Claressa Shields to make MMA debut with PFL on June 10

Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields has a date and an opponent for her blended martial arts debut with the Skilled Fighters League

LOS ANGELES — Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields has a date and an opponent for her blended martial arts debut with the Skilled Fighters League.

Shields will battle Brittney Elkin on June 10, the promotion instructed The Related Press on Wednesday. The bout in Atlantic Metropolis, New Jersey, would be the starting of Shields’ daunting quest so as to add MMA titles to her boxing success, which incorporates skilled world titles in three weight courses.

Shields introduced her choice to take up MMA late final yr, telling the AP she was decided to assert championship belts in each fight sports activities. She has been coaching in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Jackson Wink MMA Academy, the famed health club the place former UFC champions Jon Jones and Holly Holm hone their craft.

“I’m very excited to cement my legacy because the ‘Best Lady of All Time,’” Shields mentioned. “I can not wait to step into the PFL cage for the primary time on June 10 and present the world that I by no means again down from a problem. I’ve proven I’m the most effective boxer on this planet, and ultimately I intend to do the identical factor as a blended martial artist.”

After profitable Olympic gold in London and Rio de Janeiro, Shields is 11-0 as a professional boxer. She would not intend to surrender her boxing profession whereas pursuing MMA glory, and he or she unified the 4 main mild middleweight titles final March with a unanimous choice over Marie-Eve Dicaire.

Elkin is 3-6 in an MMA profession that has included bouts in Bellator and the PFL. She was arm-barred by two-time Olympic judo gold medalist champion Kayla Harrison within the first spherical of Harrison’s MMA debut in 2018.

“I do know she is a superb boxer, however that is MMA,” Elkin mentioned. “I plan to indicate everybody that I’m a well-rounded fighter who can compete wherever the battle takes me.”

The PFL’s 2021 season begins April 23 with the primary of six consecutive occasions on the Ocean On line casino Resort in Atlantic Metropolis. Shields’ debut battle will not be a part of the promotion’s season-long competitors format, which she will not enter till 2022.

Many fighters have tried to maneuver amongst boxing and MMA with various levels of success, lured by the prospects of elevated fame and fortune as rewards for this tough feat of athletic versatility.

Holm was a champion boxer when she made her MMA debut at 29, and he or she knocked out Ronda Rousey lower than 5 years later to grow to be the UFC’s bantamweight champ. James Toney and Ricardo Mayorga are amongst many boxers who made the transfer a lot much less efficiently than Holm.

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Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/hub/Sports activities and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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