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Claressa Shields Defeats Sydney LeBlanc In Detroit to Win the WBC Silver female super middleweight title

By Detroit Free Press

Detroit, Mi (June 17, 2017)– Claressa Shields knew she was at an advantage against Sydney LeBlanc in the Detroit Brawl on Friday night at the Masonic Temple.

So the two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer and Flint native challenged herself to last all eight rounds instead of going for the knockout.

And that’s what the 22-year-old did, beating LeBlanc by decision to claim the vacant WBC Silver female super middleweight title.

Shields (3-0, one knockout) was originally slated to face Mery Rancier (7-8-3, five KOs) of the Dominican Republic. However, Rancier had a mishap with her visa and was unable to travel to the U.S. this week, according to Shields’ promoter, Dmitriy Salita.

LeBlanc, a 33-year-old Gretna, La., native, accepted the fight on only three days notice to ensure Shields would have a fight in front of her home state fans.

“I was able to go the whole eight rounds without being tired, so I feel pretty good about that,” Shield said. “I had wanted to get the knockout, but I knew I was in shape to go all eight.

“I think we did a really good job (preparing for that). We had a long, hard training camp. The main thing isn’t just about winning. It’s about looking good and winning.”

Shields looked good throughout the night, especially early on when it looked like LeBlanc was overwhelmed by both Shields’ speed and power.

LeBlanc (4-2-1) never backed down, though, and the judges wound up scoring the fight, 80-72, narrowly favoring Shields.

“Usually, I just go out there, and I can get it over with,” Shields said. “I can stop the girl with a TKO, but I got to show a lot more in this fight with eight rounds, and I feel good.”

“I never train for my opponent,” said Shields, who also holds the North American Boxing Federation middleweight title, which she won in March. “I train like I’m fighting against myself. I train like I’m getting in there to fight a girl who has just as much power and skill as myself. It kind of Xs the opponent out, no matter if it’s a month before, three days or a week.

“Whatever the case may be, I only train to fight against the best, and the best is myself, so I haven’t beaten myself yet. When I learn that, then I guess I’ll train to beat somebody else. But right now, it’s just me.”

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