Claressa Shields signs with PFL as women’s boxing champion makes transition to MMA

shields.jpg
PFL

After winning world championships in three weight divisions in just 10 fights as a professional boxer, Claressa Shields has signed on to take her talents to the MMA cage. The two-time Olympic gold medalist signed a contract to compete in the Professional Fighters League, PFL officials confirmed on Tuesday.

“I want to thank Professional Fighters League and Peter Murray for believing in me and giving me this amazing opportunity,” Shields said in a PFL press release. “What drew me to the PFL is that it is definitely a fighter-first organization, and I can’t wait to be a part of that. Since turning pro it has been my goal to be the GWOAT and to be a two-sport star like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders,” said Claressa Shields. “I want to go where no man or woman has gone and hold championships in both boxing and MMA at the same time. The one-two punch of PFL in MMA and Salita Promotions in boxing will allow me to continue to show that there are no limits to what a woman can do. I can’t wait to get to work!”

Shields won gold medals in 2012 and 2016 before turning professional in November 2016. In just her fourth professional bout, Shields won the WBC and IBF super middleweight titles. She then added the WBA and IBF middleweight titles in her sixth fight. Four fights later, she dropped to light middleweight and won the WBC and WBO world championships.

Her name had been previously tied to both two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes and former UFC and current Bellator champion Cris Cyborg for dream fights, either in the cage or the boxing ring.

While those promotions didn’t land Shields, there are some appealing fights in PFL. The promotion employs a “season” structure, featuring tournaments across multiple weight classes. In 2019, Kayla Harrison, who won Olympic gold medals in judo at the same two Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016, won the women’s lightweight title.

Similar to Harrison’s path, though, Shields will begin her PFL career by taking one-off fights in 2021 before competing in the 2022 season. Harrison took the same route in 2018 before claiming the PFL gold in 2019. 

Shields teased the move in February, posting a social media video of her throwing kicks in training and stating she was “serious about transitioning.”

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Eminem Debuting Limited Edition Clothing Line To Support Detroit Boxing Gym

Eminem is helping one of the his local boxing gyms knock out COVID-19.



a man sitting on a stage: Eminem. Photo: Daniel DeSlover via ZUMA Wire/CP Images


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Eminem. Photo: Daniel DeSlover via ZUMA Wire/CP Images

On Friday, The Marshall Mathers Foundation announced a new limited edition clothing line in collaboration with the Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit.

RELATED: Eminem Wants Americans To ‘Lose Yourself’ To Vote For Joe Biden In New Ad

The gym offers a free academic and athletic program, and are working to prevent students from falling behind during the pandemic.

“We’re facing a crisis like we’ve never seen and we’re doing everything we can to support our kids and help them make it through,” said Khali Sweeney, DBG’s founder and CEO. “To have Eminem and the Marshall Mathers Foundation step up during this time and help raise much needed funds means the world to us. This is what we do in the D. We take care of each other. And we are truly grateful.”

RELATED: Eminem Says Home Invader Threatened To Kill Him

Eminem is selling a hoodie and t-shirt featuring Downtown Boxing Gym branding, as well as the name “Stan’s”, in reference to the rapper’s classic song “Stan”.

One hundred per cent of the proceeds from sales of the clothing will go to the DBG’s tutoring, mentorship, enrichment programs and more.

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Black Friday rivalling Boxing Day shopping rush in New Plymouth

No it's not Boxing Day at New Plymouth's Centre City mall – it's Black Friday.

Christina Persico/Stuff

No it’s not Boxing Day at New Plymouth’s Centre City mall – it’s Black Friday.

Traffic reduced to a standstill throughout the city and there’s hardly a car park left at the mall. No, it’s not Boxing Day – New Plymouth has cottoned on to shopping madness that is Black Friday.

Made popular in the United States, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and generally the start of the holiday shopping season.

This country was slower to pick up the rush, but in 2019 Kiwis spent $253 million on Black Friday, compared to $149.8m on Boxing Day, the traditional big shopping day in New Zealand, data from eftpos provider Paymark shows.

On Friday, New Plymouth’s shopping areas were bustling.

READ MORE:
* Lines and busy car parks as Kiwis partake in Black Friday sales
* As final Christmas shopping is done, Boxing Day still expected to busiest day for retailers in Taranaki
* Palmerston North shoppers splash out $21 million for Black Friday sales

“Black Friday is growing in popularity every year, ” said Emma Smith, divisional property manager for AMP Capital, Centre City’s parent company.

“The car parks have definitely been full and getting turned over.”

Traffic was backed up on both sides of the Valley Megacentre in Waiwhakaiho at lunchtime.

Traffic was backed up around both sides of the Valley shopping centre in New Plymouth.

Christina Persico/Stuff

Traffic was backed up around both sides of the Valley shopping centre in New Plymouth.

Smith said an AMP Capital survey showed 72 per cent of their customers preferred to shop in-store on Black Friday, compared with 59 per cent online.

Tyla Mortimore was one of hundreds of shoppers who went to the shopping centre instead of ordering online.

“It’s been absolutely crazy,” she said.

Sandra Luxton, of Waitara, said she didn’t often come into town but it didn’t seem that bad.

“Although my mother came in this morning and said it was absolutely diabolical.”

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Katie Taylor v Miriam Gutierrez: ‘No room for error on huge night for women’s boxing’

Katie Taylor: Three world title fights is huge for women’s boxing

Undisputed world lightweight champion Katie Taylor has warned against complacency before an “absolutely huge” night for women’s boxing.

The Irish 34-year-old defends her four belts against Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez at Wembley Arena.

The card also features Britain’s Terri Harper defending her own world title against Norway’s Katharina Thanderz.

The 5 Live Boxing team, who will commentate from ringside on Saturday, call it a “significant occasion”.

“Women’s boxing is on fire right now,” Taylor told BBC Sport. “This is absolutely huge for the sport.”

A champion, a flag and clumsy footwork

Terri Harper, Katie Taylor and Rachel Ball stand together
Terri Harper (left) and Rachel Ball (right) have praised Katie Taylor for elevating women’s boxing

Gutierrez, 37, has remained respectful of Taylor in the build-up and it is testament to the champion’s ability, record and status that her rivals now seem to point to the trail she has blazed in the sport.

Taylor speaks a lot about moving women’s boxing forward and, with 16 wins from 16 bouts, she says she will risk chasing the biggest fights available in order to grow her legacy.

“Complacency in any sport is very dangerous,” added Taylor, a 1-28 bookmakers’ favourite. “I really feel like people haven’t seen the best of me yet, so hopefully they do in the fights to come.”

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce said Taylor is undoubtedly the “number one influence” for aspiring female boxers, adding: “She is not just leading, she is out in front by a distance. Her flag is vast and she is pulling everyone along with her.”

And BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello expects her to thrive on Saturday, adding: “Gutierrez is relatively clumsy moving backwards and I think Taylor will take advantage of that.”

A dream, criticism and the kitchen sink

Terri Harper
Terri Harper has 10 wins and one draw, while Katharina Thanderz has 13 wins from 13 bouts

One of those who says she was inspired by Taylor is Sheffield’s Harper, who swapped work in a chip shop to become the WBC world super-featherweight champion in February.

In facing Thanderz – who is undefeated in 13 bouts – she hopes to answer critics that have flooded her social media timeline since her draw with compatriot Natasha Jonas in August.

“She likes to get in a scrap,” Harper, 24, said of 32-year-old Thanderz, who has vowed to pounce on her opponent’s “weaknesses”.

“I can get dragged into that, like I did last time, or do what I do best – which is box, keep it long and make it an easier night for myself.

“I know she will try and throw the kitchen sink at me to take that title.”

It has been a whirlwind 2020 for the champion and Bunce added: “It’s early for fairytales and dreams coming true, but Harper must have to pinch herself before she goes to bed.

“She can’t believe the dream she is living. A year ago, she was working at 6am in a chip

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Katie Taylor v Miriam Gutierrez: Irish fighter eyes lasting legacy in women’s boxing

Quote graphic reads; "I want girls to do even better than what I have done in my career. That is what true legacy looks like."
Taylor beat Delfine Persoon in a rematch in her last bout and holds all four world lightweight titles
Date: Saturday, 14 November Venue: Wembley Arena
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Katie Taylor hopes a young boxer can break through and achieve more than she has in order to bolster the “true legacy” she craves.

The undisputed world lightweight champion defends her titles against Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez on Saturday.

It is a landmark night as the fight card is topped by three women’s world title fights.

“When I was growing up there weren’t female boxers on these professional cards,” Taylor told BBC Sport.

“The fact there are three world title fights on one bill this weekend, I never thought I would see that growing up. That in itself is a great legacy.”

Taylor pretended to be a boy in her teenage years in order to be able to box.

She has since won Olympic gold at London 2012 and amassed world titles in two weight divisions in 16 fights as a professional.

This week, unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has said she is one of “few fighters” who will “leave a mark” on boxing.external-link

Asked by BBC Sport what the legacy she hopes to leave may look like, Taylor said: “I want girls to do even better than what I have done in my career. That is what true legacy looks like.

“I want those young girls to be multiple-time world champion and multiple-time Olympic champion. I want to inspire the next generation to dream big dreams. I just want those young girls to know they can do the same and even better than I’ve done.

“I’d love to headline big card after big card. I’d love to see the fight purses rise a bit more as well. People are genuinely interested in women’s boxing now. We have made great ground with purses in recent years. I just want to shine a good light and have people talking about these fights for years to come.”

Natasha Jonas jumps into Katie Taylor's photograp
Taylor (right) says she would welcome fighting Natasha Jonas (left)

Taylor tops the Wembley Arena bill on the same night Terri Harper defends her WBC super-featherweight title against Katharina Thanderz and Rachel Ball takes on Jorgelina Guanini for the vacant WBA bantamweight title.

At 34, Taylor says she has no plans to retire any time soon and it would be “a shame” if she does not get to compete as a professional in her native Ireland before her career ends.

That remains a goal and she is at ease when discussing potential opponents, with Britain’s Natasha Jonas and a boxing match with mixed martial arts star Cris Cyborg not ruled out.

Gutierrez, 37, enters Saturday’s bout – which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 5 Live – with 13 wins from 13 bouts.

“I think she is a lot better than what people think,” said Taylor. “I am expecting a very

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From a long shot clothing startup to a prominent boxing brand

Founder and CEO Ben Amanna wanted to start a boxing brand that embodied the lifestyle of a boxer. He did that with BOXRAW, which is embraced by the sport. 

Everlast, Rival, and Grant are some of the established names in the boxing apparel and equipment business. However, there’s a relatively new player in the market, and that’s BOXRAW. However, it’s their philosophy that sets them apart from all others.

According to a press release, BOXRAW CEO and founder Ben Amanna describes the company’s vision as more than “the sport or practice of fighting with fists.’ It was a lifestyle, ‘the way in which a person lives.’”

The term “raw” in the brand’s name reflects Amanna’s concept. It parallels his early conception of BOXRAW and its simple beginnings. The idea first came to him while he was on a boxing training run.

“I was running down the street in a sh**ty Adidas tracksuit,” Amanna told FanSided. “I remember thinking that I wanted people to know that I was training for a fight. You know, I was proud to be a boxer. Anyone that seen me running on the side of the road would just assume that I’m, you know, running for whatever reason. That was a moment I realized and sort of start to delve in further thought that there wasn’t a brand that represents the boxers.”

That was Amanna’s “aha” moment. It was a great idea, but building an apparel brand with a worldwide reach is another thing. Amanna’s dream didn’t materialize overnight. It actually took over a year of research and social media hype before BOXRAW was ready to launch.

“We never set out just to sort of sell product,” said Amanna. “It was more about the ‘why,’ you know, and it took maybe about a year and a half on social media before we launched the actual brand.”

Amanna built up a following on social media, which added buzz to BOXRAW’s launch. At the time, BOXRAW had about 20,000 followers on Instagram. Today, it has nearly 300,000. His social media presence and unique ability to market enabled him to make a lot of progress in a relatively short amount of time.

Amanna studied the business, crunched the numbers, and developed relationships in terms of production and warehousing. The history of BOXRAW is covered in a YouTube video on Shopify’s channel.

Along with business relationships, Amanna forged relationships with some of the biggest names in boxing. BOXRAW clothing has been rocked by Oleksandr Usyk, Gervonta Davis, Michael Conlan, Errol Spence Jr., Jermall Charlo, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

In Shopify’s video highlighting BOXRAW’s success, Amanna is seen attending Lomachenko’s bout against Jose Pedraza in New York back in 2018. BOXRAW designed much of Lomachenko’s ring walk and team apparel.

BOXRAW is building a large following and is championed by some of the biggest names in boxing, including Vasiliy Lomachenko and Gervonta Davis

When fans see athletes wearing a clothing label, they assume that they are part of an endorsement deal. That’s

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Free fight: Lomachenko, Lopez to give boxing fans a gift

Vasiliy Lomachenko

Vasiliy Lomachenko celebrates defending his WBA/WBO lightweight titles on April 12, 2019 after knocking out Anthony Crolla, in Los Angeles. Lomachenko fights Teofimo Lopez on Saturday in Las Vegas, and boxing fans it for free. Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — In ordinary times, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez would be the fight of the fall, a lightweight title match about as compelling as it gets in the boxing world these days.

And in ordinary times people would have to cough up hundreds of dollars to sit at ringside or $74.99 to watch Saturday night’s fight on pay-per-view.

“It would probably be a big pay-per-view with 20,000 in the stands,” promoter Bob Arum said. “But the coronavirus has upset a lot of business and people are dying. We’ve got to be thankful for what we have.”

Boxing fans should be thankful, too. They’re getting a quality fight – and they’re getting it for free.

Instead of a big crowd, the only fans at the MGM Grand conference center will be a few hundred sponsors and first responders with special invites. And, instead of pay-per-view, the fight will be televised live on ESPN, guaranteeing a larger audience than a pay-per-view even if the money isn’t nearly the same.

“It could be the biggest possible audience for a boxing match that I can remember,” Arum said.

Those tuning in should be in for a treat in a fight with three different 135-pound titles at stake. Lomachenko is widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, while Lopez is an undefeated power puncher eager to make himself a household name.

There’s also some tension between the two fighters that goes back to a confrontation Lopez’s father had with Lomachenko in a hotel lobby two years ago when both were on the same card in New York. It was then that Lopez vowed to chase down a fight with Lomachenko, the masterful Ukrainian who won two Olympic gold medals.

“I don’t think about it being personal, I don’t have a problem with his family and this boy,’’ Lomachenko said. ”But we can check what’s better to prove things, in the ring or outside the ring.”

Both fighters will make less money than they might have made in pre-virus times to top a fight card that will fill ESPN’s Saturday night schedule. Both are risking future riches, too, in a fight that will show just how far the Brooklyn-born Lopez has come since losing in the 2016 Olympics while representing Honduras.

Lopez is 15-0 as a pro with 12 knockouts but is taking a big step up in class against Lomachenko, whose technical skills are widely praised around boxing.

“This is the part where I’m leading the new generation,” the 23-year-old Lopez said. “Winning this is a stamp and a mark to put on for the new era. Get your popcorn ready and just enjoy the show.”

While Lopez is relatively inexperienced as a pro he holds a portion of the

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Lomachenko, Lopez to give boxing fans a gift: free fight

LAS VEGAS (AP) — In ordinary times, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez would be the fight of the fall, a lightweight title match about as compelling as it gets in the boxing world these days.

And in ordinary times people would have to cough up hundreds of dollars to sit at ringside or $74.99 to watch it on pay-per-view.

“It would probably be a big pay-per-view with 20,000 in the stands,” promoter Bob Arum said. “But the coronavirus has upset a lot of business and people are dying. We’ve got to be thankful for what we have.”

Boxing fans should be thankful, too. They’re getting a quality fight — and they’re getting it for free.

Instead of a big crowd, the only fans at the MGM Grand conference center will be a few hundred sponsors and first responders with special invites. And, instead of pay-per-view, the fight will be televised live on ESPN, guaranteeing a larger audience than a pay-per-view even if the money isn’t nearly the same.

“It could be the biggest possible audience for a boxing match that I can remember,” Arum said.

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