Claressa Shields has been making women’s boxing history for the past several years and isn’t about to stop now.
The 21-year-old from Flint, Michigan, made it by winning back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 20012 and 2016.
She made it by being the dominant force in women’s amateur boxing during that stretch and finished her unpaid career 77-1 before turning pro with a one-sided, but action-packed, four-round decision win against amateur rival Franchon Crews in November on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Now Shields (1-0, 0 KOs) is set for a little more history when she takes on Szilvia “Sunset” Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs), 26, a former world title challenger from Hungary, in a six-round middleweight fight on Friday night (Showtime, 10 ET/PT) at the MGM Grand Detroit.
The men’s fights will take a backseat as the women will take center stage for the first time on premium cable with Shields-Szabados serving as the main event of the card. Shields is proud that she is the reason why women’s boxing is being put in the spotlight on “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
"I'm not going to let her beat me in front of my family. I'm not going to let her beat me in front of my nephews and cousins and my mom and dad. I just don't roll like that. If she doesn't have the talent and skill to go six rounds with me, she will not go six rounds." Claressa Shields
“I started boxing at age 11 and all I really wanted was an opportunity. This is one of those big opportunities,” Shields said at the final news conference on Wednesday. “This is the first time that a woman has been the main event on Showtime, and I’m not coming to make women look bad when I get in there on [Friday].”
Shields won everything there was for a female boxer to win as an amateur, so even though she has only four professional rounds and Szabados has 130 more than she does, Shields is not at all concerned that this is too big of a step up in only her second pro fight.
“Her having  professional rounds doesn’t mean anything to me. Her being 15-8 with 6 KOs doesn’t scare me either, but I am glad she took the fight and didn’t pull out,” Shields said. “She’s a challenge and, on paper, she’s not supposed to be someone that I can just walk through. But I’ve been in training camp for three months, and I had a great training camp.”
While Shields is not concerned with Szabados’ pro experience, Szabados said the same about Shields’ extensive amateur experience.
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve been waiting a long time for this fight,” Szabados said. “I feel good and I’m in great shape. I think everyone has a destiny in life, and I’m glad I chose to be a boxer. This is a huge opportunity for me and I plan to take advantage of it. I know she has the amateur experience, but I have more experience as a pro. We’ll see what’s more important on Friday.”
Shields said she is always motivated to win, but she said she will be even more so for this fight because the crowd will be filled with friends and family, since she grew up only about an hour away.
“I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my family,” Shields said. “I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my nephews and cousins and my mom and dad. I just don’t roll like that. If she doesn’t have the talent and skill to go six rounds with me, she will not go six rounds. So, I hope she had a very good training camp. I know I did.”
In the co-feature, Antonio Nieves (17-0-2, 9 KOs), of Cleveland, and Russia’s Nikolay Potapov (16-0-1, 8 KOs) meet in a 10-round fight for a regional bantamweight belt. There are also two other eight-round bouts on the telecast: Welterweight Wesley Tucker (13-0, 8 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio, takes on Detroit’s Ed Williams (12-1-1, 4 KOs) and bantamweight James Gordon Smith (11-0, 6 KOs), of Detroit, will fight Chicago’s Joshua Greer Jr. (11-1-1, 4 KOs).