Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields will make her professional television debut on ShoBox: The New Generation, a series that has sparked the careers of 67 future world champions, on Friday, March 10, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from MGM Grand Detroit Event Center in Detroit, Michigan.
Shields (1-0) is facing Hungary’s Szilvia “Sunset” Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs), a former world title challenger, in the first women’s boxing match to headline on premium television. The fight will take place down the road from Shield’s hometown of Flint, Mich.
Shields is the most accomplished amateur boxer in U.S. history – male or female – and the only American boxer to capture back-to-back gold medals at the Olympic Games.
“It is a dream come true to be the first woman to headline a boxing card on premium television,” said Shields. “March 10 will be a historic night for boxing and all of the women who give so much to advance our sport. I am proud to be fighting for the NABF title in my second pro bout. I want to thank SHOWTIME, MGM Grand Detroit and Salita Promotions for this opportunity, and I will do everything to give my home state fans and the viewers a night to remember.”
Szabados said, “Fighters always say their next fight is the most important one of their career, but you get an opportunity like this, and it really is. This is an unbelievable dream. I am very happy to be receiving this opportunity. I know this fight is important for Claressa also, and I don’t really know what will happen in the ring. We both want to win. Claressa has more amateur experience, but I have more experience as a professional. It’s going to be an exciting night.”
Tickets for the event promoted by Salita Promotions go on sale Friday, Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. est and are priced at $250, $150, $100 and $50. They will be available at www.ticketmaster.com.
Promoter Dmitriy Salita said, “I am honored to be putting on this event at the fantastic MGM Grand Detroit, featuring American hero Claressa Shields on ShoBox: The New Generation. Detroit is America’s greatest comeback city and I am thrilled that she has chosen MGM Grand Detroit as the site to fight for her first professional title on March 10. Although it is just her second professional fight, Claressa has chosen a former world title challenger for her opponent, a tough Hungarian named Szilvia Szabados, a woman who knows what’s at stake if she can win that night. We’ve got a terrific card from top to bottom in support of this fantastic main event as well, featuring some of Detroit’s brightest up-and-coming prospects, as well as some national and international flavor. Detroit deserves to have world-class events such as this and I’m very proud to be able to bring it here.”
Shields won her first Olympic Gold when she was 17 years old in the inaugural women’s boxing competition at the London Games in 2012. She defended her title at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, becoming the only American boxer to defend amateur sports’ premier championship.
The 21-year-old Shields cruised to a 77-1 amateur record before turning professional last November, winning her first bout via unanimous decision on a non-televised undercard in Las Vegas. She now returns home as a headliner to take on the veteran Szabados in a six-round middleweight bout.
ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood: “Women’s boxing in America has its best chance of revival because of the emergence of Claressa Shields. Women’s boxing is pretty big in certain countries, but it really hasn’t been a factor in the United States since Laila Ali and, before her, Christy Martin. Being the only U.S. boxer to win two gold medals, Claressa has instant credibility and star appeal and those two things are going to lead to wide exposure.
“She has a great back story, she’s an exciting fighter to watch and she’s instantly likeable.”
Simply put, Shields found solace in boxing to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in her childhood. She’s become a vocal advocate for many social causes, including the ongoing water crisis in her hometown of Flint, women’s rights, and campaigning against sexual assault. An inspirational figure and motivational speaker, Shields represents a beacon of hope for a working-class city that struggles with violence, poverty, and everyday essentials.
In taking on a former world title challenger and fighting for the NABF middleweight championship in only her second fight, Shields continues to make immediate strides as a professional like fellow Flint native Floyd Mayweather, who won his first world title when he was 21.
Szabados challenged for a world title in July 2015 in her ninth professional fight, losing a decision to undefeated WBC Super Middleweight Champion Nikki Adler in Germany. The native of Miskolc, Hungary has faced two former world champions, Mikaela Lauren and Noni Tenge, and has won via knockout in three of her last five victories.
In her U.S. debut, Szabados lost a 10-round decision to then-undefeated prospect Alicia Napoleon on January 29, 2016, in Queens, N.Y. The 26-year-old has remained active since turning professional in 2014. She fought eight fights in 2016, and already has a win in 2017 via fifth round KO over Diana Marcz in January in Budapest, Hungary.