Claressa Shields Challenges for Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Titles

Claressa Shields Eyes New Glory with Move to Heavyweight

Unbeaten pound-for-pound boxing queen Claressa Shields is set for her biggest challenge yet. Shields is moving up in weight to compete for belts in two additional divisions. She will face WBC heavyweight champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse, with the vacant WBO light heavyweight title also on the line. This highly anticipated bout will be broadcast live on DAZN from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, on July 27.

Return to Little Caesars Arena

Shields, with an unblemished record of 14-0 (2 KOs), returns to the same venue where she last fought on June 5, 2022. In that fight, she successfully defended her RING and undisputed middleweight championship by defeating Maricela Cornejo via decision. Despite her continued dominance, Shields has struggled to find willing opponents, prompting her to temporarily return to MMA. Now, she is taking on the challenge of climbing the weight divisions to further cement her legacy.

“The Queen of Boxing is back,” Shields, a Flint, Michigan native, exclaimed about her return. “I’m so excited to return to the ring, especially after my MMA victory in February. I’m excited to bring another entertaining fight to Little Caesars Arena. Last time 12,000 fans filled the arena, and this time we’re going to lift the roof off the building!”

Quest for Fourth Weight Division Title

Shields is the only American boxer to have won back-to-back gold medals in international Olympic competition. Her professional career has been equally stellar, with titles in three weight divisions and undisputed reigns at 154 and 160 pounds. Now, she aims to add the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles to her collection.

“This is a significant and unique fight where I am moving up two weight classes against a very tough champion in my quest to become World Champion in my fourth weight division,” Shields stated. “It’s an exciting time for women’s sports, and I thank DAZN for providing a global platform for women’s boxing. I plan to do what I do best: bring that GWOAT energy and continue putting women’s boxing on the map.”

Picture:IMAGO

Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse: A Formidable Opponent

Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse (7-1, 2 KOs) captured the WBC heavyweight title on her second attempt. The 28-year-old from Saint André Avellin, Quebec, Canada, secured a split decision win over Abril Argentina Vidal on March 7 in Montreal. This victory extended her current four-fight win streak since her return to the ring in 2023 after a six-year hiatus. Her only defeat came in August 2017, when she was knocked out by Alejandra Jimenez with the same belt at stake. The upcoming bout against Shields will mark Lepage-Joanisse’s U.S. debut.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s Claressa or someone else. My life is all about challenges,” said Lepage-Joanisse. “I’ve always faced them head-on, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Salita Promotions: Revitalising Detroit’s Boxing Scene

Dmitriy Salita, through his company Salita Promotions, has been instrumental in revitalising the Detroit boxing scene. Known for its regular prospect-based series on DAZN, this event promises to be a major production upgrade.

“From the beginning of her career, Claressa has been on a quest to make her story a part of history,” Salita said. “This fight is one of Claressa’s hardest challenges, moving up two weight divisions to challenge the current Heavyweight World Champion. It’s ‘Claressa vs. Vanessa’ for the unified world title in Detroit, one of boxing’s historic homes. There is no better venue for this epic showdown than the beautiful, world-class Little Caesars Arena.”

Mark Taffet, Shields’ manager, added, “With every fight, Claressa Shields continues to raise the bar for women’s boxing. Claressa embraces the challenge of moving up two weight classes in her quest to win a world title in her fourth weight division. It is a real privilege to be by her side on her game-changing journey.”

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