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Claressa Shields: There's more exposure for women in MMA than boxing

claressa-shields-4132019-getty-ftr (Getty Images)

Quite arguably, the biggest name in women's boxing is Claressa Shields. 

While she enjoys that distinction, Shields believes that women in boxing, including herself, aren't getting the same opportunities as the women who compete in MMA. Fighters such as current UFC two-division women's world champion Amanda Nunes, former UFC women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm and reigning Bellator women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg have routinely headlined events on cable or pay-per-view. 

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-division world champion readily admits that women in mixed martial arts are getting equal opportunities as their male counterparts. However, in boxing it is a different story.

"In MMA, there's just more exposure than woman's boxing," Shields told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. "I hate to say it…from me just looking at social media, from me just seeing that they're the main event on every other card and people are coming and filling up arenas for them. We don't have that in woman's boxing. I haven't even been on pay-per-view yet, and I'm a three-time division world champion. But Gervonta' Tank' (Davis) [is about to be] on pay-per-view. It's like, it's just not equal.

"Over in the MMA, I love how it's equal. You have some fights where the men are the main event. And you have the same amount when the women are. Women are on pay-per-view, and in boxing, it's just not the same way."

Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) last competed in January, defeating Ivana Habazin by unanimous decision to become the unified women's junior middleweight champion — and becoming the fastest fighter in boxing history to capture a third world title in three different weight classes. The 25-year-old understands that it's going to take time for women's boxing to reach the levels of women's MMA. She's willing to do just about everything she can and fight on undercards of significant events to get women's boxing more exposure in hopes that it will translate to future opportunities for herself and others.

"I've already let my team and Showtime know that I would fight on the undercard of Errol Spence, Deontay Wilder or Manny Pacquiao, any of those big fighters, the twin Charlos (Jermell and Jermall). I would fight on the undercard of those guys, but I'm not going to fight on the undercard of nobody who's not a world champion, especially on pay-per-view."

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