Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields has a last-minute replacement opponent for her eight-round super middleweight bout Friday night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
Shields, fighting near her hometown of Flint, Michigan, will face Sydney LeBlanc, who stepped in on three days' notice, promoter Dmitriy Salita announced Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Shields (2-0, 1 KO) was due to face Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs), 32, of the Dominican Republic. Rancier was coming off a 10-round decision loss to Germany's Nikki Adler on March 11 in a challenge for a vacant women's super middleweight world title.
However, LeBlanc (4-1-1), 33, of Gretna, Louisiana, was pressed into service when Rancier was dropped from the bout because of visa issues, according to Salita, who signed Shields to a promotional agreement earlier this week.
LeBlanc, though inactive, has been in training. She said she is excited for the opportunity to upset Shields.
"I've been pro boxing for [six years], since before the Olympics had a women's division, and I've taken a lot of time off because of a lack of available opponents," LeBlanc said. "These Olympians are reopening the gates for all female fighters. Everybody was on the shelf for years. This is the first time female boxing has been popular since the Ann Wolfe days, so I'm very appreciative of the opportunities they are bringing.
"I've never watched any of my opponents before a fight, but I know about Claressa Shields and I want to fight her. I'm looking at this fight as a good chance to see where I'm at skill-wise, and I'll be ready."