Katie Taylor Admires Shields’ MMA Risk, Hopes She Now Just Focuses on Boxing

Katie Taylor Admires Shields’ MMA Risk, Hopes She Now Just Focuses on Boxing

Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor would like to see unified middleweight champion Claressa Shields walk away from mixed martial arts and focus all of her energy on boxing.

Last year, the two-time Olympic gold medal winner made her MMA debut for PFL.

Shields, 26-years-old, looked vulnerable in her first MMA bout, but she managed to get a stoppage victory in the third and final round after likely losing the first two.

In her second MMA bout, last October, Shields suffered a split decision loss to Abigail Montes.

Taylor admires Shields’ decision to take such a risk at this point in her career.

“I definitely didn’t expect [Shields to fight in MMA],” Taylor said to The MMA Hour. “But I thought it was a fantastic challenge for her to take on, because boxing and MMA are two completely different sports. It’s very, very hard for anyone in boxing to cross over, because obviously we have no ground game.

“If anybody got me to the ground, for example, it would be a huge problem for me. I think obviously you always have a puncher’s chance maybe, but it’s a priority — it’s very, very hard to stay on your feet. So I think it was an admirable challenge for her to take on. But I would love for her just to focus on boxing now.”

Shields, a three division champion, is being positioned to collide with her amateur rival, WBO champion Savannah Marshall, in 2022.

“There’s a lot of big fights out there for her,” Taylor said.

“The likes of Savannah Marshall, who’s a fantastic world champion fighter, and I think Savannah actually beat her as an amateur fighter, so that is a huge, huge, huge fight for them. It’s probably one of the biggest fights in women’s boxing.”

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