By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Franchon Crews came to check Claressa Shields’ chin as soon as the bell rang for their four-round fight Saturday night.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist took every power punch Crews threw, remained poised and dominated her opponent in the first professional fight of Shields’ career. Baltimore’s Crews, who also made her pro debut, appeared to tire after her initial onslaught and the skilled Shields defeated her, 40-36, on all three scorecards in what amounted to an entertaining fight.
“It feels so good to have just made my pro debut,” Shields said. “This is what I’ve been training for. I’m faster and I hit harder. And I’m the better fighter. But Crews brought 100 percent and I respect her for that. I hope to fight next in January or February.”
Shields’ impressive pro debut wasn’t part of the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward pay-per-view undercard. The acclaimed amateur’s pro debut was, however, available via HBO Sports’ YouTube feed before the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast started.
The 21-year-old Shields, of Flint, Michigan, won her second gold medal for the United States three months ago in Rio de Janeiro. She is promoted by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, which signed Shields recently.
“It’s not what I wanted,” Crews said, “but to be called on, last minute, for a fight of this magnitude … I am proud of myself. We will fight again in the future.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.