By Dane McGuire
Women’s boxing great Claressa Shields isn’t holding back when it comes to opening up about how she feels about the current state of women’s boxing.
Shields, now 1-0 in MMA since signing with the PFL, has said since before the start of her MMA career that she wanted to not just compete, but be great in both sports.
Despite what some may feel is harsh criticism of women’s boxing, that still appears to be the case, at least for now.
“I’ve already become a household name in MMA in the past few months just off one fight. So I should’ve started doing MMA way sooner. In boxing, you can only get so far and get so much notoriety, but in MMA it’s limitless,” Shields recently told MMA Junkie in an article reprinted for Boxing Junkie as well.
Speaking about the women’s boxing, Shields said:
“I think that in boxing women have never been given that opportunity on the forefront, to be pay-per-view, and you know, just to have those opportunities to fight in the co-main event of a big card, to grow our brand and stuff. We have to do things outside of boxing to grow our brand, and the men don’t have to do that.”
Shields will have her next bout in MMA on the main card of the 2021 PFL Championship on Oct. 27 against Abigail Montes. Kayla Harrison and Taylor Guardado are currently set to be the main event.
ESPN reported Shields-Montes will not be part of the PFL “league” but will be a featured bout for the organization. Shields will fight under the PFL season structure next season.
“I’m always in training. I’m always working,” Shields said on SportsCenter on Thursday morning. “It’s really just focusing on learning everything and becoming an MMA fighter. So back to the jiu-jitsu, back to the wrestling, back to the ground-and-pound — there’s so much work I have to put in.”
Shields said of MMA and the sport’s top executives:
“Women’s MMA is way bigger than [women’s] boxing. I don’t know why because boxing has been around way longer and we have better-skilled fighters when it comes to standing up. I feel like in MMA, women get more respect because they fight at the same time as the men.
“People at the top like Dana White, Peter Murray, all these different organizations they give women a platform and they build the women up. Now women are being the main event and guys are in the undercard of women because the women have more fans than the men, and they’re entertaining and they’re tough fighters.