Boxing history was made last night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, just as Claressa Shields said it would be made. Shields, in an amazing accomplishment, became with her wide decision win over Ivana Habazin, a three-weight world champion after just ten pro fights. In so doing, Shields, 10-0(2) broke the record previously held by Vasyl Lomachenko and Kosei Tanaka, both of whom became a three-weight champ after 12 bouts.
Shields has actually done it in a different way. Instead of winning a belt then moving up to win another, and then packing on more pounds to win a third title, Shields has worked here way DOWN the divisions, from super-middleweight to middleweight and now super-welterweight. Again, an amazing accomplishment.
Now to put forth a suggestion that might rain on the parade. Some fans – as they have made clear via the boxing forums and on FaceBook – are annoyed at the way Shields’ accomplishment has been rated alongside those of male boxers. Has Shields really beaten Lomachenko’s record, some fans have asked? Women boxers, as we know, fight ten-round world title fights, each round just two-minutes in duration, and some fans feel that as a result of this, no, Shields has not broken Loma’s record.
Last night, during the broadcast of Shields Vs. Habazin, Showtime put up a graphic that listed the fighters to have won three world titles in as many weight classes with fewest number of fights fought:
Claressa Shields, 10 fights
Vasiliy Lomachenko, 12 fights
Kosei Tanaka, 12 fights
Naoka Fujioka, 15 fights
Naoya Inoue, 16 fights
Kazuto Ioka, 18 fights
Jeff Fenech, 20 fights
Oscar De La Hoya, 22 fights
Some superb fighters to be sure, and the fact that Shields sits at the top of such a list of talent makes her achievement that much more impressive. But again, not everyone is happy. Has Shields beaten the best of the best, or should her accomplishment be ranked only as one in women’s boxing, not all of boxing? There is of course less competition in women’s boxing simply due to the fact that not as many women box as men.
Nothing should be taken away from Shields, but some fans do make a good argument that says, quite simply, how male boxing and female boxing are two entirely different sports.