing.
“I did not expect to be the main event,” said Shields on Tuesday. “I thought it would come a little later. That blew me away. It brought tears to my eyes.”
Shields (1-0), a two-time Olympic gold medalist, will face Hungary’s Szilvia “Sunset” Szabados (15-8, 6 Kos) for the vacant NABF middleweight title on March 10, at the MGM Grand Detroit Event Center. Showtime will headline the female fight.
“I am proud to be fighting for the NABF title in my second pro bout,” Shields said.
Szabados is a four-time world title challenger who knocked out her last opponent in January. She has veteran experience and power.
“Fighters always say their next fight is the most important one of their career, but you get an opportunity like this, and it really is. This is an unbelievable dream. I am very happy to be receiving this opportunity,” said Szabados, 26. “I know this fight is important for Claressa also, and I don’t really know what will happen in the ring. We both want to win. Claressa has more amateur experience, but I have more experience as a professional. It’s going to be an exciting night.”
As an amateur, Shields was an unstoppable force bent on winning by knockout, not by decision. She was a steamroller in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games where she won gold medals in each. In every fight the Michigan fighter was looking to stop her opponent.
After winning gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and 2012 London Olympic Games, the extremely confident Flint, Michigan female set her sights on the professional boxing world. and was victorious in her pro debut back in November against the talented Franchon Crews.
Their fight at T-Mobile was the most electrifying bout on the Las Vegas card that also featured Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. Shields and Crews were each looking to win by knockout, not decision. Shields emerged the winner by decision after some brutal exchanges.
Shields has always packed confidence in abundance. She attributes much of it to her late grandmother.
“I wish she was here to see it,” said Shields, 21, adding that her grandmother died in 2010. “She would have been proud I just know it.”
But since that initial pro win, efforts to get other American middleweights into the boxing ring have been fruitless.
“They think if they wait they’re going to be ready for me,” laughs Shields. “I’m going to be better.”
The fight card on March will be staged by Salita Promotions in Detroit. She expects her fans and friends to attend in abundance.
It will be a combination of homecoming and celebration. Not since Christy Martin roamed the boxing ring on the under cards of Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike Tyson has a woman boxer been purposely shown on Showtime or attracted as much attention.
“I applaud Showtime for stepping up and giving Claressa this opportunity,” said Martin who met Shields just recently in Miami, Florida during a WBC Convention. “She will have the chance of a career to show the fight fans who she is and the excitement she can bring to the ring.”
Mark Taffet, who manages Shields, said the Olympic star has burst open the doors for not just herself, but all female boxers.
“Claressa is on a mission to be a game changer, to chart a new course in history. She is proud to be the first woman to headline a main event on premium television, and she intends to be the first woman to be ranked in boxing’s top 10 pound for pound list. The journey begins March 10.”