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March 13, 2017

By G. Leon

GL: Congrats on your victory. Can you give us some thoughts on your performance against Szabados? I think I had a very, very good performance. I felt calm throughout the whole fight, I was able to throw my combinations and use my jab and I even made her miss a couple of timmes. I was strong on my legs, strong on my feet, I felt like I did really did great. GL: Did the punch resistance of Szabados surprise you at all? Were you surprised she was able to take so many big shots? Ab-so-lute-ly not. I kept telling everybody that she might not be as good as me, she might not be as fast, but she has a hard head and she has a no quit attitude. That's why she flew all the way from Hungary to the United States. She felt somewhere in her heart that she could beat me and I knew she was tough because I had seen most of her fights. She fought against Alicia Napoleon and Kelly Morgan so I knew she had no quit, but I knew I was going to test her chin and keep testing it. I think she was going to go in the fourth or the fifth because she was getting worn out.

GL: What do you consider the biggest adjustment you've had to make since turning pro?

Claressa Shields: "I'm not going to change my fight style. I'm not going to box the way that they say a professional should box because a lot of professionals wish they boxed more like an amateur. I'm going to keep going with my punch count and get in great shape where I'm able to throw 100 punches per round even if I am fighting in a twelve rounder. I think the biggest adjustment for me is the freaking head-butts. I don't know what it is about the head-butts but they really bother me in a fight. I need to figure out a different defense so when I go to the body I don't get head-butted, that's something that I feel I need to work on."

GL: What did it mean to you to make that history as the woman headling on Showtime in the first boxing event at the MGM Grand in Detroit?

CS: "It meant a lot and I'm glad that Showtime gave me the opportunity to fight in the main event. It was so big for Detroit and so big for Flint, and it was big for women's boxing. Any woman that watched Shobox should have been proud, it shouldn't matter who they are or when they boxed, they should be proud. Then you have some women that are jealous of that because I was chosen, but I'm not just a girl off the street who knows how to fight. I'm a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time world champion. I've only lost one fight in the amateurs and I have the resume to back it up, so I don't know why some of these female boxers are being haters for. I think every woman who watched Shobox the other night should have been proud, I think I definitely did all the great women who came up before me proud."

GL: What are your goals moving forward?

CS: "Just to keep getting better, to keep getting better, stronger and faster. I always want to be in better shape and I think at that fight on Friday I give myself like a 6 or 6.5 out of ten because that wasn't the best of Claressa Shields, but it was really good though, compared to my first pro fight."

GL: What do you feel you could have done the other night to bring that number closer to the 10?

CS: "I feel like I could've used more combinations and I could've adjusted better to the headshots. Instead I stopped going to the body and I seen the openings and I think I thrown more heavy shots down there to set up some better shots. I feel like I should have gotten her out of there in the third round. I think I did really good though, but I know what the best me looks like and that wasn't it."

GL: You've only lost one fight thus far, but there's no such thing as a perfect fighter. What part of your game do you feel needs the most sharpening?

CS: "I feel like I'm going to keep getting better, I'm not changing my fighting style. I know how to fight a whole bunch of different ways and I just adjust to the fighter I'm facing. I'm going to keep throwing more combinations and just keep getting stronger and faster, that's it. I think I have more skills than any woman whose laced up a pair of gloves, I'm not going to downgrade my skills, I'm going to keep on improving, I've got good head movement and I have great combination punching, I'm not going to change anything I'm just going to sharpen everything. Even my coach says the same thing, I like to throw an overhand right, but he wants me to throw it straight, so it's for different situations in different moments, but he wants me to throw it straight. That's what we're working on, but everything else is looking pretty good to me."

GL: Your pedigree and two gold medals speaks for itself, you probably would not have been in a position to make that history the other night without them. You're almost like Lebron in ball, the chosen one of women's boxing. How do you embrace the pressure that comes with that?

CS: "There is no pressure, I don't allow myself to feel any pressure, I just go out there and perform. When you're the person that's actually making history and you're the person everybody is depending on to do something great, you can't really think about what you're doing, you just get in there and do it. You embrace it afterwards, but when your leading up to it you have to delete all of the things that make you feel like this is such a big deal and I'm so scared of messing up. I delete that and tell myself I'm going to do great, I know I'm great, I've trained hard and it's time for the fight. I think during the ring walk I let myself embrace that part and I embraced the interviews and being on TV and everything, but once I got inside the ring I deleted all of that from my mind, I deleted that I was the main event on Showtime, I deleted that all of my family and friends were there, I took my mind to a place like I was fighting in this basement and I'm trying to get out of this basement. I was only thinking about going in there and dominating this girl, if I did that I knew everything would fall into place afterwards."

GL: Were you disappointed that your debut wasn't a part of the Ward-Kovalev telecast?

CS: "Yes I was a little disappointed, but at the same time I know that women's boxing, the promoters feel like they're taking a risk and that risk is like maybe they feel like they won't sell as many tickets, so they try to be safe. I even said that those promoters knew better after the fight, after the fight everybody was talking about Kovalev and Ward but no other TV fights. The only other fight people were talking about on that card was my debut and it wasn't even televised and it stole the show. They kind of were beating themselves up because they didn't put me on the telecast, but I knew it was going to happen either way it went, I knew I was going to be on TV eventually."

GL: How did you link up with my man Mark "Too-Sharp" Taffet?

CS: "Actually, I can't remember the guys name that called me, but he actually called me on three way with Mark, so I can hear what Mark was talking about. Me, I'm a person that doesn't really trust a lot of people and I'm not really a person of words, you could tell me all these great things but I'm a person who likes to see it."

GL: An action talker.

CS: "Exactly, so they were telling me all of these things about Mark and I asked him what his vision was for me and I wanted to see if our visions were on the same page and he was dead on. Not just the boxing, but the outside of boxing, I have other dreams besides being a great boxer and mentioned those things, and he also mentioned my brand outside the ring, that I should be the one to fight on all of these networks and I should be on TV. He had this big vision that I feel like was in line with mine, so I had my agent and him get together and him and my agent get along great and they've both been able to work together and make these fights and make the outreach of these fights be large."

GL: Can you elaborate on what some of these outside of boxing things are?

CS: "Not right now. I've learnt that this is not the amateurs and everything has to be finished on paper first."

GL: Now onto the real tough questions, what's your favorite movie and who is your favorite musician?

CS: "My favorite movie's either Million Dollar Baby or this movie called Robot. For the musician I would have to say Alicia Keyes."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

CS: "I want to thank all of the fans for coming out and the fans who watched as well. Just keep spreading the word that women's boxing is back and they have a woman who fights like a man."

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