Claressa Shields is already the undisputed women’s middleweight world champion and will attempt to simultaneously hold the undisputed junior middleweight championship in her next fight.
Shields, who owns two of the four junior middleweight titles, will face world titlist Marie-Eve Dicaire — with the vacant fourth belt also on the line — on May 9 (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Shields’ hometown of Flint, Michigan, Salita Promotions and Showtime announced Wednesday.
If 24-year-old Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) — a two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist who previously unified two belts at super middleweight — wins, she would be the first female boxer to be an undisputed champion in two divisions.
“I can’t wait to make history again on May 9,” Shields said. “Fighting in Flint in front of all my fans has been a dream of mine since turning pro. Having the opportunity to make history by fighting for the undisputed title in a second weight division is something I’m very proud of.
“Fighting against undefeated IBF 154-pound champion Marie-Eve Dicaire continues my quest to fight the very best in women’s boxing. And headlining on Showtime again will continue my goal to lift women’s boxing to new heights. I’m going to give Flint and fight fans all over the world a night to remember on May 9.”
In the four-belt era, only seven fighters have been undisputed champions in one division: Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor at middleweight, junior welterweight Terence Crawford and cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk on the men’s side, and Shields, lightweight Katie Taylor and welterweight Cecilia Braekhus on the women’s side.
In Shields’ last fight, on Jan. 10 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she dropped down from middleweight, knocked down Ivana Habazin and cruised to a near-shutout decision to win a pair of vacant 154-pound belts. With the victory, Shields set a record by needing the fewest fights — 10 — in boxing history, male or female, to win world titles in three weight classes. She surpassed the mark of 12 set by Vasiliy Lomachenko and matched by Kosei Tanaka.
“Claressa Shields continues to be a beacon of light and a trailblazer for women’s boxing, women’s sports and boxing overall,” said Mark Taffet, Shields’ manager. “Being the only American to win back-to-back Olympic gold in boxing, having won world titles in three weight divisions faster than any man or woman in boxing history, and now having the chance to be the first person — man or woman — to be an undisputed champion in two weight divisions in the four-belt era, Claressa will continue to add to her list of legendary, unprecedented and history-making accomplishments come May 9. I’m proud to be a part of her journey.”
Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs), 33, a southpaw from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, will be making a fourth defense of the world title she won by decision against Chris Namus, of Uruguay, in December 2018.
“I am very excited for this opportunity and it is an honor to face an opponent like Claressa Shields,” Dicaire said. “I am thankful to my promoter, Yvon Michel, and everyone involved in making this possible. For me, this is a dream come true. I will be prepared the best I can be, and I am ready to leave everything in the ring to win the fight!”
Added Yvon Michel, Dicaire’s promoter: “Marie-Eve Dicaire against Claressa Shields, a battle of two undefeated champions for all the titles — you can’t get a better match in boxing. We have great respect and admiration for all Shields has accomplished, but there is no doubt Marie-Eve is the most skilled, strong and dedicated opponent Claressa has faced. We are very confident that all the belts will come back to Canada with us.”
The fight will be Shields’ first in Flint as a pro. She was supposed to fight Habazin at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center on Oct. 5, but at the weigh-in the day before the bout, Habazin’s trainer, 68-year-old James Ali Bashir, was attacked and seriously injured. He was hospitalized with head and facial injuries, and the fight was called off and later was rescheduled for Jan. 10.
Shields’ brother, Artis Mack, 28, was later arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to one year in Michigan’s Genesee County jail earlier this week.