Issue | Opinion | Premium | Jan 14 2020

Perspective on Claressa Shields’ achievements

Claressa Shields’ achievements are impressive but let’s also be realistic when writing the headlines says John Scully
Claressa Shields

IT really is a notable achievement to win multiple world titles in three divisions, particularly in 10 fights, but there is no way we should be putting Claressa Shields alongside the men and declaring her as the first boxer in history – as many notable media outlets did over the weekend – to achieve the feat so quickly.

It is not comparable. It is two different codes. In sports such as tennis, for example, the records of men and women are kept separate. Same goes for every other organised sport on the face of the earth. The level of opposition Shields had to defeat does not compare, in any way, to levels that men like Oscar De La Hoya, Jeff Fenech and Vasyl Lomacheko had to defeat on their way to landing three divisional titles in quick time.

For further context, there are only 34 women in the entire world qualified to be ranked at middleweight (one of the divisions she has won titles in), while the same division in the men’s game has 1,561 to choose from. This of course is not Shields’ fault, but some form of perspective is essential before we lose ourselves in needless hyperbole.


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