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Claressa Shields Remembers Fighter Who Threw The “Hardest Punches” She’s Ever Been Hit With

Published 11/19/2023, 2:00 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

In November 2016, a fight took place between two debutante fighters. That night at the iconic T-Mobile Arena of Las Vegas, a fighter was born who would win multiple championships in a very short time. Her story etched with resilience soon became the talk of the town. She was Claressa Shields.

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In her 14-bouts-long career, Shields took down some of the best female boxers of this age, one by one. She was a promising fighter who knew what she was worth and what she could amass. And this confidence pushed her to go against Nikki Adler in 2017 for her first championship stint. It was Shields’ fourth fight in her novice career. Yet, that night she merged as the IBF and WBC middleweight champion. She would remain unstoppable from hereon in. Today, when she celebrates 7 years in the ring, she is reminded of her debut: A fight that saw her take the hardest punches in her career.

Claressa Shields Remembers Her Debut Fight


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On 19 November 2016, exactly 7 years from today, Shields entered the ring against Franchon Crews Dezurn. The fight was touted as one of the most enthralling fights of that time. It hosted two debutante boxers taking their fight against each other after having proven their worth vividly in their amateur careers. While Shields won the fight through a unanimous decision, it was not a victory that came easy to her.

The fighter says Dezurn gave her the hardest punches she’s ever been hit with. In celebration of their anniversary in the pro-ring, Dezurn took to her X to wish Shields the same feat. She wrote, “Happy Pro Debut Anniversary @Claressashields ! We Did That & So Much More. #HerStory… Keep It Going Love” In return came a response that would have completely flattered Dezurn. Shields wrote, “Still the hardest punches I’ve been hit with.”


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While she powered through her career, registering no losses to date, her first opponent Dezurn also became a force to look out for. After the Shields loss, she undertook lethal fights one after the other until she registered her second loss only this year. Throughout her 11 fights, she went against elite fighters like Savanah Marshall, Ashleigh Curry, and Maricela Cornejo. Come 15th of December, she will enter the ring against Shadasia Green in a bid to claim the vacant WBC super middleweight title.

A Shields Rematch for Savanah Marshall

Savannah Marshall, after claiming the undisputed super-middleweight title in boxing, now gears up for a challenge in mixed martial arts (MMA). Training alongside UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall, Marshall aims to transition into an all-round fighter. Expressing her enthusiasm for the MMA venture, Marshall admits she’s not an MMA fighter but aims to showcase adaptability across sports.


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She says, “I’m under no illusion that I’m an MMA fighter. I’m not. It’s an opportunity I’ve been given and something I’m really, really excited about. If I can go in there and show that I’m an all-round fighter and I can switch sports, it would be brilliant for me.” Marshall eyes a potential rematch with Claressa Shields, her boxing rival, who previously defeated her for the middleweight undisputed title in boxing. Marshall anticipates a March boxing match before potentially stepping into the SmartCage in June or July for her MMA debut.

The journey of boxing champions Claressa Shields, Franchon Crews Dezurn, and Savannah Marshall, marked by victories, setbacks, and a quest for new challenges, embodies the resilience and ambition that define the world of combat sports. As Shields and Dezurn commemorate their 7-year milestone, Marshall ventures into the realm of mixed martial arts. Their ongoing pursuit of excellence stands as a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of athletic prowess and versatility.


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What do you think of Claressa Shields’ journey in the ring so far? Let us know in the comments section below.

Watch This Story: Claressa Shields Hypes Up Shakur Stevenson Ahead Of Edwin De Los Santos Fight

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Written by:

Mohammed Shafiulla


One take at a time

My affinity toward combat sports began when Dad would spend late nights watching reruns of famous Indian wrestlers battling it out in WWE. But with years, having lost touch with the sport, I found an opportunity to be a part of it yet again, and this time even contribute toward it through my writing. Hello! I am Mohammed Shafiulla R.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph