‘I cried when I became a three-division world champion faster than any other male or female fighter in history.’ Claressa Shields spoke to Paul Wheeler
When and why you started boxing:
I started boxing at the age of 11. My dad used to box, and he told me about Muhammad Ali having a daughter who boxed. That made me want to start.
Favourite all-time fighter:
My favourites are Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Louis.
Best fight you’ve seen:
Muhammad Ali against George Foreman.
Personal career highlight:
Winning my two Olympic gold medals [in 2012 and 2016].
Franchon Crews-Dezurn, who I fought on my pro debut [w ud 4 – November 2016]. She and I had fought three times previously in the amateurs, and just fighting with no headgear, in Las Vegas with a big crowd, and with smaller gloves for the first time was hard.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
My main strength is that I can adjust to any fighter and figure them out. My weakness is that I like to punish people inside the ring and this sometimes stops me from finishing them off.
Cardio. Boxing is a different kind of cardio, so it’s best to get used to road work or swimming.
My favourite meal is vegetable spaghetti. My favourite restaurant, when I used to eat meat, was Yardbird in Miami.
Best friends in boxing:
My best friends in the sport are Shakur Stevenson – who’s like my brother – Mikaela Mayer, [Virginia] “Ginny” Fuchs and Tori Nelson.
Other sportsperson you would like to be:
Floyd Mayweather or LeBron James.
Last film/TV show you saw:
Black Lightning and Supergirl are my favourite shows right now.
Who would play you in a film of your life:
Well, Ryan Destiny is playing me in my biopic, but Nafessa Williams would’ve been a great choice too.
Have you ever been starstruck:
Yes, when I met Ice Cube! I completely froze up! I just love him so much!
Last time you cried:
I cried after my last fight against Ivana Habazin [w ud 10 – January 2020] when I became a three-division world champion faster than any other male or female fighter in history.
Best advice received:
Andre Ward told me to just be who I am, no matter what.
Worst rumour about yourself:
People are always saying things about me. I don’t care though.
Something not many people know about you:
I love meeting new people and I love karaoke!