Claressa Shields Talks Hannah Rankin + Being the GWOT
At only 23, Claressa Shields is considered the future of boxing. The current WBA and IBF Middleweight Champion has been groomed for success and has what it takes to prove it to the world.
Claressa (6-0), a two-time Olympic Gold medalist, is scheduled to face Hannah Rankin for the WBC Middleweight Title in the co-main event of the Jarrell Miller v. Bogdan Dinu bout for Matchroom Boxing this Saturday, October 17. She was supposed to face Christina Hammer in Atlantic City, but the latter had to back out. Hannah (5-2) is coming off of a loss in the best fight you never saw against Alicia Napoleon.
At a press conference announcing the bout, Claressa had nothing but respect for Hannah. With the fight on DAZN, she believes the world will witness something special.
“You’re a good fighter, but I’m great. I’m the greatest women’s boxer of all time whether you respect it or not, and just know you can’t beat me,” Claressa stated. “U.K. fans have never really seen me. Fighting on DAZN, they will get a chance to see the best U.S. fighter, while U.S. fans will see one of the best U.K. fighters in Hannah.”
In case you missed it, Female Fight Fans also had the opportunity to speak to Hannah prior to the fight. It is only fitting that her challenger got the same opportunity.
Female Fight Fans: “Fight Like a Girl” - What does that mean to you?
Claressa Shields: I used to take pride in saying I fight like a man, but I fight better than a lot of men. I like to say I fight like a pro. I’ve trained with some male fighters that have a hard time keeping up. I’m a great fighter, period.
FFF: How are you preparing for a fighter like Rankin, who just came from a title fight against Alicia Napoleon?
CS: I’m working on me being more persistent. I know that’s scary because I’m already fast and sharp, but we are working on being more than what I already am.
FFF: Is there a collective plan in place for women in the boxing world to get more respect?
CS: Women’s boxing is on fire right now. We had a little house fire. Here’s to getting the whole block on fire, then we’ll work on the forest fire. All the girls fighting on TV, like Heather Hardy and Shelly Vincent, Katie Taylor, are all great.
In regards to future fights - We haven’t had a mega women’s fight in boxing. It is either going to be me v. Christina Hammer or Katie (Taylor) v. Amanda Serrano. Whichever happens first will be the ultimate fight for women’s boxing.
FFF: Speaking of, Amanda and Heather both made successful transitions towards the MMA world. As a young fighter, is that a route you think you would go down?
CS: I don’t really know. I’m not really a wrestler. Anything is possible, though. I want to go where I get the most respect, the most money, and the most TV time. Right now I’m just sticking to throwing hands.
FFF: You recently walked the red carpet at the Salute to Women in Sports event. How was it?
CS: Billie Jean King is so sweet. In 2016 I was Sportswoman of the Year. The women there showed me so much love and support. Hopefully, they can all head to Kansas to watch me fight. It’s a great organization because it brings all of us strong women together and we learn off of each other. I think they are doing great for sports and women, period.
In regards to her manager Mark Taffet, formerly of HBO Boxing and the current President of the MMA Pro League: When I first talked to Mark and told him my vision, he was the first person to understand what I was saying. He didn’t doubt me. He started to watch me train, made sure I got any opportunity he believed I deserved, and the rest is history. Mark has a hard job, and he makes me look pretty good.
Claressa and Rankin will look to tear the house down inside the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas on Saturday, November 17. You can catch the fight exclusively on DAZN.