by Tamas Pradarics
Szilvia Szabados arrived to Detroit at 11:30 p.m. on Monday night after 19 hours of travel from his native Hungary. She did the long journey for a simple reason. She is willing to take on the biggest challenge in her fighting career when she faces homecoming hero and two-time Olympic champion Claressa Shields (1-0) on Friday evening at the MGM Grand in Detroit in a fight televised live by SHOWTIME.
Travel is nothing new for the twenty-six-year-old who is living and training in Miskolc, a city in the eastern part of Hungary.
Szabados (15-8, 6 KO) has fought in seven different countries and three different continents, taking on every single opportunity to learn her craft in her three years since she entered to the pro ranks in 2014 following a brief amateur career as a teenager.
“I started boxing because I love competition. I dare to take challenges on my way to pursue my dreams in the sport that I love,” said Szabados to BoxingScene.com in a private interview on Wednesday afternoon.
Her actions in the squared circle proves just that as in her second pro year she already challenged undefeated WBC super middleweight world champion Nikki Adler in her opponent’s backyard in Germany.
After Szilvia suffered a bad cut over her right eye in round two, she kept fighting virtually half blind as the stream of blood bothered her eyesight. Still he managed to go the distance with the reigning titleholder, which further proved her mental toughness.
She has fought in the US twice already, suffering back to back decision losses to Alicia Napoleon and Aleksandra Lopes after competitive and crowd-pleasing affairs.
Szilvia last fought in January of this year, winning by fifth round TKO over an overmatched opponent in a tune up bout in Budapest. She was getting ready to have another meaningful bout when in early February she got a phone call from her manager, Zoltan Petranyi, about the possibility of facing Shields. She took the fight without a moment’s hesitation.
“When I heard I was going to fight Claressa, I looked after her career and I realized she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Given her age she must be the youngest boxer ever with two gold medals already around her neck,” said Szabados.
“Despite her achievements I am not worried at all about the fight. She has definitely had a successful amateur career but I have far more professional experience. We are also fighting at 160 pounds so I do not have to struggle to make weight at all.”
The bout serves as the main event on a fistic card at MGM Grand Detroit Event Center and will be televised as part of the popular “ShoBox: The Next Generation” series. It is the first time that a womens boxing match headlines a broadcast on premium television in the United States.
The Hungarian boxer, who has studied Commerce and Marketing at Miskolc University and who has a daily job as a stock manager in her hometown likes the fact that she's involved in this significant event, yet she feels better to concentrate on the task at hand.
“To be a part of this historic matchup obviously feels great. Fighting on Showtime is an honor for me but I have far more important things to focus on come fight night,” Szabados said. “Concentrating on the magnitude of this bout would be a foolish thing because that would definitely bring some unnecessary pressure to the table. The only thing that is really on my mind is the fight itself.”
The Hungarian fighter has enjoyed her stay at the MGM Grand in Detroit, and further explained that boxing in this arena means a lot to her.
“Fighting at the MGM Grand has been my dream for a long time. And now it happens. Dreams are there to gets fullfilled.”
The next dream can be fullfilled inside the squared circle and a determined Szabados is looking forward to manifest just that.
“I am very happy for this opportunity. I’m in great shape, surrounded with a really good team. I feel ready. My goal is to get my hand raised come Friday night.”