Claressa Shields has stoked the flames of her rivalry with Savannah Marshall again, claiming she does not consider the Britain „a champion“.
Speaking to Sky Sports having touched down in London ahead of her world title defence against Slovenia’s Ema Kozin in Cardiff on Saturday, February 5, Shields discussed her upcoming fight but reserved her most pointed comments for Marshall.
Shields is making her UK debut as a professional next week, and will defend her WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles, as the co-main event alongside the all-British grudge match between Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Williams, live on Sky Sports.
Victory would set up an undisputed middleweight championship fight with WBO champion Marshall.
„Oh yeah [a fight vs Marshall is what Shields wants next],“ she said on Saturday. „See this is the [WBO middleweight] belt that she fought for that was vacant because it was mine.
„This is my belt. So Savannah Marshall is not even considered a champion to me.
„I win, she wins her next fight, me and her scrap together next, that’s what the plan is.
„She can say whatever she wants, I’m a three-time division world champion.
„She’s a one-time belt holder, only in one weight class, and the reason that this fight is so huge is because of me.
„Two Olympic gold medals compared to zero is a big deal.“
Shields, 26, has yet to lose in 11 fights as a professional boxer, though she did suffer an MMA defeat in October, losing to Abigail Montes in her second fight in the sport.
That defeat was the first time Shields has lost any sort of contest since an amateur fight with Marshall in 2012 – the source of a rivalry that is expected to be settled this year.
Slovenian Kozin, Shields’ opponent on February 5, is also undefeated as a professional, having won 21 of 22 bouts to date – drawing once vs Mexico’s Irais Hernandez, who Kozin beat in a re-match.
„I mean she’s 21-0, 11 knockouts, she’s a worthy opponent and has worked her way to the top, but there’s levels,“ Shields said of Kozin.
„I watched her in the amateurs and I see her in the pros, she’s a big tough girl but she’s going to get beat up too.“
Asked if there was a danger of complacency to her approach for the fight vs Kozin, Shields rubbished the suggestion.
„I won the Olympics here [London], I don’t worry about upsets,“ she said.
„I’ve been in plenty of countries and beat whoever they had there.
„It doesn’t matter where we fight. I can fight in any country. The pressure doesn’t bother me, the boos don’t bother me, the cheers don’t bother me.
„I come out here to show my skills, defend my titles, and bring it back home to the USA.“
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
Sunday January 30 – Top Rank in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super-featherweight title eliminator
Saturday February 5 – BOXXER in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Saturday February 19 – BOXXER in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut
Saturday February 26 – BOXXER and Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Saturday March 5 – Top Rank in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza