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Claressa Shields Validates ‘GWOAT’ Label With Dominant Victory Over Cornejo

Claressa Shields Validates 'GWOAT' Label With Dominant Victory Over Cornejo featured image
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - JUNE 03: at Little Caesars Arena on June 03, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Claressa Shields recorded her fourteenth victory in her home state of Michigan on June 3rd where she handily defeated her opponent, Maricela Cornejo, by unanimous decision. The two Americans fought at the Little Caesars Arena for all of Shields’ titles in an event that was broadcasted by DAZN. The judges’ scorecards of 100-89 and 100-90 reflected Shields’ dominant performance.

Maricela Cornejo (16-6, 6 KO’s) was selected as the replacement opponent for Hanna Gabriels, who was withdrawn from the fight due to a failed drug test and was perhaps an even better match for Claressa Shields (14-0, 2 O’s) given her high ranking on the various ranking boards. Her availability was possible because she had gone through training camp and was slated to fight the same week.

This created an intriguing match-up where both fighters were in good shape and trained, but unfamiliar with each other’s styles.. TakingDeparting from her usual counterpunching style, Claressa Shields adopted a more aggressive approach, which proved highly successful against Maricela Cornejo. Despite having a height and reach advantage, Cornejo struggled to handle Shields’ relentless pressure.

Despite being outmatched, Cornejo put up a good fight but she failed to establish her jab, and was less accurate with her punches than required to beat a world champion such as Shields. Contrary to most her matches, Claressa Shields’ aggressive stance resulted in her missing more shots as she swung wide and hard, likely in an attempt to cause a knockout.

However, despite being less efficient compared to her previous fights, Shields not only won rounds but also appeared to visibly hurt her opponent more than in her past matches. Though a knockout or stoppage could not be achieved, Claressa Shields’ match with Cornejo showcased her most vivid display of aggressiveness since becoming a world champion.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JUNE 03: Claressa Shields throws a punch against Maricela Cornejo during their Middleweight Championship fight at Little Caesars Arena on June 03, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

After ten rounds, Claressa Shields was declared the winner by unanimous decision, retaining all of her world titles, including the lineal title. Maricela Cornejo displayed grace in defeat and fierce competitiveness in the post-match press conference, while Claressa Shields exhibited her sportsmanship as a world champion by acknowledging Cornejo’s abilities.

Claressa Shields now remains firmly positioned as the #1 on The Ring’s pound-for-ound rankings for women. Although it is uncertain who Shields will face next, a compelling match-up could be against the winner of the Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10 KO’s) and Francon Crews-Dezurn (8-1, 2 KO’s) fight scheduled for July 1st at 168 lbs. Since Shields has previously defeated both opponents, a rematch with the winner would offer her a chance to become undisputed at Super Middleweight, a feat she has yet to achieve.