March 10, 2017, will be a special night for the sport of boxing. Two time Olympic Gold medalist Claressa Shields, 1-0, will make her ShoBox debut. Shields will be taking on Szilvia Szabados, 15-8, 1 KO, in her home state of Michigan next. This will be the the second fight for Shields since here debut fight against Franchon Crews on the under-card of last year’s Kovalev-Ward pay-per-view. The fight was four a rounder and had sustained action throughout as both fighters turned up the heat and landed hard shots. Having won the hearts of sports fans during her two trips to the Olympics, Shields is now looking to put women’s boxing back on the forefront.
Women’s professional boxing has lacked a superstar since the days of Laila Ali, who last fought in 2007. There have been many female boxers who have made waves on the amateur level though they failed to have that popularity transition to the pro ranks. It could have been a number of different things that prevented such. One thing is for certain, quality fights will attract interest. Shields fight with Crews had the type of quality action and drama that attracts attention. Not to mention that Shields bit down and showed the type of grit that will win fans over by choosing to stand and trade with Crews. That coupled with her amateur career has made people and the networks take notice.
It’s unfair to put the weight of an entire sport on the shoulders of one person. In this case I believe that the future of female boxing on television rides on the success of Claressa Shields. Shields is the perfect person to be able to carry this weight. Because of her rise to stardom, we’ve started to see more women’s boxing on television. It’s about time because in all my experience and years watching boxing on television and live, they almost always put on a show and often put on the best fights of the night. It’s time that they get more of the respect that they deserve as fighters and entertainers.
Shields has the personality and experience under the spotlight to carry the torch for boxing for years. Flint, Michigan, needs a positive representation right now. Even at this point many resident in Flint don’t have safe drinking water. Shields in a sense is fighting for an entire city. It’s only right that the powers that be give her the opportunity to shine because she’s shown that she’ll hold her end of the bargain. This will ultimately be beneficial to the sport. Shields is only 21 years old so she’s yet to even reach her physical prime and she’s already shown that she’s on another level.
It’s time to show that women can also fight. There are several other female fighters who will be integral to the success of women’s boxing. I’ll be patiently waiting and watching. The time is most definitely now.Contact the Feature Writers