Marshall v Shields: Fight ‘as big as Taylor v Serrano,’ says American

Shields and Marshall feuded at ringside after the American’s victory over Erna Kozin in February

A fight against Savannah Marshall could rival Katie Taylor’s historic win over Amanda Serrano, Claressa Shields says.

Ireland’s Taylor took a split-decision victory over Serrano at New York’s Madison Square Garden earlier this month in a fight described as the biggest in women’s boxing history

America’s Shields will take on long-term rival Marshall in Septemberexternal link

“I believe the storyline behind it means it can be this big,” Shields said.

“With how amazing I am and how she’s built to be this knockout performer – that’s why this fight should be in London.”

Shields, 27, is a multiple world champion in three weight divisions, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing and has won all 12 of her professional fights.

The only defeat of her amateur boxing career came against British Marshall in 2012.

The only thing preventing Shields from being crowned the undisputed champion of the division is that the WBO middleweight title lies elsewhere – with 31-year-old Marshall.

A fight between the pair has been rescheduled several times, while the fighters have also criticized each other on social media.

Shields has said she disrespects her rival.

“I have no respect for anyone who has not earned it and for anyone who has not worked hard,” she said.

“I give credit to someone who has the credit and has the belts. I am not a three-time world champion, I am a twelve-time world champion who has fought in three different divisions since turning professional.

“I didn’t beat these girls because they were easy, I beat them because I was great. Savannah Marshall’s claim to fame is ‘oh she wouldn’t have won any of that if I fought her’.

“The UK is building her into this knockout performer and they will be disappointed.”

Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall in 2012
Marshall inflicted the only defeat of Shields’ boxing career in an amateur fight in 2012

Canelo gets $90 million for things I’ve already done

Shields is a professional mixed martial artist and boxer after signing a contract with MMA promotion the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in 2021.

She has fought twice in the PFL, winning once and losing the other, and her next fight is scheduled for November.

Shields has said she turned to MMA because the sport provided opportunities for women who were not present in boxing — one example being that the PFL has a $1 million prize for winners of its annual tournaments.

“When I signed with the PFL, boxing went slow and I was tired of fighting for money when I knew I was worth a lot more,” Shields said.

“Two-time Olympic champion, three-time undisputed world champion – Canelo [Saul Alvarez] does things I’ve already done, but he gets 90 million for it.

“Yeah, he’s a big star, but I didn’t get the chance and the platform to become a big star.

Shields has suggested that Taylor and Serrano have been given a platform previously denied to female boxers.

“I think people are overlooking the fact that Taylor and Serrano were the first women to have the opportunity to actually perform on those platforms and be the main event,” she said.

“If I had given myself that chance in the US, we would have achieved big numbers, but we also need a good opponent.

“People always talk about equal pay in women’s boxing, but they don’t talk about equal opportunities and that’s what women’s boxing needs – equal pay, equal opportunities, equal TV time.”

‘Name another boxer who does what I do’

Claressa Shields and Brittney Elkin
Marshall defeated Brittney Elkin on her MMA debut last year

A number of mixed martial artists have transitioned to boxing in recent years, but it’s less common to see the move in the opposite direction.

Shields admitted that learning the ins and outs of grappling was the most difficult task of adapting.

“Like everyone else, I see my athleticism and potential, but I’m also a realist. You can have all the potential in the world, but if you can’t put in the work [grappling]you’re not able to be as great as you want and shine in difficult moments.”

“I’ll get there, but I haven’t reached the level I want to be yet.”

Shields said her drive to challenge herself set her apart from other boxers.

“I’m just someone who believes I can do anything if I set my mind to it and if I train for it and work for it, I can achieve it,” she said.

“That’s another reason why I’m the greatest boxer of all time. Name another boxer who does what I do, who goes in the cage with other MMA fighters and wins and also remains dominant in the boxing.”

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