Claressa Shields secured her boxing legacy years ago. 

The double Olympic gold medallist and current undisputed middleweight champion has already beaten every viable contender at 160lbs and 168lbs and rather than lapping the field, the 29-year-old has started to search for the type of challenges which will put her in rarefied air.

Shields,14-0 (2 KOs), is currently building herself up for her fight with WBC heavyweight champion, Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse, which takes place in Detroit on July 27th. The WBO light heavyweight title will also be on the line in the 175lb fight. 

Already widely regarded as ‘The GWOAT’, Shields is also a professional MMA fighter but could she follow in the footsteps of other GOATs and extend her quest for sporting greatness into other disciplines?

In 1994, Michael Jordan retired from basketball and spent a season playing Minor League Baseball. ‘Neon’ Deion Sanders is arguably the greatest cornerback in NFL history and once played for the Atlanta Falcons at lunchtime before jumping on a plane and suiting up for the Atlanta Braves’ MLB baseball team in the evening.

In Britain, Ian Botham is one of England’s best ever cricket players but he also played professional football for Scunthorpe United.

Does three-weight world champion, Shields, have any other athletic talents?

“I can run. I’ve got some pretty good legs on me,” she told BoxingScene. “I have really good defence in basketball and I’ve got a pretty good jumper on me. That’s about it.”

Would Shields like a shot at guarding WNBA phenom, Caitlin Clark? After all, boxing great, Roy Jones Jr., famously played in a U.S Basketball League game on the afternoon of his world title defence against Eric Lucas.

“The way that girl is shooting I may have to give her a little foul or something,” Shields said with a smile. “Caitlin is doing her thing. Shoutout to her and Angel Reese. They’ve brought so much attention to the WNBA. I’ve been paying attention since their little feud started.”

Clark has been fouled enough recently. 

She and Reese were the stars of a loaded WNBA draft.

In April, Clark was selected first overall by the Indiana Fever. Her presence in their line-up has resulted in a huge spike in attendances and generated a massive amount of interest in the women’s game.

It hasn’t been plain sailing for Clark who has been given a rough ride by opposing teams. Things came to a crescendo last weekend when Clark was blindsided by the Chicago Sky’s Chennady Carter. Her rival, Reece, appeared to applaud from the opposition sideline. 

Clark’s treatment – and the reasons behind it – became a major talking point on America’s biggest sports shows with some pundits saying she is simply being given the type of tough welcome to the big league that any talented rookie should expect, whilst others claim she is being unfairly targeted.

Shields has been paying close attention to the debate and has an offer for the 22-year-old.

“I want Caitlin to come sign up for boxing training with me. Not to teach her how to fight but to give her confidence and not let anybody push her over,” Shields said. 

“Yeah, you wanna keep your composure and stay calm but you also have to have something in you and about yourself that lets people know, ‘You can’t just do that to me.’”

“I think that when you have the confidence of knowing you can protect yourself, you don’t have to be fearful or scared of anybody. Caitlin is a great WNBA player but she’s a rookie and, to me, she’s being bullied on national TV.

“She needs some heart and she needs some confidence on and off the court. If she wants to come and train with me and hear my life story, I’ll give her a little bit of training and show her how to throw a good one-two. Maybe she can get some respect and stop these girls from fouling her because they’ll see that when they foul her, she’ll foul them back.”

Read the full article here