Boxing, Inside Scope, Women

Lead up to Claressa Shields vs. Maricela Cornejo

The Queen, the self-proclaimed “GWOAT” returns home this weekend.

Shields (13-0, 2 KO’s) will attempt her fifth overall defense of at least two middleweight titles and her first as undisputed champion in the division, as she takes on Los Angeles native Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KO’s), Saturday from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

Originally, Shields was set to rematch Gabriels, when the Costa Rican contender tested positive for a steroid, clostebol.

The substance is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list under anabolic agents, and it’s the same substance MLB star, San Diego Padres infielder Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games for last year.

Gabriels said she absorbed the substance inadvertently, claiming it was an ingredient in an ointment she rubbed on her dog to help heal from surgery.

Footage courtesy of FightHype.

The bout against Cornejo, comes eight months after Shields outpointed Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10 KO’s) in a great fight to regain her old WBO middleweight title.

Fortunately for Cornejo, she was already training for a previously scheduled bout on June 6, when she received the call to replace Gabriels and challenge Shields for the fully unified middleweight championship.

“When I got the call, I was just about ending camp for a fight on June 6. It was perfect timing. Everything lined up so well that I couldn’t say no,” said Cornejo.

“This was the first camp I ever had a strength and conditioning coach. Coach Larry Wade put me in the best possible shape so that I could take advantage of this opportunity.”

Also read: Unfinished Business: Claressa Shields renews her rivalry with Savannah Marshall – HERstory – The Scope Network

The Mexican-American is ready for the challenge and believes her power will play a factor.

Footage courtesy of FightHype.

The 36-year-old middleweight was 155 pounds during Friday’s weigh-in, five pounds lighter than her weight for each of her past three starts.

Originally, she was slated to compete in the junior middleweight division, which may explain her lower weight. The question is how the weight will affect her performance; will she be faster, will she maintain her punching power, can she showcase the benefits of her newly acquired form and secure victory against Shields?

The three-division, reigning undisputed middleweight champion and pound-for-pound queen Claressa Shields, weighed in at 159.6 pounds.

Footage courtesy of FightHype.

For Shields, this is a fight where she can show out for all of her hometown, homegrown fans. Her first fans.

“I’m super excited to fight in front of thousands at Little Caesars Arena,” said Shields.

“I’ve had to keep my head down and train. I might put the makeup and hair and nice clothes on, but I’m not doing anything but focusing on the fight. This is a big moment for Detroit and myself, but the most important thing right now is just winning this fight.”

“No matter who is fighting me on Saturday, they’re getting their ass kicked. The same thing that was gonna happen to my previous opponent, is what’s gonna happen to Cornejo.”

Two top athletes, featuring arguably the best fighter in all of boxing, a homecoming, a geographic clash, a cultural clash, various elements can be added and analyzed as this match-up comes to collision Saturday night.

This isn’t classic Detroit vs. Los Angeles and the Pistons and Lakers of the NBA 80s, as Shields and Cornejo share a friendship outside of boxing and Shields is actually from Flint, but this should be a good fight nonetheless.

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