Boxing champion Shields wins on MMA debut

Claressa Sheilds
Shields made history this year with top billing on the first all-women pay-per-view boxing card

Former Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields recovered from two early take-downs to win her debut professional mixed martial arts contest.

The American beat compatriot Brittney Elkin by a third-round technical knockout in the Professional Fighters League match in Atlantic City.

Shields, 26, showed composure and patience to defeat the more experienced fighter.

“I feel like I am dreaming, this is crazy!” she said after the win.

Shields won Olympic gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, and is the only boxer in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing – WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO – simultaneously in two weight classes.

Shields had to endure some heavy punches but managed to recover while Elkin, 35, was determined to take the fight to the mat.

However, Shields’ endurance shone through, ending the contest with a series of strong right hands to complete a stunning reversal one minute 44 seconds into the final round.

The undefeated fighter showed pin-point accuracy by landing 93% of her strikes during the contest.

Claressa Sheilds and Brittney Elkin fight
Elkin dominated rounds one and two but Shields made a brilliant comeback to win the fight

“After seven months of training, I kept telling myself, it’s going to be hard. Do not expect the easy win,” Shields told reporters.

“She had me on the ground but she could never hurt me. Her punches didn’t hurt me. I told myself, I may have lost the first two rounds, but I am not losing this fight.

“Coach said, ‘I want to see Clarenzo’ [referring to a fighting alter-ego], and when he said that, Clarenzo just came out!”

Elkin, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, now has a record of three wins and seven losses in MMA and has lost her past four fights.

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