SAN DIEGO, March 10, 2017 – Mark your calendar, because March 10 is a day boxing fans will want to remember.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan (2-0, 1 KO) scored a fourth round TKO of tougher than nails opponent Szilvia Szabados (15-9, 6 KOs) of Hungary in a thrilling main event at the new MGM Grand Detroit. It is the first women’s boxing match to headline on premium television, airing on Showtime’s series “ShoBox: The Next Generation” series.
Shields entered the ring to the roar of her hometown fans, and she said later she recognized many faces in the audience. The adrenaline rush caused the 21-year-old to come out swinging wildly, hoping to make a statement while making history. Shields settled down by the second round, mixing in more body work while still trying to score the knockout.
It takes two to make a great action fight, and Szabados stood right in front of Shields. It became obvious quickly she was overmatched, but she showed not a shred of fear and kept doing her best to crowd Shields and find a way to land something.
Szabados possesses one of the toughest chins in boxing, gender aside. Shields landed power shots from right and left, and Szabados took every one of them. By the fourth round, referee Harvey Dock watched Szabados eat an especially vicious left hook, and with his eyes right on the Hungarian, he decided she was taking too much punishment and stopped the bout at 1:30 of the fourth round. It was the right decision. Despite never leaving her feet, Szabados had taken enough punishment for one night.
After the bout, Shields told Showtime’s Steve Farhood she gave the fans what they wanted. “Like I told you earlier I wanted to show you I had power,” said Shields. She said she wasn’t surprised by her opponent’s toughness. “I knew she was tough coming in, I’d watched some footage of her. That’s why I started going to the body. A knockout’s a knockout, so I’ll take it.”
Shields said there is one thing she’s still getting used to about professional boxing versus the amateurs. “Just the no headgear. She headbutted me a lot and the ref didn’t call her for it.”
The punch stat numbers paint the picture. Shields landed 88 power punches of 180 thrown (49 percent), and a total of 95 punches out of 265 in under four rounds. Bear in mind women fight two-minute rounds. In contract, Szabados only landed 11 total punches of 137 thrown.
Shields now has a minor title, the NABF women’s middleweight belt. Because the talent pool for women middleweights is shallow, expect Shields to get the chance for a championship bout by the end of the year.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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