Claressa Shields is set to make her MMA debut with Professional Fighters League but still plans to avenge an amateur defeat to Savannah Marshall, who she has accused of avoiding a rematch.
The three-weight world champion and former undisputed middleweight titleholder has signed a deal to change sports and compete under the PFL banner but will not retire from boxing.
Instead, she has a score to settle with new WBO middleweight champion Marshall…
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What are your memories of the only time you’ve been beaten inside the ring, against Marshall as amateurs?
Shields told Sky Sports: What annoys me is that Savannah lives off this. What are her accomplishments besides this? Nothing.
She went to the Olympics, she didn’t medal. She went to the world championships and stood on the podium below me.
In the amateurs, I was 77 wins and one loss. I won two world championships and two Olympics.
Savannah was at every tournament that I won.
Every girl that beat her, I smoked them.
Savannah never won a medal.
I was 17. I have footage and it looks like I won the fight.
I got her in the corner but the referee broke us up and put us back in the centre which was to her advantage because she was taller and longer.
She beat me on ‘score points’ 14-8. Big whoop! She landed six more punches than me, supposedly!
She had a welt on her eye.
It was a loss. I won’t say I was robbed.
Savannah isn’t a better fighter than me, and that’s been proven.
Listen, stupid – I fought the best fighters and won the belts. I beat Christina Hammer – could Savannah beat her? I beat Hanna Gabriels – can Savannah beat her?
What are your thoughts on Marshall’s stoppage win against Hannah Rankin to win the WBO belt?
Shields: Rankin isn’t really a 160lbs fighter. She had the wrong game-plan and opened herself up for a lot of shots.
Rankin let off a lot of steam in the early rounds then Savannah was able to land big shots. That got her the TKO.
Savannah looked shocked that she got the TKO!
She was happy because I did not get the TKO against Rankin. But I had fought 10 rounds three weeks prior to my fight with Rankin.
I won unanimously and Rankin hit Marshall more than she hit me.
Could we see Shields vs Marshall in the future?
Shields: It is so sad for her that she wanted to wait for my belt to become vacant, rather than fight me for it.
That’s so soft.
She could have fought for all the belts at 160lbs to show how tough she really is.
Savannah’s coach Peter Fury said she’s too strong for me? Shut up, shut up!
Savannah hasn’t been challenged enough yet for her to even be saying my name.
But if she wants to come see me? Then come see me. I’ll shut her and her team up because they do too much talking for me!
Your immediate plans are to go into MMA with the Professional Fighters League?
Shields: I have always teased doing MMA then had the right conversation at the right time.
This isn’t a one-fight deal but they also understand that I will continue boxing – I am not retiring from boxing.
I will be boxing in February then have my first MMA fight in June.
Kayla Harrison is the PFL’s marquee star…
Shields: I know her very well. We aren’t enemies – but we are both good businesswomen.
We are both double Olympic champions – she has two gold medals in judo, I have two gold medals in boxing.
She is a true champion and I respect her.
But they are linking us to fight one day.
I have a ‘no name, no face’ thing. When we fight, I remove their face and their name to keep myself from underperforming and to stop myself from taking my opponent lightly.
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