She is at the top of the heap among female fighters in the boxing sphere, but Claressa Shields wants more. So she's been training in MMA and tomorrow night, she'll try her hand (and feet) at this other martial art.
Shields is promoted by Dmitriy Salita; I asked Salita for his thoughts on her move. Is he worried she will so love MMA that she never returns to the boxing space?
“Claressa has been on a quest to raise women’s boxing to the next level,” Salita told me. “She is an athlete who accomplished many firsts, regardless of gender. Tomorrow, she is the main event on ESPN 2 in her first ever MMA fight. I am always nervous before fights but I am confident that Claressa will do great. But boxing is her first love to which she has dedicated her life.”
Here is a release which went out with details on Shields' participation in the Professional Fighters League card:
NEW YORK (June 9, 2021) — The Professional Fighters League (PFL), the fastest growing and most innovative sports league, today announced the finalized lineup for tomorrow’s PFL 4 event that will kick off the second half of the PFL 2021 Regular Season on ESPN2 and ESPN+. The main event will feature the highly anticipated MMA debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division boxing world champion Claressa Shields (below) who will take on seasoned veteran Brittany Elkin.
Four fighters who were scheduled to fight tomorrow will now compete at PFL 6 on Friday June 25. Anthony Pettis will square off with Raush Manfio in a lightweight showdown while Lance Palmer and Movlid Khaybulaev will duel in the featherweight division.
PFL 4 will begin at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and continues on ESPN2 and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET.
ESPN2, ESPN+ Card
Claressa Shields vs. Brittney Elkin
Clay Collard vs Joilton Lutterbach
Bubba Jenkins vs. Bobby Moffett
Brendan Loughnane vs. Tyler Diamond
Natan Schulte vs. Alexander Martinez
Marcin Held vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Akhmed Aliev vs. Loik Radzhabov
Sheymon Moraes vs. Jesse Stirn
Chris Wade vs Arman Ospanov