LOS ANGELES—WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder sees greatness in Claressa Shields. The Alabaman boxer went out of his way to heap praise on arguably the best female boxer in the world, while also championing women's boxing.
“Claressa Shields is amazing. I think she’s definitely leading the way for women’s boxing. I’m happy to see that, because women deserve the same respect as men,” said Wilder.
“I look at her as a female version of me. You go in, speak it, talk some s---, and do what you got to do, to give the fans what they want to see, and she’s leading the way for women's boxing. I hope they pay raise get’s well, too. People, go out and support the women, man. There is nothing sexier than a woman who can defend herself and knock your a-- out.”
Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) is a two-time US Olympic gold medalist and three-division champion. In January, she defeated Ivana Habazin in a landslide decision, further getting the attention of his male peer.
“A woman is very strong, and when they understand their worth, they become even stronger. When it comes to boxing, I know a lot of people have opinions of females being in there, and risking so many things, but that’s their life. Who are you? Just stay entertained and continue. watching,” said Wilder.
“Women are some of the strongest people on earth. If you can go through a cycle of seven days of bleeding and still survive, s---, [men] ain’t going to do that. C’mon bro. If our stomach hurts, we’re a baby.”
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) is in the midst of preparing to fight Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) on Feb. 22 in a highly anticipated heavyweight showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of a Fox and ESPN pay-per-view promotion.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].