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Claressa Shields wins third world title in 10th bout but, for the sake of equality, let’s hold fire on the hype

Claressa Shields
The impressive Claressa Shields wins third world title but perspective should be retained

CLARESSA SHIELDS won new world belts in a third weight class – the vacant WBO and WBC super-welterweight titles – when she beat Croatia’s Ivana Habazin via 10-round points decision in Atlantic City.

“It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m happy with the improvement,” Shields said after her victory. “This feels great – I did it in 10 fights. Now I’m number one, the fastest boxer in history to become a three-division world champion.”

Though her achievement should not be confused with Henry Armstrong winning three world championships in the 1930s, Shields continues to set new standards in the female game.

“I am the greatest woman of all time because she couldn’t do nothing with me, zero,” Shields added.

“I just want to be a better fighter, that’s all. I want to grow women’s boxing. I want us to have equal pay, equal opportunity. I would love to share a card with Deontay Wilder, Errol Spence. I want to be in with the likes of those guys.”

Shields – who has also won belts at middle and super-middle – was typically dominant en route to her victory: The scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-89 told the right story of her performance. Shields looked like the victor from the opening bell but, for context, the knockdown she scored along the way was the first she’d achieved as a professional boxer.

For further context, Shields’ march to three divisional titles has not been met with the kind of opposition to make her a legend of the game in the same way that Armstrong is. Habazin had a record of 20-3 coming in but only two of those triumphs came against opponents with winning records.

Boxing News is all for equality but let’s also be realistic. The standard of women’s boxing is improving but it’s still far too early to start comparing it with the men’s code. It deserves better, frankly.

But that’s not Shields’ fault. The headlines elsewhere will tell you that she beat Vasyl Lomachenko’s record of winning three titles in 13 bouts and for Shields to achieve the same feat in 10 bouts is certainly impressive, irrespective of the opposition.

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  • The day that women fight 3 minute rounds, consistently take on the strength of opposition, and display the level of skills, that’s equivalent or better than the men, while drawing at least similar sized audiences, THEN they’ll deserve equal pay to men and also be entitled to claim records currently held by their male counterparts. What Claressa Shields is claiming, and the way she’s talking about it, doesn’t only show her usual lack of humility, it shows a total lack of respect for Vasiliy Lomachenko.

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