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Shields said she has long dreamed of becoming a two-sport champion and envied how MMA has marketed female fighters. She loves that MMA often puts women on cards with men and tells more nuanced stories about her fighters – she has an idea for a story about fighters who are awesome babysitters and bosses – which makes them look good. more attractive to fans.

Holly Holm, the former UFC champion who made the transition from boxing to MMA, thanks UFC President Dana White for making the sport much more hospitable to women than boxing. White quickly realized how many fans women can bring to the sport after signing Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s first female fighter, in 2012, and she has become one of the sport’s biggest stars. Before taking his chances on Rousey, White said women will never fight in the UFC

“Boxing needs someone like him willing to put his neck out there for women and give them the exposure they need,” said Holm. “Look at Christy Martin, she was on Mike Tyson’s underscore and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Laila Ali was the daughter of Muhammad Ali. Talented women deserve to be seen. They need someone to consciously push for this to happen.

And once women are seen in boxing, Holm said, fans will come back for more and the sport will develop, which is Shields’ plan for this Friday’s event. She hopes a large audience will prove her global reach. No matter how many people were listening, whether it was 20,000 or 120,000, she said she would take it and then build on it.

Her dream is for an all-female sports network to show female boxing all the time so fans, including her nieces and nephews, know where to tune in to see a great women’s fight. At the very least, the channel would give her another activity to count on for babysitting nights, she laughs.

“I’m not pushing for equality just for myself because, you know, I’ve had a pretty good career so far,” she said. “I do it for all the young people after me. I want people to think of me someday and say, “Claressa Shields was so much taller than just boxing. She helped change the world. ”

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