(NOV 8) Here on WBAN we
brought you news recently that two-time Olympic champion
Claressa Shields, 21, from Flint has turned to the Pro sport and
will make her debut in the paid ranks on November 19th on the
undercard of the Kovalev vs. Ward World title fight at the
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, against Team USA former ‘amateur’
‘friend and foe’ Franchon Crews.
Claressa Shields (left)
Franchon Crews (right)
Photo credit: Facebook
Though the Shields/Crews fight
will not be part of the HBO PPV telecast it will appear on the
‘freeview’ commencing 7pm ET.
"I can't wait to perform for my fans on Nov. 19," told ESPN. "Franchon
Crews has an outstanding amateur background, but I'm a
once-in-a-century fighter and I fear no one. It will be a great
night for women's boxing, a night that I hope will be remembered
as one that changed the course of history."
Katie Taylor/Book cover
We also brought you news that
Ireland’s five-times AIBA World lightweight champion and London
2012 Gold medallist, Katie Taylor has turned pro also, whilst
according to WBAN sources, GB’s Nicola Adams who like Shields
struck Gold in London and in Rio, is also likely to joint up
with the Matchroom team headed by Eddie Hearn. Indeed Hearn has
had numerous discussions over the past few months with the Leeds
woman, whilst it was Taylor who approached him.
We’ve been hearing from both Brian Peters (Katie’s boxing
manager), promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom and bring you her
own thoughts on her becoming a professional.
Brian Peters told WBAN : “I’m delighted to have the opportunity
to work with Katie again. She’s is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s
greatest ever athletes, a national treasure and a true pioneer
for women’s sport. She was hugely instrumental in getting
women’s boxing into the Olympics and now she wants to make a
similar impact on the professional side of the sport.”
“It’s going to be a very exciting time now not just for women’s
boxing but the sport as a whole with a whole new audience tuning
in to see these incredible athletes get the platform they
deserve. I think what Ronda Rousey has achieved in the UFC in
terms of becoming such a big star has opened broadcasters eyes
to the potential of women’s professional boxing.
Katie has already proved to be a trailblazer in what she
achieved in amateur boxing and the obstacles she overcame. I
don’t think there is any doubt that her talent and achievements
were absolutely crucial to women’s boxing finally being included
in the Olympics and now in a sense she almost has to do that all
over again for the professional side of the sport.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with some great athletes
over the years across different sports but I can hand on heart
say that I don’t think I have met anyone as driven as Katie in
terms of what she wants to achieve. She is such a quiet,
unassuming person but what she achieved in the amateurs was
unprecedented in terms of the consistency she showed over a 10
year period. She has set her sights on replicating that success
in the pro ranks and when you see the commitment and drive she
has I fully expect her to do just that”.
Bearing in mind that former Olympic ‘friend and foe’ Sofya
Ochigava turned Pro earlier in the year in Russia, is there any
possibility that the two will meet again in the near future? Or
perhaps Holly Holm or Argentina’s Erica Annabelle Farias, whom
Katie defeated in the 2006 AIBA World final in New Delhi?
“I’m sure in time some of those old amateur rivalries will be
renewed but as an amateur Katie always just focused on what was
immediately in front of her in terms of the next scheduled fight
and that won’t change in the pros. Right now her pro debut is
all that’s on her mind and we’ll evaluate fight by fight after
that to see what makes sense.
I did have some good discussions with Holly Holm’s manager after
the 2012 Olympics and while ultimately it wasn’t an option at
the time and a variety of reasons you never know in the future
and certainly the plan is for Katie to fight in the US next year
and to showcase her talent to boxing fans over there.”
Hopefully there may even be a World title bout in Dublin, if all
goes according to the plans of Peters and Hearn.
Taylor’s astonishing success in the amateurs sees her widely
regarded as the outstanding Irish athlete of her generation with
her 15 year career garnering five World titles, six European
titles and Olympic gold at the London 2012 games where she was
her nation’s flagbearer.
Only this week Taylor, was voted Ireland’s most admired
competitive athlete (of any sport) sharing first place with
retired Rugby icon, Brian O’Driscoll and way ahead of MMA’s
Conor McGregor and another Irish World star, Golfer Rory McIlroy.
The annual Poll was conducted by onside.ie in conjunction with
the Sunday World newspaper. Equally interesting is the fact that
although she did not add to her already record 19 Gold medals in
International competition, Taylor has retained all of her
sponsors for the immediate future with others now likely to come
on board as she has turned Pro.
The 30 year old from Bray now turns her attentions to conquering
the paid ranks and her path to World titles begins in London on
November 26 before a second pro outing before the end of the
year at the Manchester Arena on December 10 on the undercard of
the IBF World Heavyweight title defence of fellow gold medal
star Anthony Joshua MBE.
“When I first dreamt of Olympic gold, female boxing was
practically unknown,” said Taylor. “Now because of my journey
and the incredible supporters who came along with me, female
boxing is as much part of the fabric of the Olympics as its male
counterpart. Now I want to do the same for the professional
sport and I hope those who have supported me along the way will
come along with me. I’m excited for the road ahead.”
“Today marks a significant day for our sport with the news that
Katie is joining the professional ranks,” said promoter Eddie
Hearn. “She is one of the most decorated amateur boxers of all
time and a public icon in Ireland. I met Katie for the first
time last week and was fascinated by her desire to not just win
World titles but to break down the barriers of women’s boxing,
she is an incredible role model.
“Boxing is a sport open to all but it’s also an entertainment
business. Anyone who has watched Katie fight knows how exciting
she is and anyone who hasn’t is really going to enjoy her
journey on Sky Sports. I’m really excited by this challenge and
we are committed to giving Katie the opportunities she needs to
achieve her dreams.”
Sky Sports Head of Boxing Adam Smith said: “Katie is an
outstanding boxer and this is great news for her and all the
fans who have followed her incredible career. She has shown what
an inspiration she is to young people through her role as a Sky
Sports Living For Sport ambassador, and we’re very excited for
her first professional fight live on Sky Sports in November.”
Taylor’s debut comes on a huge night of action in London as
Tommy Coyle and John Wayne Hibbert clash in a must-win
Super-Lightweight battle. The all-action pair know that victory
is paramount if they are to continue to hunt major titles, with
Hull star Coyle looking to get back into contention for the
British title after being edged out by Tyrone Nurse and former
Commonwealth champion and Essex favourite Hibbert keen to
reignite his career after a disappointing outing in the summer.
Hibbert’s last fight was at The O2 for the WBC Silver title
against Andrea Scarpa in June, and unbeaten Hackney talent Ohara
Davies can rip that title from the Italian as the 24 year old
faces a huge step up in his 14th pro outing. Davies’ Tony Sims
gym-mate Martin J. Ward defends his British Super-Featherweight
title for the first time after his impressive eighth round
stoppage win over Andy Townend at The O2 in September.
Tickets are now on sale for Wembley, with tickets priced £40,
£60 and £100 available from www.ssearena.co.uk or by calling
0844 815 0815. £150 VIP tickets are available exclusively via
To end on a disappointing note, it is sad to see that as at the
time of writing, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has
not taken the opportunity of wishing Shields or Taylor well in
their future careers despite their having been AIBA Ambassadors
for some years . Indeed the huge popularity of Taylor has been
the reason why literally thousands of young girls in Ireland
(North and South) have joined boxing clubs rather than turn to
other sports in Ireland.
Hopefully AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu will ‘break his
silence’ and congratulate Shields, Crews and Taylor in their new
career. Anything less than a “Good Luck and Thank You” message
would be ungracious and do little to encourage future young
stars to put their body on the line for the AIBA .Fair dues
though to the IABA who did wish Taylor well in the Pro sport and
thanked her for all her efforts over the past 15 years, indeed
since she and Alanna Audley then 15 and 16 respectfully fought
in the first ever legally sanctioned bout in Ireland on 31
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