Claressa Shields Now Faces Sydney LeBlanc in Opponent Change
By David A. Avila
Claressa Shields will now be facing Sydney LeBlanc for the WBC Silver super middleweight title on Friday after her original opponent was unable to enter the country due to visa issues, according to Salita Promotions on Wednesday.
The undefeated Shields (2-0) will now be fighting LeBlanc (4-1-1) of New Orleans, Louisiana on Friday June 16 at Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
Sydney “Ginger the Ninja” LeBlanc is stepping in on three days’ notice to face Women’s NABF Middleweight Champion, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields of Flint, Michigan, in the eight-round main event of Salita Promotions.
Thirty-three-year-old LeBlanc from Gretna, Louisiana, represents a step up in competition from original opponent Mery Rancier, who was unable to participate due to visa issues. A six-year pro who was already in training for a fight on June 10, LeBlanc says she’s eager for the chance to upset the two-time Olympian and budding women’s superstar Shields.
“I’ve been pro boxing for nine years, since before the Olympics had a women’s division and I’ve taken a lot of time off because of a lack of available opponents,” explained LeBlanc. “These Olympians are reopening the gates for all female fighters. Everybody was on the shelf for years. This is the first time female boxing has been popular since the Ann Wolfe days, so I’m very appreciative of the opportunities they are bringing. I’ve never watched any of my opponents before a fight, but I know about Claressa Shields and I want to fight her. I’m looking at this fight as a good chance to see where I’m at, skill-wise and I’ll be ready.”
Both Shields and LeBlanc will be contesting for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship.
On the sudden change Shields said “no problem…I can’t wait to get in the ring on June 16 to continue the journey.”
For more information on the “Detroit Brawl” or Salita Promotions, visit www.salitapromotions.com. Facebook and Twitter: @DetroitBrawl