Claressa Shields is Back, So Is Adelaida Ruiz and Kenia Enriquez and More
By David A. Avila
Standing at the very top of the pyramid of women’s prizefighting Claressa Shields has yet to meet her match.
Could Maricela Cornejo be the one?
Since first entering the pro fight world in 2016, Shields has dominated women’s boxing from super welterweight to super middleweight. Maybe two or three opponents made it interesting.
Once again Shields (13-0, 2 Kos) defends the middleweight world championship and this time Cornejo (16-5, 6 Kos) enters the prize ring on Saturday June 3, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. DAZN will stream the Salita Promotions fight card.
Until last week, Costa Rica’s Hanna Gabriels was the scheduled foe, but VADA testing revealed illegal substances in her blood stream and she was forced out. After two days Cornejo was mutually agreed by both parties to be the replacement.
“I was getting ready for another fight on June 6. This wasn’t a last-minute fight. I eat, drink, and love boxing. It’s not a part-time job,” said Cornejo about eagerly accepting the fight as a replacement for Gabriels.
The last time we saw Shields in the prize ring she was firing on all gears as she unleashed blazing fast combinations on England’s Savannah Marshall. Many had predicted Shields would be vanquished.
Many were wrong.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist and champion of three weight divisions has shown that size, power and will are not enough to dethrone her. Only a few made Shields blink and that came early on.
Cornejo was already on the fight scene when Shields entered the pro ranks back in 2016. Fresh off her victorious run through the Rio Olympics, Shields appeared at a fight card at the Dignity Sports Health Park in Carson, California when she met Cornejo who was there to a fight card that night too.
It was an electrifying moment.
The tall physically fit Cornejo stood face to face with Shields who smiled as if to signify one day they would meet. That day is finally here after a seven-year itch.
Many are already discounting Cornejo as a mere puddle of mud to be stepped on. But stranger things have happened. This is prizefighting and anything can happen inside the prize ring. Anything.
Prizefighting or professional boxing is all about entertainment. This is not amateur boxing and the stakes are much higher.
All respect to anyone who enters between the ropes and trades punches. They are risking their lives to entertain boxing fans. A single well-placed blow could literally end their life. Many men and women have died in the boxing ring.
Boxing is serious business.
On Saturday, two women who trained their bodies and fists for years to exchange deadly blows will meet and batter each other. They sacrificed their time away from their families and loved ones to display their fighting skills to boxing fans.
Only in the past four years has female boxing become a lucrative pro sport. Before fighters like Shields, Katie Taylor, and others, women were seldom paid more than $3,000 dollars for a world championship fight.
Shields helped spark the change and Cornejo will now finally meet her in the prize ring.
“Claressa has done so much for the sport of boxing. We’re trying to do our part. She can’t do it alone. We’re all trying to make a difference,” said Cornejo about accepting the fight on short notice. “She needs a dance partner and I’m ready to dance June 3.”
Shields smiled, content that Cornejo helped salvage the fight card in Detroit, Michigan near her hometown of Flint. Shields personally bought 1,000 tickets for youngsters to attend the fight card on Saturday. Now it will be a true contender facing her.
“I want to say thank you for fighting me,” said Shields to Cornejo. “I know you want to dance, but I came to fight.”
Since 2012, Cornejo has been fighting all over the world in pursuit of a world title. Mostly based in Los Angeles, she has battled against top competition such as Kali Reis, Franchon Crews-Dezurn, and Irais Hernandez.
Though she has five losses she has never been stopped. Cornejo may be physically as strong as Marshall or Crews-Dezurn but not as experienced due to a lack of amateur boxing.
Sometimes not having an extensive amateur background is good.
Super skilled boxers have problems with awkward fighters. Over the years gifted male fighters like Muhammad Ali had problems with unique styled fighters such as Ken Norton.
Ali had blazing speed and footwork, yet Norton’s unorthodox method of attack confused the great Ali every time they met.
Need more examples?
Mayweather never could dominate Marcos Maidana the two times they met. Many insist Argentina’s Maidana won their first encounter. His clubbing style confused the perfect timing of Mayweather. They were a match made in hell.
Sometimes a fighter’s lack of polish leads to a serious misstep and injury to themselves and others. Boxing has precision and perfection in timing. All it takes is a wrench thrown into the engine to stop the motor.
Every fight is different. Nothing is guaranteed in boxing.
“It’s going to be a real rumble in the jungle,” said Shields.
Shields has proven to be the best female fighter ever seen. Her speed and agility are off the charts in comparison to other female fighters before her. No one has been able to topple her from the top of the pyramid.
But as mentioned before, anything can happen in boxing. That’s why it’s a beautiful sport.
Friday in Temecula
Southern California’s undefeated Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz (13-0-1, 7 Kos) finally returns near her roots and meets Mexico’s Maria Cecilia Roman (17-7) at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California on Friday June 2.
It’s been almost two years since Ruiz fought in front of her Southern California fans where she built a reputation as one of the fiercest female fighters ever. The last three times she entered a prize ring were in Mexico and Costa Rica.
Though she holds the interim WBC super flyweight title, this will not be a title defense. According to her promoters MarvNation this is mainly a stay busy situation. Also featured on the fight card will be Fernando Vargas Jr. in a super welterweight bout against Mexico’s Ramses Agaton.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns are also scheduled to appear at the boxing event as an added attraction. Be sure to arrive early to meet the two boxing greats who thrilled fans from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Doors open at 6 p.m.
Flyweights in Mexico
Kenia Enriquez (25-1, 11 Kos) fights Aracely Palacios (11-14, 2 Kos) on Saturday June 3, at Polideportivo Centenario in Los Mochis, Sinaloa in Mexico. The flyweight match is scheduled for eight rounds.
Tijuana’s Enriquez has long been one of women’s boxings most avoided fighters. For five years she held the interim WBC light flyweight title and was never given the opportunity to fight for the actual world title by the WBC. She finally moved up to the flyweight division.
More Fight News
Nicole Morales (2-3-2) defeated Julia Celes (4-2-3) by technical decision after three rounds on Saturday May 27. Celes was unable to continue after a clash of heads. The lightweight match was held at Hurlingham.
Delfine Persson (48-3) defeated Bo Mi Re Shin (15-2-3) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Sunday May 28. The super featherweight regional title fight was held at Torhout.
Melinda Watpool (3-0) won by knockout over Angelica Lopez (13-2) in the fourth round on Saturday May 27. The middleweight bout took place at Brampton.
Sarah Mahfoud (13-1) defeated Veronica Tosi (4-2) by unanimous decision after eight rounds on Friday May 26. The featherweight fight was held at Copenhagen.
Elhem Mekhaled (16-2) won by unanimous decision after eight rounds versus Yulia Kutsenko (9-5-2) On Sunday May 28. The lightweight bout took place at Creteil.
Cheyenne Hanson (13-2) beat Angela Cannizzaro (6-20-1) by decision after four rounds on Saturday May 27. The featherweight fight was staged at Villingen-Schwenningen.
On Friday June 2, featherweights Eda Essaoudi (4-0-1) and Lara Meyer (0-3) meet four rounds at Beckum.
On Saturday June 3, lightweights Mei Li Folk (0-0) and Nana Dokadze (3-17) meet four rounds at Eberbach.
Jessica Bellusci (2-0) won by decision after six rounds over Antonina Cuti (0-1) on Saturday May 27. The featherweight fight was held in Lombardia.
On Wednesday May 31, super flyweights Suphattra Aunruean (4-0) and Nanae Yamaka (4-1) meet six rounds at Tokyo.
On Sunday June 4, super bantamweights Makoto Kikuchi (2-1) and Akane Fujiwara (5-2-1) meet eight rounds at Tachikawa.
Sara Koops (3-0-1) defeated Katrin Hodapp (0-2) by decision after six rounds on Saturday May 27. The welterweight fight took place at Zaandam.
On Friday June 2, bantamweights Angelika Krysztoforska (6-0) and Jasmina Nad (11-26-5) meet six rounds at Zukowo.
On Saturday June 3, flyweights Minerva Gutierrez (3-1) and Fara El Bousairi (6-3) meet eight rounds at Oviedo.
Linn Sandstrom (7-2-2) and Johana Zuniga (16-5-1) fought to a technical draw after two rounds. The regional title fight took place at Malmo. Also, Anna Donatella (10-3) beat Angelika Oles (2-4) in a super featherweight fight.
Watcharaporn Namphon (5-1) defeated Monthawee Srisongkhram (2-1) by knockout in the third round on Thursday May 25. The atomweight fight was held at Bangkok. Also, Siritorn Ponpai (1-2-1) beat Sukanya Wangarsa (0-1); Bantamweight Prakayrat Wongsuta (1-0) defeated Kanyanat Chotchun (4-5) by decision after six rounds.
Yunoka Furukawa (11-3-2) knocked out Wassana Kamdee (8-9) in the fourth round on Thursday May 25. The minimumweight title fight took place in Bangkok. Also, Umi Ishikawa (10-3) knocked out Nitimart Plabplerng (4-1) in fourth round in an atomweight title fight.
Muthita Iamsaard (3-1) beat Rawiwan Saikrajang (1-7) by decision after six rounds on Monday May 22. The atomweight fight was held at Pathum Thani. Also, flyweight Arisara Wisetwongsa (4-4) won by knockout in the third round over Ratchanee Boonmee (0-3).
Terri Harper (14-1-1) defeated Ivana Habazin (21-5) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Saturday May 27. The WBA super welterweight fight was held at Manchester, England.
Karriss Artingstall (4-0) won by decision after eight rounds over Jade Taylor (5-1) on Saturday May 27. The featherweight fight took place at Bournemouth, England.
Patricia Gonzalez (1-3-1) won by technical knockout over Hannah Baggaley (2-2) in the third round on Saturday May 27. The welterweight match was held at Manchester.
On Friday June 2, super flyweights Adelaida Ruiz (13-0-1) and Maria Roman (17-7-1) meet 10 rounds for the interim WBC super flyweight title at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California.
On Saturday June 3, middleweights Claressa Shields (13-0) and Maricela Cornejo (16-5) meet 10 rounds for the undisputed middleweight world championship at Detroit, Michigan. DAZN will stream. Also, featherweights Sarah Liegmann (7-0) and Carisse Brown (7-4) meet six rounds.
On Saturday June 3, flyweights Melanie Timko (0-0) and Amanda Lovato (0-2-1) meet four rounds at Lincoln, Nebraska.