Claressa Shields is looking forward to the Amanda Serrano-Katie Taylor fight, just like every other female boxing fan.
The three-division champion is on her own collision course with rival Savannah Marshall, on the assumption that she defeated Ema Kozin in their middleweight title fight on February 5 in Cardiff, Wales. Shields also has April 30, the date Serrano and Taylor will settle at Madison Square Garden, on her calendar.
There was a time when Shields suspected they would never box. Shields assumed their high-profile battle would fall by the wayside, much like the one that got away long before Shields won the first of her two gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“I’m glad the fight was made between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano,” Shields told BoxingScene.com. “You know, both of those girls deserve such a big challenge. This is one of those fights you’ve been looking forward to, more or less like Laila Ali-Ann Wolfe, right? We could never get that fight, but now that Katie is going to go against Amanda Serrano, it’s one of those fights that you just like: ‘Yeah, it’s going to be a very competitive fight and a very hard fight for both ladies . ‘ ”
Brooklyn’s Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs), a seven-weight world champion, and Ireland’s Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs), the undisputed lightweight champion, will face Taylor’s four 135-pound on April 30 in New -titles veg. York.
While Shields suspects that Serrano’s strength will separate them on the way to a victory with a split decision, she thinks Taylor’s toughness will prevent her from being knocked out.
“When I look at both fighters from a technical point of view, I just think Amanda Serrano is going to improve it, just because of her strength,” Shields said. “I believe she will wear it because of her strength. She has a good IQ. She does great bodywork. But I think Katie might cause a lot of problems with her speed in the earlier laps. You know, Katie is very, very fast, very, very agile. You know, she jumps in, she jumps out. I think this will cause Amanda Serrano some trouble in the earlier rounds. I think it’s going to be highly competitive, and that the power play of Amanda Serrano will be [trouble] Taylor. Even though Katie has a great attack, I think she lacks defense. And after many of her fights she has the bumps and she has the bruises and she has the cuts and stuff. So, basically, she’s beaten.
“All of us are hit, of course, but if you are hit by a big punch, you know, sometimes those punches hurt more than they hurt the fight before. That’s why I think Amanda Serrano is going to eradicate it. But Amanda Serrano, she is also beaten a lot. They’re both going to hit each other, but I just feel like Amanda just knows how to sit on her fists and put her fists on, and she’s doing good bodywork. And I have not yet seen how many girls go in there against Katie and can take what Katie gives, but also give it back to her. And I think Amanda Serrano will be able to do that. ”
Shields (11-0, 2 KOs), from Flint, Michigan, and Slovenia’s Kozin (21-0-1, 11 KOs) will fight for the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles. Their 10-laps will be the co-feature ahead of a domestic middleweight match between England’s Chris Eubank Jr. (31-2, 23 KOs) and Wales’ Liam Williams (23-3-1, 18 KOs).
Sky Sports will broadcast these two fights from Motorpoint Arena in the UK and Ireland. FITE.TV will stream those contests elsewhere ($ 29.99 in the United States).
Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.