‘I want to be the Serena Williams of boxing’: Claressa Shields

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Claressa Shields will return to action on July 27, facing Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse in a bout that will be for Lepage-Joanisse’s WBC heavyweight title, as well as the vacant WBO light heavyweight title, with a 175 lb limit on the scales.

The WBA’s interim light heavyweight title will also be on the line at Little Caesars Arena, where Shields (14-0, 2 KO) fought about a year ago, beating Maricela Cornejo to retain her undisputed middleweight championship.

Shields says she’s thrilled to be back in Detroit, as she aims to keep bringing “big time boxing” back to the city.

“I want to go down in history as the Beyonce of boxing, the Serena Williams of boxing,” she said at a media workout.

“I feel like I’m unstoppable when it comes to a fight and there’s always going to be fireworks, because it they (her opponents) don’t start the party, I will.”

The 29-year-old Shields will be a massive favorite against Lepage-Joanisse (7-1, 2 KO), who has fought at higher weights, but these are divisions that simply don’t really exist in women’s boxing, to be entirely honest. At a listed 5’6”, the Quebec fighter will actually be two inches shorter than Shields, even though she’s fought as high as 231 lbs as a pro, which came in a TKO-3 loss to Alejandra Jimenez in 2017.

“Regardless of the weight class, I haven’t seen any girl be tough enough, be skilled enough, defensively or offensively, to beat me,” Shields said. “I’m willing to go wherever I need to go to give all these girls a chance, so I can keep proving them wrong. You guys have got the tapes, you’ve been studying me all these years, and you still can’t beat me.”

Shields, who is has a clear argument as the No. 1 woman in the world pound-for-pound, has barely even lost rounds as a professional, and has frankly started to run really thin of anything else to do in the boxing world, which accounts for her dabbling in mixed martial arts, too.

There remains the possibility of an MMA bout with her longtime boxing rival Savannah Marshall, who just debuted for PFL with a victory. In boxing, Shields beat Marshall by decision in 2022 to fully unify the middleweight division, and an MMA rematch between the two could be their most lucrative potential fight.

Shields vs Lepage-Joanisse will air on DAZN.

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