Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields has signed with Salita Promotions, making official Monday the union they have been working on.
The signing comes days before Shields is to have her second bout in a row with the promotional company headed by former junior welterweight world title challenger Dmitriy Salita. Shields, 22, of Flint, Michigan, will face Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs), 32, of the Dominican Republic, in an eight-round super middleweight bout Friday night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit in the main event of Salita's "Detroit Brawl" series.
"I thank Salita Promotions for the commitment they have shown to me," Shields said. "I promise all boxing fans that I will dedicate myself to being not only the world's No. 1 female boxer and No. 1 pound-for-pound, but also a torch-bearer for boxing and women the world over. I can't wait to get in the ring on June 16 to continue the journey."
The pairing made sense because Salita promotes cards regularly in Detroit, where Shields is building a fan base in her home state.
"Salita Promotions is to be commended for their commitment to Claressa Shields," said Mark Taffet, Shields' co-manager. "Dmitriy's knowledge and expertise in Claressa's home-base market of Detroit provides the perfect complements to Claressa's once-in-a-century talent and determination to advance women's boxing and change the sport of boxing forever."
Shields (2-0, 1 KO) turned pro in November and won a four-round decision against amateur rival Franchon Crews on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev undercard in Las Vegas. In her second fight she knocked out Szilvia Szabados in the fourth round on March 10 on a Salita-promoted card in Detroit, becoming the first female boxer to headline a show on premium cable, doing so on Showtime's "ShoBox: The New Generation" series.
Salita was pleased to finalize the agreement.
"Claressa is an outstanding world-class athlete, who has the ability to transcend sports like Michael Jordan and Serena Williams," Salita said. "She also has the charisma to appeal to a broad new generation of fans, who will tune in to watch her fights and will want to come to arenas to experience her performance live.
"The state of Michigan has been home to many [top boxers], like Joe Louis, Tommy Hearns, Floyd Mayweather and now Claressa Shields. I look forward to working with Claressa on her already historic career. At only 22 years old I believe Claressa will continue to break records, set new limits and break boundaries in and out the ring."
Shields was the dominant figure in women's amateur boxing in recent years. She was 77-1 as an amateur and won middleweight gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the first American to win back-to-back boxing gold medals.