Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Claressa Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) has a lot of respect for UFC champion Cris Cyborg.
The two of them have sparred together in the past - and now Cyborg, who is fresh off her unanimous decision win over boxer turned MMA fighter Holly Holm, is looking to make her pro debut in a boxing ring.
"I think that Cris Cyborg is a really good fighter. I like her MMA career but I’m excited for her to transfer over to boxing because she has really good stand up. She needs to learn a few more things but as far as how strong she is and how fast she punches, she’s a hard worker and I’m really excited for her to come over to boxing," Shields told On The Ropes Boxing Radio.
Cyborg has traded words in the past with unified welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, who sat ringside last month in Las Vegas to watch Cyborg secure a win over Holm.
Shields believes Cyborg, with the right training and the right coach, could absolutely become a real contender at welterweight and junior middleweight - and win a world title at either weight.
"Definitely, with the right trainer and the right work ethic. Just being able to learn and listen, she’s going to be a problem to be reckoned with, especially at 147 pounds and probably at 154 pounds," Shields said.
"We actually sparred four rounds. You guys got highlights of it but I have the full footage and she has the full footage of our four rounds. I think we are just going to use that to our advantages, that’s why we didn’t put it out there. With the highlight video, we just showed you the jist of it. I think if anyone wants to see the full sparring, they need to pay us some money."
Shields, in four fights, already holds the WBC and IBF world titles at super middleweight. She will make the first defense of those titles next Saturday night in a Showtime televised fight against Tori Nelson at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.