MMA: Shields to make PFL debut on June 10

Boxing - Women's Middle (75kg) Victory Ceremony
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Boxing - Victory Ceremony - Women's Middle (75kg) Victory Ceremony - Riocentro - Pavilion 6 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. Gold medallist Claressa Shields (USA) of USA poses with her medals from London 2012 (purple) and Rio 2016 as she sings the national anthem. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

April 15, 2021

(Reuters) – Double Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields will make her mixed martial arts debut with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) in June when she faces Brittney Elkin, organisers said on Wednesday.

American Shields, the first undisputed boxing world champion in two different divisions in the four-belt era, signed with PFL in December with the goal of becoming the “greatest two-sport athlete of all time”.

PFL presents MMA in a format where individuals compete in a regular season, playoffs, and championship for a million-dollar prize, although Shields’s debut will not be part of the promotion’s season-long competition.

“I am very excited to cement my legacy as the Greatest Woman of All Time,” the 26-year-old said. “I cannot wait to step into the PFL cage for the first time on June 10 and show the world that I never back down from a challenge.

“I have shown I am the best boxer in the world and eventually I intend to do the same thing as a mixed martial artist.”

Shields, the middleweight gold medallist at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, turned professional after the Rio Games and has a perfect 11-0 record. She unified the four major light middleweight titles with victory over Canada’s Marie-Eve Dicaire in March.

After being cancelled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PFL returns on April 23 in Atlantic City.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)