Boxing superstar Claressa “G.W.O.A.T.” Shields and #1 ranked challenger Ema Kozin previewed their showdown for Shields’ WBC/WBA/IBF Middleweight World titles during a virtual press conference Wednesday before they step into the ring on Saturday, February 5 from Motorpoint Arena Cardiff in Wales and also available in the U.S. and Canada on pay-per-view.
Shields will be making her U.K. debut as a professional, entering the ring as the co-main event, with star U.K. middleweights Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Williams meeting in the main event. This is Shields’ first fight in a lucrative multi-fight deal with promoter Boxxer and broadcaster SKY Sports in the U.K., secured for her by Salita Promotions.
Kozin hopes to pull off a landscape-shifting upset in her first crack at the world titles, and in doing so halt Shields’ march towards a super fight showdown with WBO Middleweight Champion Savannah Marshall in 2022. Marshall owns an amateur victory over Shields, the only boxing defeat Shields’ has suffered in the pro or amateur ranks.
The February 5 event will be carried in North America across all PPV platforms, including streaming, cable, satellite and telco. On TV, boxing fans can order the event through Xfinity, Spectrum, Contour, Fios, and Optimum, among others (U.S.), as well as leading operators in Canada. Complete PPV distribution details can be found below.
Here is what the fighters, along with Salita Promotions President Dmitriy Salita, had to say on Wednesday:
“I’m looking forward to returning to boxing and showing why I’m one of the top women in the sport. I can’t wait to give everyone a great fight on February 5.
“I’ve never overlooked an opponent and I won’t just because of the Savannah Marshall fight. We’ve always had someone that we’re already working on facing for the next fight. I’ve been in this situation before. I’m focusing on the person who has earned the right to fight me. Kozin is my mandatory, and I respect that this is a huge opportunity for her.
“Training with Floyd Mayweather has pushed my confidence even higher. He’s very fond of my skills and my power and he said he’s going to fly to the U.K. to watch this fight. So I’m definitely looking to put on a great show.
“If I had to use one word for this camp, it would be: uncomfortable. I made sure that I got out of my comfort zone for this fight. I’m making sure that I have all my tools and going to the Mayweather Boxing Club has really sharpened those tools.
“I’m expecting the U.K. fans to be very excited to see me. When I walked out there in London for my gold medal match in 2012, it was an explosive crowd. They have great fans and I’m excited to be back to show off all my improvement since 2012.
“I’m going to bring my world championship experience to this fight. She has more fights as a pro than me, but she has not fought the top tier champions like I have. That’s definitely to my advantage in this fight. She’s going to see my experience in this fight and see that it’s totally different at this level.
“I never lost my love for boxing. That’s my first love and that’s why I’m the greatest at it. MMA is something I do for myself. Being able to even do that, with no amateur experience, just shows that I’m a different kind of athlete.
“I’m hoping to get in the ring with Savannah Marshall next. Women’s boxing is on fire right now and we’re giving the fans the fights they want.
“Fighting on a card of this magnitude will help women’s boxing. Eubank and Williams are known worldwide, so it’s great that some of their fans will become our fans. This is a great opportunity and I’m just going to keep taking it one step at a time.
“I know more about her than she thinks. I’ve followed her whole career. When we get in there, I’m going to make her call me the G.W.O.A.T. in the ring.”
“This is a huge opportunity and I want to make the most of it. I’ve worked hard for the last year and I’ve made a lot of progress as a fighter. I can’t wait to show it all in the ring.
“I’ve heard that the crowds in the U.K. are great and I can’t wait to experience that. I’m sure it will be awesome. They’re going to see a great fight that they’re really going to enjoy.
“I’ve never been as prepared as I am right now. I wouldn’t be stepping in the ring with her if I didn’t believe I was capable of beating her.
“I can’t show all of my cards right now, but I’m highly motivated. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything this badly. I’m going to use my intelligence, my focus and my preparation to get this victory. I’ve made huge progress in the last year and I feel ready.
“She’s a great fighter of course, but you don’t need high-level fights to gain experience. I have had great training and I have a great team behind me. She doesn’t know me as well as she thinks she does. I can change up my style round-by-round. With the focus that I’ve had for the past year, I can beat anyone in this sport.
I’m going to give my best in this fight. I’m ready for a tough fight through 10 rounds or as long as it takes. I’m anxious to get in the ring and win this fight.”
“Claressa has left no stone unturned in preparation. With all due respect to Kozin, I believe Shields is going to shine on February 5 in the U.K.
“This is a tremendous fight and a great event for Claressa to be making her U.K. debut as a pro. Kozin is a tough challenger and she’s the number one ranked contender for a reason. Ema Kozin has been a big star in Europe and being undefeated, you can’t take her for granted.
“When great fighters are faced with stiff competition, they rise to a new level. You saw that against Christina Hammer, and I believe the same will happen with Kozin. She’s going to send a strong message to Savannah Marshall.”