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Claressa Shields to face heavyweight champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse at light heavy on July 27

Having claimed titles at 154, 160, and 168, Claressa Shields is set to challenge a fourth division when she meets WBC heavyweight champion Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse atop a July 27th DAZN show in Detroit.

To clarify my wording: Lepage-Joanisse (7-1, 2 KO) beat former super welterweight title challenger Abril Argentina Vidal for the title this past March and Salita Promotions says that belt will be on the line, but both DAZN and Shields (14-0, 2 KO) stated that the bout will be at light heavyweight. Lepage-Joanisse weighed in at 173.25 last time out, so that makes sense, but I’m unsure what all hardware is involved.

As you might imagine, the women’s talent pool isn’t particularly deep above 168, with BoxRec listing a grand total of 17 light heavyweights and 22 heavyweights. Lepage-Joanisse is BoxRec’s no. 1 among those 22, but no. 4 Tinta Smith is 1-2-1, which should tell you something. Lepage-Joanisse’s only opponent of note was future super middleweight champ Alejandra Jimenez in 2017; Lepage-Joanisse weighed in at 231 and got stopped in three.

Still, what all options does Shields have? Fight Alycia Baumgardner, a woman at least 24 pounds smaller than her? Beat up Franchon Crews-Dezurn again? Grit out another split decision in PFL? I’d watch an MMA rematch with Savannah Marshall, who makes her cage debut this Saturday, but that’s about it. There are no more meaningful worlds to conquer, at least not ones within her reach.

“The Queen of Boxing is back! I’m so excited to return to the ring, especially after my MMA victory in February,” Shields said. “I’m excited to bring another entertaining fight to Little Caesars Arena. Last time 12,000 fans filled the arena, and this time we’re going to lift the roof off the building!

“This is a significant and unique fight where I am moving up two weight classes against a very tough champion in my quest to become world champion in my fourth weight division. It’s an exciting time for women’s sports, and I thank DAZN for providing a global platform for women’s boxing. I plan to do what I do best: bring that GWOAT energy and continue putting women’s boxing on the map.”

Credit: Badlefthook

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