Gabriels Out, Maricela Cornejo In To Face Claressa Shields



Gabriels Out, Maricela Cornejo In To Face Claressa Shields

Hanna Gabriels is out, apparently off a PED issue, so Claressa Shields will face a substitute on June 3. Maricela Cornejo steps in to meet the two-division undisputed world champion Shields at Caesars Arena in Detroit and streamed live on DAZN in the U.S. and Canada.

Hanna Gabriels, a promotional release said, has issues stemming from the results of a May 2, 2023 VADA test done as part of the WBC Clean Boxer Program.

Salita Promotions made the change as a result.

Maricela Cornejo steps in as a new opponent against a formidable opponent, Claressa Shields for a title opportunity. Photo: LIna Baker 360 Promotions

Maricela Cornejo steps in as a new opponent against a formidable opponent, Claressa Shields for a title opportunity. Photo: LIna Baker 360 Promotions

Here is material from a release, touching on the change:

Boxing’s G.W.O.A.T. and Michigan’s own Shields will live up to her promise to bring big-time boxing back to Detroit by stepping up to face the WBC, WBO and IBF no. 1 ranked contender Cornejo in the first-ever boxing event at Little Caesars Arena. The two highly-competitive combatants had strong statements about their June 3 showdown.

Shields Speaks On Opponent Change

“I told my team to get me the best,’ said Undisputed Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields. “Maricela Cornejo is a tall, tough Mexican full of pride who’s in great shape and wants to beat me. She’s ranked number one. That’s exactly what I want for my Detroit homecoming and for my fans around the world. I’m looking forward to a great performance on June 3.”

“When Shields faced a Mexican in the cage, she lost. Now she will lose to a Mexican in the boxing ring,” said Cornejo. “I just finished an amazing fight camp and am in the best, strongest physical and mental shape of my life. My team in Vegas has sharpened me like a knife for this moment. On June 3, I will become Undisputed Champion!”

Claressa Shields and Hanna Gabriels (r) with promoter Dmitriy Salita on April 18, 2023, at a press conference to announce Shields v Gabriels 2, which won’t occur as planned

A two-time Olympic gold medalist throughout her storied amateur career, the 28-year-old Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) avenged her only amateur defeat last October when she traveled to the U.K. to win the WBO Middleweight Title from Savannah Marshall via unanimous decision.

The Flint native’s last fight in her home state of Michigan came in March 2021 as she bested Marie Eve Dicaire to become undisputed super welterweight world champion, her second undisputed distinction after originally unifying all the middleweight titles with a 2019 victory over then unbeaten Christina Hammer.

More About Maricela Cornejo

Maricela Cornejo, middleweight contender

Maricela Cornejo in the gym. Photo: Courtesy Instagram/Maricornejoboxing

A native of Washington who now trains in Las Vegas under the tutelage of renowned trainer Ismael Salas, Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) enters this fight having won three-straight contests.

She most recently fought in March as she stopped Sheila Cunha in the first round.

The 36-year-old has previously challenged for world titles at middleweight and super middleweight, including a pair of close decision losses to undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews Dezurn in 2018 and 2019. Cornejo’s first world title opportunity came in just her sixth professional outing, as she dropped a razor thin split-decision to Kali Reis in April 2016.

Promoter Salita Ties Up Loose Ends

“Claressa’s goal has always been to fight the best, and we left no stone unturned in making sure we deliver the highest available contender in the undisputed multi organization no. 1 world-rated middleweight Maricela Cornejo,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions.

“Fans watching the fight live on DAZN and those present for the comeback of big-time boxing in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena will witness the highest level of professional boxing between two hungry fighters fighting for the Undisputed Middleweight World Crown.”

Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased through, and the XFINITY Box Office at Little Caesars Arena. The event is promoted by Salita Promotions and 313 Presents.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.