Claressa Shields: ‘I can drive through Flint now and not get flashbacks’


Loretta Hunt

As the double Olympic gold medalist switches from boxing to MMA, she reflects on the poisoning of her home town’s water and the upcoming film of her life

Right at this moment, Claressa Shields’ life is being made into a major motion picture. In 2016, after she won her second Olympic gold medal in boxing, Shields sold her story to Universal Pictures, who hired the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, to pen and produce it. Flint Strong was cast last year and recently re-commenced shooting after a pandemic hiatus. When people remark that her life should be a film, the 26-year-old Michigan native will soon be able to say that it already is – but to expect a sequel.

On Thursday, Shields makes her mixed martial arts debut against Brittney Elkin (3-6) in the Professional Fighters League in Atlantic City live on ESPN. The 11-0 boxer has trained in MMA since December under Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, who steered 18-time boxing champion Holly Holm to a UFC title in 2015. Shields’ debut is one of the most anticipated for MMA in years.

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