Claressa Shields and Marie-Ève Dicaire to face each other for light-middleweight unification in an all-female event.
Alex Livesey Getty
Boxing sensation and “Greatest Women of All Time” Claressa Shields is scheduled to once again return to the squared circle to face undefeated Canadian IBF light middleweight champion Marie-Ève Dicaire. Shields is back in the ring for the first time since her victory over Ivana Habazin in Atlantic City early last year.
The two women are scheduled to be the main event for an all-female event at the Dort Financial Center in Shields’ home town of Flint, Michigan. The event is scheduled to broadcast on FITE TV on Mar 5. This fight will be the first time that a women’s fight will headline a PPV since Layla Ali and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde in 2001.
The unification bout has been in the works for over a year, with the original date of May 2020 having been delayed multiple times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite many setbacks and countless delays, the fight is finally set to take place, and it will kickstart a packed year for Shields, who has been unable to compete for nearly as much as she wished in 2020.
“Some of us are putting in overtime, and we’ve been underpaid for a very long time,” Shields said. “This is a start to something new, and this is going to show them that, ‘Hey, you guys may not give us opportunities, but opportunities are out there, and we’ll create our own opportunities.’
2021 is Shields’ big year, beginning with the unification bout, which if she wins, she will be the first person to have unified two different divisions since the sport transitioned to the four-belt system in 2004. Shields is slated to start her MMA debut later this year with the PFL (Professional Fighters League).
Like Shields, Dicaire has been unable to fight since her victory over Ogleidis Suarez in late 2019. The Canadian has held the IBF belt since Dec. 2018, when she defeated Chris Namús. Dicaire, apart from boxing, is a skilled practitioner of Kenpo Karate holding a 5th dan black belt in the sport.
Dicaire definitely seems to have her work cut out for her, with Shields being her most fearsome opponent to date, which according to Dicaire, has impacted her preparations for the upcoming fight.
“In terms of preparation, what we did for this fight is very different from what we did in the past,” Dicaire told BoxingScene.com. “Of course, the speed was increased a lot. In the past, we took it for granted that I was already faster than all my opponents. We didn’t necessarily need to work (on speed in those situations). In this case, we know that Claressa Shields is very fast. She has very fast hands.”