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Tyson Fury’s sparring partner believes Claressa Shields is now an even better boxer and could replicate the success of Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather by fighting Amanda Nunes.
Dmitriy Salita, who now promotes Shields, has watched his client develop at Jackson Wink MMA before she crosses codes for the first time this weekend.
Shields is one of the most decorated boxers in history, regardless of gender, winning two Olympic gold medals and becoming the first boxer ever to be undisputed world champion in two divisions in the four-belt era.
Yet a lack of financial incentive or credible opposition inside the squared circle has forced her to push herself out of her comfort zone once again and Shields will fight under the Professional Fighters League banner this weekend against Brittney Elkins.
To see such a precocious talent abandon the sport she has known her entire life in pursuit of greatness deserves tremendous respect. Never before has a boxer successfully transitioned into MMA before, with James Toney the most infamous example.
Yet Salita, who is training alongside world heavyweight champion Fury for his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder, believes the self-proclaimed ‘GWOAT’ (Greatest Woman of All Time) can transcend sport entirely.
Salita, speaking via the MyBettingSites.co.uk blog, said: “She’s training in the best MMA gym in the world with some of the greatest UFC fighters ever; Jon Jones, Holly Holm. She’s learning every day and she’s excited about making her debut this week.
“There’s an opportunity there: Claressa v Amanda Nunes or Kayla Harrison. Claressa v [Amanda] Nunes would be like Mayweather-McGregor. That’s something that would be huge and I’d love to be a part of.
“I think we saw in her last boxing fight that Claressa became a better boxer because of her physical fitness. The different training she’s been doing is making her become a better athlete.
“I think that continuing to train and staying in shape year round is only going to improve her game. It’s something new and something exciting.
“She’s a world class combat sports star entering a new phase of career and I think this is going to make women’s boxing go to another level because her story is going to be told on another major platform and I’m very happy about it.”