Undisputed female world middleweight champion Claressa Shields has claimed she is the greatest female boxer ever and has compared herself to Muhammad Ali.
Shields currently holds world titles at both middleweight and light middleweight at the age of 25, having won her first 10 professional fights.
The American boxer won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, beating Russian boxer Nadezhda Torlopova for the middleweight medal at the age of 17.
Shields was speaking to Sky Sports about her next bout against Marie-Eve Dicaire and likened her greatness to former heavyweight world champion Ali.
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“If I didn’t say how great I am, no one in this room would have ever called me great because they don’t recognise it. Only the greats know that they’re great,” Shields explained.
“If he had never said he was the greatest of all time, he would have never been considered the greatest. No matter what boxer comes along, nobody can get in front of Muhammad Ali. That’s how I feel about myself.
“Muhammad Ali is first, and Claressa Shields is second. I am the greatest woman [boxer] of all time, and 98 per cent of men in the world can’t beat me.
“I want you to know I’m not taking prisoners. This is a new era for me. My name from now on is Claressa ‘The Wolf’ Shields.
“‘T-Rex’ [her previous nickname] has long gone. ‘T-Rex’ was aggressive, but the greatest of all time has so much more. She possesses poise, power, and punch placement.”
‘I’m hoping she can take me to level 10’
Shields is aiming to become an undisputed champion at two weights when she takes on IBF female middleweight champion Dicaire on Friday night.
The Michigan boxer explained that she wanted DiCaire to push her to her limits, as she hasn’t been truly challenged in her professional career to date.
“In an interview, I saw [Dicaire] is not worried about the outcome; she’s worried about the task. Well, I’m worried about the outcome. I’ve known what the task is for the last 13 months,” Shields said.
“I’m concerned about the outcome because I don’t particularly appreciate losing. When I lost my first fight when I was 17, I didn’t sleep until I was 21 when I won my second Olympics. That’s how personally I take this fight.
“I’m hoping she can bring out a different side of me because many girls haven’t been able to take me to level three. I’m hoping she can take me to level 10.”