Perhaps one segment of the sport of Boxing that has been able to take advantage of the unprecedented circumstances of the ongoing global COVID-19 epidemic has been Women’s Boxing. With many of the top stars of the sport sidelined for most of 2020 due to both risks associated with the COVID-19 virus as well as for economic reasons, several of the top female fighters in the sport seized the opportunity to take the spotlight as several notable stars including undefeated Undisputed Lightweight world champion Katie Taylor, Mikaela Mayer, Teri Harper, Natasha Jonas,, Cecilia Braekhus, and Jessica McCaskill all lead the way in putting Women’s Boxing center stage.
|Credit: FITE TV
One fighter who has remained sidelined as the epidemic has continued is arguably the woman who has been the focal point of Women’s Boxing here in the United States over the last several years. Undefeated three-division world champion Claressa Shields. As some may recall, Shields emerged on the Boxing scene in becoming the first fighter in history Male or Female to win back to back gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Since turning professional, Shields has used that notoriety to become a three-division world champion winning world titles in the Jr. Middleweight, Middleweight, and Super-Middleweight divisions.
Although Shields has accomplished what many fighters struggle to accomplish in their careers in just ten professional fights including becoming an undisputed world champion in the Middleweight division in 2019, she continues to attempt to make history as she will now attempt to become an undisputed world champion in a second weight class as she will defend her unified WBC/WBO Jr. Middleweight world championship against undefeated IBF world champion Marie-Eve Dicaire on Friday, March 5th at the Dort Financial Events Center in Flint, MI. The bout, which will headline an all-women’s Boxing card promoted by Salita Promotions and broadcast globally on digital pay-per-view on FITE TV, will also be for the vacant WBA Jr. Middleweight world championship marking the first time that the World Boxing Association (WBA) has sanctioned a world championship bout in the Women’s Jr. Middleweight division. In doing so, the addition of the WBA crown makes this bout one for the undisputed world championship in the division and could give Shields the distinction of holding two undisputed world championships in two weight classes simultaneously if she can defeat Dicaire. A feat that even male boxers have not accomplished.
In Marie-Eve Dicaire, Shields will face a world champion with slightly more professional experience than she has with seventeen professional bouts to her credit. Dicaire won her world championship in December 2018 with a ten round unanimous decision over Chris Namus and has successfully defended her IBF crown three times since.
Stylistically, this fight could favor Shields as she is normally an aggressive fighter that likes to apply pressure on her opponents. Although neither fighter is known for scoring knockouts as Dicaire has not scored a stoppage in her career and Shields has only scored two in her ten career wins, Shields may also have an edge in terms of punching power. The interesting dynamic in thinking of how this fight might be fought is Dicaire is a fighter that uses lateral movement, angles, and has shown the ability to out box opponents when she is able to keep them at distance.
The challenge for Dicaire in this fight will be whether or not she will be able to keep Shields at a distance where she will not be able to cut the ring off and make it difficult for the IBF champion to move. Dicaire must also show that if Shields is able to get on the inside that she will be able to keep her from being able to get her punches off as Shields often throws her punches in compact combination and being able to tie her up on the inside or keep her from being able to get on the inside is something no previous opponent has been able to accomplish thus far.
Both world champions have the element of hand speed in their respective arsenals and it may be a question of how each fighter uses their hand speed that may be a determining factor in who has the edge in this fight. If Marie-Eve Dicaire is able to find success in keeping Shields at distance, this could prove to be a difficult test for the likely favorite, who will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd.
Beyond this fight being for the Undisputed Women’s Jr. Middleweight world championship, the fight between Claressa Shields and Marie-Eve Dicaire also will have the distinction of being a main event of a pay-per-view card of all women’s bouts. Although Women’s Boxing has been part of Boxing as a whole for decades, it was only in recent years that the women of the sport began to receive long overdue exposure and recognition particularly here in the United States where women’s bouts had mainly be limited to pay-per-view undercards of major bout featuring their male counterparts and very limited television exposure for the women of Boxing beyond that.
While internationally Women’s Boxing has regularly headlined Boxing cards featuring men’s bouts, it wasn’t until 2017 where Boxing fans were able to see Women’s bouts headline cards that were broadcast across cable, satellite, and streaming networks including Claressa Shields and Cecilia Braekhus co-headlining the final Boxing card broadcast by HBO in 2018. Sadly, the only card headlined by two women’s bouts broadcast by HBO during its forty-five year run broadcasting the sport.
Now, with Women’s Boxing regularly featured on digital streaming networks like DAZN, ESPN+, and combat sports centric digital networks like FITE TV, it is only a natural step forward in the overdue progression of Women’s Boxing to see a card exclusively showcasing the women of the sport. Shields-Dicaire is a historic bout for Women’s Boxing not only for what is on the line in the first undisputed world championship in the history of the Women’s Jr. Middleweight division, not only for what Shields is attempting in trying to become the first undisputed world champion in two weight classes simultaneously, but more importantly, for what it represents for the women of the sport going forward.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
Promotional Poster Courtesy of: FITE TV Used with permission.
SuperWomen: Shields vs. Dicaire takes place on Friday, March 5th at the Dort Financial Events Center in Flint, MI. The five bout card can be seen globally on digital pay-per-view on the FITE app across mobile, tablet, connected streaming devices, and Smart TVs beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT for $29.99. (U.S. Time.) Prior to the pay-per-view broadcast, a one hour pre-show will air beginning at 8PM ET/5PM PT.For more information about including schedules and compatible streaming devices and Smart TVs please visit: www.FITE.TV. To order Shields vs. Dicaire download the FITE app or click the following link: https://www.fite.tv/watch/shields-vs-dicaire/2p8qn/.
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