Flint’s two time Olympic boxing champion is about to notch another first in her career.
On a fight card, the headliner is usually a celebrated champion or a well-known up and comer. And on premium cable TV, always male.
But tonight, Showtime’s headliner is Flint’s Claressa Shields.
Shields says she’s not feeling any special pressure being ‘the headliner.’
“I actually feel better when it’s a lot of cameras and there’s more spotlight,” Shields told supporters in Flint recently.
Shields' opponent is Hungarian super-welterweight Szilvia Szabados. Szabados' record is 15 wins-eight defeats with six knockouts. “I heard she has a hard head, but I have hard fists. So I’m not really too much worried about her,” Shields told reporters recently in Flint.
This is only Shields' second fight as a professional, after turning pro last year.
Her trainer Jason Crutchfield has been in Shields' corner since she started boxing at age 11. He says Shields is transitioning from the more frenetic pace of amateur boxing to a more detailed approach in the pros.
“It’s about seeing everything,” says Crutchfield, “It’s like chopping a tree down.”
Fight fans in Detroit and at home watching the fight on cable TV can decide for themselves how well Shields is transitioning from Olympic champion to professional boxer tonight.