With all due respect to Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields and her promoter beg to differ.
They believe Shields’ rematch with Savannah Marshall, not Serrano versus Taylor, will be the biggest fight in the history of women’s boxing. Shields, who has only been beaten by Marshall in a boxing ring, and Marshall will fight sometime this summer if Shields defeats Ema Kozin on February 5 and Marshall wins her own tune-up bout against an undetermined opponent.
“This fight on February 5 is leading toward the biggest women’s boxing match of all time between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall,” Dmitriy Salita, Shields’ promoter, said during an open workout for Shields on Tuesday at Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit.
Despite her respect for Serrano and Taylor, Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) says she’ll provide a reminder February 5 as to why she is the best female fighter in boxing, pound-for-pound.
“The boxing world has forgotten who the best female fighter is since I’ve been doing MMA,” said Shields, who is 1-1 in mixed martial arts. “The other girls, like Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor, have been showcasing some great skills, but I’m planning to showcase even better skills in my fight February 5.”
Brooklyn’s Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs), who has been a champion in seven divisions, and Ireland’s Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs), the undisputed lightweight champion, have agreed to meet in a highly anticipated 135-pound title fight April 30 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Whereas Shields is a three-division champion and an undisputed champ in two weight classes, Marshall’s accomplishments don’t stack up to those of Serrano or Taylor.
The unbeaten Brit has, however, the distinction of being the only woman who has defeated Shields in boxing. Marshall (11-0, 9 KOs), the WBO middleweight champ, beat Shields, 14-8, at the World Championships in May 2012, three months before Shields captured the first of her two Olympic gold medals.
Slovenia’s Kozin (21-0-1, 11 KOs) owns the WBC interim middleweight title. Shields was women’s boxing’s undisputed champ in the 160-pound division before the Flint, Michigan, native moved down to the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds to fully unify the titles in that weight class.
“Claressa is going to be up against a very tough, skilled and undefeated number-one contender in Ema Kozin,” Salita said. “She’s young and hungry, and she’s going to bring the very best to the table. It’s a very stern test for Claressa before she gets in there with Marshall.”
Shields-Kozin will be the co-feature of a show that’ll be headlined by a British middleweight showdown in which England’s Chris Eubank Jr. (31-2, 23 KOs) will square off with Wales’ Liam Williams (23-3-1, 18 KOs) at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. That card will be broadcast by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom and Ireland and by FITE.TV elsewhere ($29.99 in the United States).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.