BOXING

Claressa Shields vs. Maricela Cornejo result: Shields retains undisputed middleweight title with unanimous decision win

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The gap between the self-proclaimed “G.W.O.A.T.” and the field in women’s boxing is a full-blown chasm.

Claressa Shields (14-0) returned home to pitch a shutout against late replacement Maricela Cornejo and successfully defend her undisputed middleweight title at Little Caesars Arena in her hometown, Detroit, on Saturday.

She came home to entertain, and she gave the fans everything they desired, except for a knockout. But that can be easily forgiven as Shields was dominant from start to finish in yet another excellent performance. The 28-year-old still sits atop the list as the best women’s boxer in the world.

“I won every round like I knew I could,” Shields said. “I pressed for the knockout from the beginning, but she was tough.”

Shields, who made her entrance with Detroit rap artist Kash Doll, soaked in every moment of her homecoming and appeared to enjoy herself as she thoroughly dominated Cornejo.

From the outset, it was clear that Shields’ intent was to give the fans an exciting fight that would end with a knockout. She sat down on her punches and loaded up the right hand behind a snapping jab. Realizing that Cornejo wasn’t offering much resistance, Shields put her foot on the gas and throttled her opponent with looping shots.

Claressa Shields

Cornejo (14-6), who stepped in as a late replacement for Hanna Gabriels, was game but overmatched by the two-time Olympic gold medalist. Shields praised her opponent’s right hand but had little trouble doing whatever she wanted in the fight.

Shields had Cornejo in trouble in the fifth and seventh rounds, with the latter courtesy of a blistering straight right hand that left her opponent on unsteady legs. The crowd salivated over the knockout and may have gotten its wish if women’s boxing had three-minute rounds instead of two-minute rounds.

Nevertheless, the “G.W.O.A.T.” emerged victorious and unscathed with scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 100-89. Now, the question will probably shift from “Who’s next?” to “Who’s left?”

With a return to MMA and the PFL looming, Shields says she will keep an eye on the undisputed super middleweight title fight on July 1 between two of her victims, Savannah Marshall and Franchon Crews-Dezurn.

“I’m only interested in the best,” Shields said. “I’ll be looking at that fight. Whoever wins, if they want to come and meet me here at Little Caesars again with all my fans, I’m down for it.”

Until then, Shields will maintain her stranglehold as the best pound-for-pound female boxer in the world and wait to see if a true challenge emerges.

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