By Vince D’Writer: On Saturday, June 3rd, live on DAZN, there will be a throwdown in Motown, as undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields will defend her title against Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Shields’ first undisputed title defense was supposed to be against a familiar opponent, as a rematch with Hanna Gabriels (21-2-1, 12 KOs) was the fight that fans were anxious to see. Back in June 2018, Shields and Gabriels faced each other in a bout for the then-vacant WBA and IBF middleweight titles.
In the first round of the fight, Hanna Gabriels landed a right uppercut followed by a left hook that sent Claressa Shields down to the canvas. Shields was able to get up and box her way to a 10-round unanimous decision victory.
The plug was pulled on the highly anticipated rematch due to Gabriels testing positive for a banned substance. She was immediately replaced by Mexican middleweight boxing contender Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo.
The 36-year-old has experience in title bouts, but unfortunately for Cornejo, she came up short in her three previous attempts to become a world champion. Cornejo dropped decisions to Kali Reis in April 2016, Franchon Crews-Dezurn in August 2018, and she lost the rematch to Crews-Dezurn in September 2019.
Maricela Cornejo feels confident in regards to capitalizing on her new opportunity to achieve her dream of winning championship gold. However, the undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields plans on stopping the dream from becoming a reality.
The last time Claressa Shields was scheduled to compete inside of the squared circle, her September 2022 bout against her arch-rival, the then WBO champion Savannah Marshall was postponed as England mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
On October 15, 2022, at the O2 Arena in London, Claressa Shields entered the ring as the unified middleweight champion, but after beating Marshall convincingly by unanimous decision, Shields exited the ring as the new undisputed world champion and the owner of the honorary WBC Queen Elizabethan belt.
Now Shields is ready to entertain her home crowd, as she’s set to make the first defense of her undisputed middleweight crown. Despite the switch in opponents, Shields feels she is well prepared due to the fact that she compares her opponents in the exact same way.
“I compare them all the same. When I’m in the gym, I’m getting ready for the better version of myself. Im not getting ready for Hanna Gabriels or Maricela Cornejo, or whoever my opponents have been. I’m getting ready to outdo my last performance.”
The challenger Maricela Cornejo feels confident, well prepared, and she’s ready to go to battle with the undisputed middleweight champion. Cornejo embraces the role of the underdog, and she has some betting advice for the fans.
“For those who want to make some money, go on and put your money on me, because come Saturday night, and send me a percentage after as well. I won’t be mad at that, but I love it and I knew it. I was aware of it, so it’s not a surprise. I’m okay with it because nothing is expected, and it’s going to be a rude awakening.”
On Saturday, June 3rd, the 28-year-old undisputed middleweight champion Claressa “GWOAT” Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) plans on enhancing her legacy by successfully defending her undisputed middleweight crown in front of 15,000 fans. When she shared the stage with Maricela Cornejo, Shields made a bold statement, and she repeated it in a social media post.
“I SAID MEXICANS CAN’T BEAT ME IN BOXING, NOT AFRICANS, African Americans, whites, or Puerto Ricans! Nobody can beat me! That’s what tf I said, and I’ll say it again 100x over.”