On Saturday night, the number one women’s pound-for-pound fighter received a big homecoming as the main event at the Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit, MI. The undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields (14-0, 2 KOs) successfully defended her titles with a shutout decision victory over Maricela Cornejo (16-6, 6 KOs). Shields’ impressive performance was in front of a big crowd of 11,784 fans in attendance which also hosted boxing legends from Detroit and the national anthem being sung by the legendary Four Tops.
There was no question this was a huge event, and during her ringwalk, Shields looked to entertain right away by bringing out rap artist and actress Kash Doll who is from Detroit and is widely known within the hip-hop culture. That got a pop from the crowd, and everyone in attendance looked forward to the fight. Right from the start, Cornejo looked like a fighter that didn’t belong in that ring, as she seemed overwhelmed by the moment and what Shields was showing her. Cornejo tried to have some movement, but Shields was landing that overhand right clean and hard.
This would be the story of the night, and in round seven, Shields landed a looping right hand that saw Cornejo’s neck snap so far back that we all thought the fight would be over soon after, but Shields couldn’t close the show. Then in the eighth, Shields took the round off and didn’t capitalize on the momentum as she seemed winded from the previous round. In the ninth round, Shields started to land some left hooks to the body, which affected Cornejo, but soon after, the tenth came and went, leading to the fight going to the scorecards. Shields dominated every minute of the fight, and although she didn’t deliver the knockout in front of her home crowd, she did provide enough action to keep everyone entertained.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR CLARESSA SHIELDS?
There aren’t many money fights for Shields out there other than the winner between undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2 KOs) and Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10 KOS), who faceoff on July 1st. That fight would be at super middleweight, so Shields would have to move up once again to try and become a four-time undisputed champion which would be quite the feat. If Shields doesn’t get that fight and is looking for one in between, there is always revisiting Hanna Gabriels (21-2-1, 12 KOs) or facing the undefeated Raquel Miller (13-0, 6 KOs), who she has gone back and forth on social media with in the past. Shields is levels above the fighters in and around her weight class which isn’t her fault. She will continue to have difficulty finding competitive dancing partners between 154 and 168 unless some of the young fighters in the amateurs start to turn pro and challenge her within the next few years. Until then, Shields has options, but whatever she does, a return to the Little Ceasars Arena is certainly not out of the question, especially with the big crowd that came to see her last night.