Two-time Olympic gold medallist Claressa Shields thinks the credibility of women’s boxing rests on her shoulders ahead of her professional debut this weekend.
Shields, 26, faces familiar foe Franchon Crews on the undercard of Sergey Kovalev’s light-heavyweight title defence against Andre Ward at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
And the confident 26-year-old – who became the first American boxer to win consecutive Olympic gold medals when she retained her middleweight title at Rio 2016 – is convinced she is destined for greatness in the sport.
“I feel like the better I do the better women’s boxing will do,” Shields told Tuesday’s Sportswomen show on Sportsclubsociety News HQ.
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“We’ve always had advocates to help carry our sport like Laila Ali, Ann Wolfe and Christy Martin.
“I think they were all good but I think I am a great fighter. At this time – with two Olympic gold medals and turning professional – I think people want to see how women’s boxing has evolved after the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Women’s boxing has changed quite a bit.
“A lot of people were devastated [when I turned professional]. I was devastated when I signed the paper, I was like ‘oh my god what am I doing’, but after I signed it I was like, whatever, I’m fighting on the 19th and it’s time to start something new.
“If your goal doesn’t scare you just a little bit then it isn’t worth doing. Sticking around for the 2020 Olympics would have been a piece of cake and I would have got another gold medal but I wanted to do something different and I want to be a great so I decided to turn pro.”
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