Claressa Shields Is The BWAA 2022 Female Fighter Of The Year
Unbeaten and undisputed, middleweight champion Claressa Shields will add more hardware to her trophy case after being named the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Christy Martin Female Fighter of the Year for 2022.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist for the United States, the 27-year-old Shields continued to make her hometown of Flint, Michigan, proud in the pro ranks by winning multiple world championships at 154, 160 and 168 pounds.
“Every year I kick my own ass to do better than I did the year before,” said Shields, the second two-time BWAA FFOY award winner, having won in 2018, and joining Katie Taylor as the only other two-time BWAA Female Fighter of the Year. “This is an honor and it means a lot. Honestly, I’m very competitive. There are a lot of great women in boxing right now, and after my career is over, I want people to say I fought the best and I beat the best—and that I was the best.
“That’s my motivation. To break every record and outshine the Claressa of yesterday and outshine Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano, Mikaela Mayer, Alycia Baumgardner, they’re all great fighters. But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, people will say we had all of these great fighters, but Claressa Shields was the one. I want to knock girls out. I’m motivated to be better, I’m motivated to beat the world.”
But in 2022, Shields raised the bar even higher, first by shutting out previously unbeaten Ema Kozin in February, and then by defeating Savannah Marshall in a Fight of the Year candidate that unified all four major world titles in the middleweight division. The Marshall fight, which saw Shields avenge her only boxing loss as an amateur or professional, saw her take her game to new levels under the brightest spotlight of her career, proving that she is a step ahead of her peers in any division she competes in.
In 2023, Shields will have one boxing match and throw her main focus into the MMA world. She wants to work on her other skills. She has no clear-cut opponent ahead, though she and her team would not mind fighting Brit Natasha Jonas, if she is willing to take the fight.
“Marshall has not a hard fight and it’s not a fight she deserves, she needs to go back and earn it,” Shields said.
“We would love to fight Jonas,” said Mark Taffet, Shields’ manager. “Claressa is always looking at the best and brightest coming up and she always wants to fight them. Jonas is who she wants. We’re looking for the biggest, best fights out there. Right now, Jonas seems to be it.”
FOTY VOTERS – David Avila, Diego Morilla, Jake Donovan, Sue Fox, Thomas Gerbasi, Mark Jones, Malissa Smith, Ryan Songalia