Claressa Shields wants to end her knockout drought in historic fashion Friday night.
The three-division champion doesn’t just want her first knockout in 3½ years when she faces undefeated Marie-Eve Dicaire in a 154-pound title unification fight. Shields intends to replicate the most memorable knockout in the history of women’s boxing – Ann Wolfe’s fantastic first-round stoppage of Vonda Ward.
Wolfe’s vicious, overhand right knocked the 6-feet-6, previously undefeated Ward cold in May 2004 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
“I have a goal to start 2021 with a bang,” Shields told BoxingScene.com. “This is my first pay-per-view fight card, and I’m going for the knockout. I’m going to try to knock her out every chance I get. Like, I wanna get the Ann Wolfe knockout that she got over Vonda Ward. And I know that Marie-Eve Dicaire is gonna come out there and give her best. But that’s my goal, and I don’t really care what her goals are for the fight.”
Shields, among many others, never forgot Wolfe’s brutal knockout of Ward, a former University of Tennessee basketball player.
“It’s the biggest knockout in women’s boxing,” Shields said. “I know we’ve got girls like Amanda Serrano, who’s punching, Seneisa Estrada, who’s punching. You know, but this was just a different kind of punch that put Vonda Ward out. That was 175 pounds and nothing but pressure on her face, and she went down like a ton of bricks. I mean, Ann Wolfe was scary.”
The 25-year-old Shields feels she has a similar body type to Wolfe and can generate comparable power now that she has matured physically and as a fighter.
Shields has established herself as women’s boxing’s best fighter, pound-for-pound, but her detractors doubt her power because Shields has knocked out only 20 percent of her pro opponents. Each of the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s past six fights, all championship matches, have gone the 10-round distance.
“I think I possess that same power – I just haven’t come into it yet,” Shields said. “I’m coming into it now. I think this is the time to come into it. Now, I’m starting to settle down as a pro, sit down on my punches, see more, and as you seen in my last fight, I dropped Ivana Habazin with a hard body shot [in January 2020]. I really should’ve went to the body some more, but I just wanted to punish her. But now I’m getting to the point where it’s like I wanna punish them, but also getting the knockout would be better.
“So, I’m starting to settle down and see things more clear. Even though I haven’t been boxing [the past year], I’ve been inside the ring, sparring. And I’ve been able to see things and set up shots, and I’m just ready to use it all inside the ring and get the knockouts. Even though a win is a win, people still respect knockouts.”
Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) and Quebec’s Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs) will headline an all-women’s pay-per-view show Friday night from Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Michigan, Shields’ hometown. They’ll fight for Shields’ WBC and WBO, Dicaire’s IBF and the vacant WBA “super” 154-pound championships in the main event of a card that’ll be available through www.FITE.tv and most major cable and satellite providers for $29.95.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.