In just her second professional fight, boxer Claressa Shields is breaking new ground in an already historic career. The two-time Olympic gold medalist—the first American boxer to ever win gold consecutively—will now be fighting in the first-ever woman's boxing match to headline on cable TV.
Shields will be facing off against against the Hungarian Szilvia Szabados this Friday at the MGM Detroit, a match that will air on Showtime's ShoBox: The New Generation. For the 21-year-old Flint native, it will be the first time she's fought before a hometown crowd in three years.
In an interview with ESPN, Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, emphasized how unprecedented Shields' match is:
ShoBox is a series that focuses on up-and-coming boxers, but I can confidently say that never in the history of the franchise (now in its 16th year) have we considered someone who is 1-0—let alone considered someone who is 1-0 to be the main event. It's unprecedented, to say the least.
But Shields appears to be worth the gamble. Her boxing skills and dynamic personality were the subject of the award-winning documentary, T-Rex, in which she grapples with the challenges of being a female boxer, as well as her difficult upbringing. Now that she's turned pro, the sky's the limit for Shields, who many believe has the potential to be the best female boxer in history—she hasn't lost a match since 2012.