Claressa Shields will need to dust off her passport for the next phase of her career.
The two-time Olympian and three-division world champion from Flint, Michigan has agreed to a multi-fight deal with UK broadcasting giant Sky Sports. Per the arrangement, Shields will appear on cards promoted by Boxxer, a British promotional company that has an output deal with Sky Sports.
Sky announced the deal Wednesday as part of its fall lineup of fights, which includes the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title bout on Sept. 25 and the Dec. 18 junior lightweight title bout between the division’s unified champion Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall.
Shields, whose American promoter is Dmitry Salita, joins a Boxxer stable that includes middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr., Hughie Fury, and perhaps most importantly for Shields, Savannah Marshall (10-0, 8 KOs), the 30-year-old middleweight from Hartlepool who has the distinction of having defeated Shields in the amateurs. It is the only time that Shields has ever tasted defeat. That matchup, the crux of the deal, is expected to land sometime next year.
The announcement is the latest career shuffle from the self-proclaimed “GWOAT” (Greatest Woman of All Time). Unhappy with her pay and lack of recognition in boxing, Shields recently decided to pivot to MMA.
“I want to be a household name,” Shields, 26, told MMAFighting in June. “I want to be a millionaire. I want to get my just due and I was never able to get my just due in boxing so I’m going to use my athleticism to see what I can do in MMA.”
Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) made her MMA debut in August, a thrilling, come-from-behind third-round TKO of Brittney Elkin on a PFL card. She is expected to return to the cage on Oct. 27 against Abigail Montes. Shields intends to alternate between MMA and boxing for the foreseeable future. According to her promoter Salita, Shields will appear in a boxing match on a Sky Sports telecast before the end of the year.
“We want to make a UK debut before the Savannah fight and we're on the road to make that happen before the end of the year,” Salita told Sky Sports. “After that, our plan is for the next fight to be against Savannah. That's the plan and that's what we want.
“Claressa, being the champion that she is, she has no problem going to the UK to Savannah's hometown. She will take care of business and come home with the four belts.”
Salita also added that he hopes Savannah will be present ringside for Shield’s MMA fight in October to promote their fight.