Shields, Dicaire rescheduled to fight for undisputed women’s jr. middleweight title

Bout to headline all-female PPV card

Claressa Shields and Marie-Eve Dicaire will at long last meet for the undisputed women’s junior middleweight title 10 months after they were initially set to fight but had the fight delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fight was originally scheduled to take place last May 9 as the main event of a Showtime-televised card at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Michigan, Shields’ hometown.

The fight, announced on Tuesday, will now take place as the headliner of an all-women’s pay-per-view card dubbed “Superwomen” at the same arena in Flint on March 5 (9 p.m. ET, $29.99). Organizers said they picked the date to have it take place on the weekend of International Women’s Day, which is March 8.

Shields’ two 154-pound world titles, Dicaire’s one belt and a vacant title will all be on the line with the winner walking away as the undisputed world champion.

Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Shields (10-0, 2 KOs), 25, a former unified super middleweight titlist and also the former undisputed women’s middleweight world champion, is aiming to become the first female boxer to be an undisputed champion in two weight classes. No fighter, male or female, has been the undisputed champion in two divisions in the four-belt era.

In Shields’ last fight, on Jan. 10 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, she dropped down from middleweight, knocked down Ivana Habazin and cruised to a near-shutout decision to win a pair of vacant 154-pound belts. With the victory, Shields set a record by needing the fewest fights – 10 – in boxing history, male or female, to win world titles in three weight classes. She surpassed the mark of 12 set by Vasiliy Lomachenko and Kosei Tanaka.

“I’m excited to be fighting another undefeated champion and to have the opportunity to make history by becoming the first fighter – male or female – to be undisputed champion in two weight divisions in the four-belt era,” Shields said. “Headlining my first pay-per-view event with this historic all-women’s card, particularly at such an important time in the evolution of women’s boxing and around the International Women’s Day celebration, is so meaningful to me. We’re going to put on one heck of a show for the world to see. It’s one big step for boxing and one giant step for womankind.”

Dicaire (17-0, 0 KOs), 34, a southpaw from Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada, will be making the fourth defense of the world title she won by decision against Chris Namus in December 2018.

“I'm happy to finally be able to get back in the ring and face Claressa Shields,” said Dicaire, who has been idle since November 2019. “It's been a year now that I've been preparing exclusively for this fight. I'm used to making history in women's boxing. I was the first woman to lead an event in a major amphitheater in Canada. On two occasions, my IBF defenses have been shown on pay-per-view in Canada. I have a lot of respect for everything Shields has accomplished; I am excited about this opportunity for my career and for the advancement of international women’s boxing. Like Claressa I am undefeated and, just like her, I am coming to defend my world crown.

“We are going to have a lot of fun on March 5 measuring our skills, without restraints, and putting on a grandiose and memorable show. We have been waiting for this moment for a very long time.”

The Shields camp was unhappy that Showtime, which has televised her last two fights and six of her 10 career bouts, declined to reschedule the bout when it began putting on boxing events again in August after several months of being shut down due to the pandemic. Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza said he hoped to make the numbers work to reschedule Shields-Dicaire, but that did not happen, forcing Salita Promotions and manager Mark Taffet to go the pay-per-view route.

Still, Showtime said it has not closed the door to future fights with Shields.

“At 25 years old, Claressa Shields is a tremendous talent, which is the reason we have invested heavily in her over the last four years,” a spokesman for the network told Fight Freaks Unite. “We wish her well in her next fight and we hope to work with her again in the future.”

Undercard bouts will include heavyweight Danielle Perkins (2-0, 1 KO), the Floyd Mayweather Sr.-trained light heavyweight Nadia Meknouzi (5-0, 5 KOs) and interim junior middleweight titlist Raquel Miller (10-0, 4 KOs). Each will face foes to be named.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime