Sports

Olympic boxing champion Shields wins MMA debut

Atlantic City: Former Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields won her professional mixed martial arts debut by beating fellow American Brittney Elkin by a technical knockout in the Professional Fighters League game in Atlantic City. Shields, 26, showed composure and patience to defeat the more experienced fighter, but pinned herself to her back, pinned against a cage and she took so many blows to the head that she looked on the verge of defeat. But she dug deep into her debut for the strength that brought her from Flint, Michigan, to Olympic gold – twice – and then a pro career that made her the most decorated fighter of her time. “I set myself in motion with the big right hand,” she said. “My right hand has never let me down.”

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Mighty hand

From the square circle to the cage, Shields took over her mighty hand – and made it rise in victory. Shields made Elkin short work, and the mixed martial arts novice proved she would have a future in the sport on Thursday night with a TKO victory during the main event of a Professional Fighters League card. “I will not lose this fight,” said the undefeated boxer. In her 155-pound lightweight fight, Shields proved she’s just as skilled at unleashing blows in mixed martial arts. She shook off a slow first two rounds before getting Elkin to the ground and needing a few heavy shots to inflict the decisive damage. She won with a right hand from above at 1:44 of the third round. “I feel like I’m dreaming. It’s crazy, ”she said. Shields put on some of the flamboyant costumes she wore in boxing (where she is 11-0) for straight red suitcases and top. She still wore her hair in a blue ponytail to make people aware of the battle over clean water that has been going on for years in her hometown of Michigan. She has already won the lightweight, middleweight and super middleweight crowns in her boxing career and has been the fastest fighter in history – male or female – to become a world champion in three divisions. Shields only began her MMA training in December at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.