Champion Claressa Shields has changed the face of women’s boxing
Boxer Claressa Shields has a seemingly endless list of accomplishments during her amateur and professional career. The Michigan native won the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London at the age of only 17, and repeated the feat at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, competing in the middleweight division.
As a professional, it’s easy to see why her nickname is the GWOAT (greatest woman of all time). Not only is she 14-0, but she is the only boxer, male or female, to be undisputed champion simultaneously in two weight divisions. Shields is also a pioneer in the sport for women, as she headlined the first women’s boxing main event on premium television when she defeated Szilvia Szabados in her second professional fight.
The Amsterdam News spoke exclusively with Dmitriy Salita, president of Salita Promotions, who has been the promoter of Shields since 2017, about what he saw in the young fighter that made him want to work with her, and the progression of her history-making career.
“I read that article and I read her story and I read about her incredible amateur boxing accomplishments and I said to myself, there’s no better fighter coming out of the 2016 Olympics than Claressa Shields,” he recalled. “Because [it] could be that there are great American fighters, but someone like Clarissa is historic.”
Salita also saw something in this country happening in 2016 that made him believe that signing Shields would be fruitful.
“2016 was the year that Hillary Clinton was running for president and the women’s empowerment movement was coming alive in a real significant way,” he said.
Salita also aimed to share the uniqueness of Shields earlier in her career.
“It’s all interconnected because boxing is about promoting and boxing is about storytelling,” he said. “HBO and Showtime are great networks, great networks that tell stories. And one of the things that I wanted to do was tell her story, tell her life story to make her appeal to boxing fans and more important then non boxing fans because true superstars in the sport can cross over.”
Shields is the recipient of a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award and won a 2023 ESPY Award earlier this year for best boxer.
It’s easy to imagine how many young girls and boys watching Shields are so inspired by her.
Salita, whose fighters have appeared on ESPN, HBO, Showtime, Sky Sports, and DAZN, relishes his underdog role.
“I really had to build everything from scratch,” he said. “I’m very blessed to have had the eyes to identify top-tier talent very early in their career.”