Three-division titlist Claressa Shields will probably be returning to the ring for the primary time in over a yr to struggle IBF tremendous welterweight champion Marie-Eve Dicaire in a bout to unify the tremendous welterweight division March 5.
The struggle would be the headliner of an all-women pay-per-view card on FITE TV, going down on the Dort Monetary Middle in Flint, Michigan. The winner will maintain the WBC and WBO titles presently held by Shields, the IBF title Dicaire has, and the brand new WBA (tremendous) belt within the division.
“Pay attention, ladies should cease relying on males to offer us photographs at all the things,” Shields instructed ESPN. “Ladies’s boxing is a sizzling commodity. Do not let no different community inform you that it is not. Ladies’s boxing is in, similar to ladies’s MMA. All we have to do is have our personal platform and present them that we have now followers and that we will promote pay-per-view buys.
“So I am tremendous excited to be having my first pay-per-view card and I am hoping that everyone who has been ready on me to struggle, all people that helps me, that all of them get behind me and get behind the ladies athlete motion and simply be part of us as a result of not solely are we yelling equal pay, equal alternative, equal TV time, we’re additionally working simply as exhausting. We’re equally working.”
This would be the first ladies’s struggle to headline a pay-per-view card since Laila Ali vs. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde on June 6, 2001, a struggle Ali received by majority resolution in Verona, New York.
Shields had this struggle pushed again a number of occasions all through 2020 due to COVID-19 and likewise as a result of different alternatives fell via. It was a irritating yr for Shields, who had needed to struggle a number of occasions. Initially she was presupposed to struggle Dicaire in Might, then prepped to struggle her in August, September and December.
She stated that is the longest she has educated for a single opponent and she or he’s glad to lastly be returning to the ring. And she or he sees the all-women card as the start of a brand new period of boxing.
“A few of us are placing in time beyond regulation and we have been underpaid for a really very long time,” Shields stated. “It is a begin to one thing new and that is going to point out them that, ‘Hey, you guys might not give us alternatives, however alternatives are on the market and we’ll create our personal alternatives.’
“And the most effective will struggle the most effective and girls’s boxing can promote pay-per-view. That is the entire aim of this, and I am simply tremendous excited to start out it.”
Shields (10-0, 2 KO) has held titles since her fourth professional struggle. Dicaire (17-0) will probably be making her fourth title protection and will probably be preventing exterior of Canada for the primary time.
If Shields wins, she would be the first individual to change into undisputed champion in two divisions since boxing went to 4 primary belts.
“Claressa Shields and Marie Eve Dicaire usually are not simply undefeated champions within the ring, they’re fierce supporters of girls’s boxing and equality exterior the ring,” stated Mark Taffet, Shields’ supervisor. “At a time when too many networks within the US are under-supporting ladies’s boxing, Claressa and Marie deserve large credit score for taking issues into their very own arms and agreeing to take their undisputed world championship struggle to pay-per-view.”
The struggle is being placed on by Shields’ promoter, Salita Promotions, together with Groupe Yvon Michel.
That is the start of a busy yr for Shields, who plans to struggle in MMA in addition to with the PFL. She has been coaching for future MMA fights at Jackson Wink in New Mexico. She is going to head to Florida to coach for the Dicaire struggle. After the Dicaire struggle, she plans on taking per week or two off earlier than heading again to Jackson Wink to coach for her PFL debut this summer time.
“That is going to be an enormous yr for me,” Shields stated. “And I need to benefit from all my alternatives and I really feel like God set me to the aspect a bit bit simply so I can develop mentally, bodily, spiritually and simply be prepared for what the world holds for me this yr.
“I really feel like it should be an enormous yr.”