After winning two Olympic gold medals and a plethora of world titles, Claressa Shields is a leading figure in the sport.
But with rivals rising through championship class as well, she believes they can usher in an exciting new era for women’s professional boxing.
Inspired by the ‘Four Kings’ – the era when Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler all fought each other – Shields expects all the top female fighters around her weight to box one another in a sequence of high-profile fights.
“Of course, why not? Right now, thinking about the middleweight division plus super-middleweight division, to talk about ‘Four Queens,’ we got me, you got Franchon [Crews-Dezurn], you got Savannah Marshall and you have Shadasia Green, if I had to think about the ‘Four Queens’ right now,” Shields told Sky Sports.
Shields has boxed and beaten Savannah Marshall to become the undisputed middleweight champion, but remains open to a rematch.
Marshall is stepping up to 168lbs to challenge Franchon Crews-Dezurn for the undisputed super-middleweight title on July 1, live on Sky Sports.
Green, unbeaten with a 12-0 (11) record, is waiting in the wings as the mandatory challenger for the WBC super-middleweight title.
On Saturday night Shields has her homecoming fight, against replacement opponent Maricela Cornejo in Detroit, the home city of Tommy Hearns and the famous Kronk gym.
“Tommy was the skinniest but he had a really big punch and he always had that Detroit meanness in him so to see him and to see that he’s supporting me means a lot. I grew up watching him, now he’s watching me!” Shields said.
“I’m bringing big time boxing back [to Detroit]. This is going to make for more big fights in Detroit but it’s all starting out with me. So I’m excited about that.”
For Shields it’s another key moment in her career. “This is huge. I’m going to get the chance to fight in front of 15,000 fans,” she said.
“Women’s boxing has been flourishing here in the United States but just not as fast as it has been in the UK and we haven’t been given the opportunities.
“To be able to fight at Little Caesars Arena, where the Pistons play, 15,000 seats, it just proves what I’ve already been saying, that yes I am the greatest woman of all time [the GWOAT] and that I will be the one to change how they see women’s boxing here in the USA.
“This is unheard of and I’m just super-excited that they chose me.”
It follows on from her landmark win over Marshall in London.
“I definitely earned this right,” Shields said. “Coming to the UK to take her belt and become undisputed for the third time, that was a huge risk and I was able to go over there, get the job done, solidify my GWOAT-ness some more.
“When I get hit hard, I get mad and I want to hit you back harder than you hit me. I want to stand there and fight. I want to show you that the I’m best.
“I’m going to go in your backyard and dog-walk you in front of 20,000 people.