Undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields (14-0, 2 KOs) boxed her way to a unanimous decision victory against Maricela Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) to successfully defend her titles. Two judges scored the contest 100-90 for Shields, while one had it 100-89, also for Shields. The fight headlined a card at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. For Shields, it was her first fight in the USA since a clash in early 2021 against Marie Eve Dicaire that saw her become undisputed super welterweight champion.
Cornejo was not the original opponent in mind for the event promoted by Salita Promotions. Hanna Gabriels was slated to face Shields but was removed from the event after a positive test for banned substances. Cornejo wound up receiving the call with less than two weeks to go before fight night. Ranked as the WBC’s number one middleweight contender, Cornejo had previously fought in March in Costa Rica.
The bout marked Shields’ first successful defense of her second reign as undisputed middleweight champion. In October of 2022, she defeated Savannah Marshall by unanimous decision to become undisputed for a second time at middleweight and third time overall. This was her first fight in her home state of Michigan since 2021 and first in Detroit since 2018.
Shields vs. Cornejo Fight Recap
The fight began with Shields immediately looking for the knockout. Despite eating some fairly hard shots that visibly stunned her, Cornejo was able to remain on her feet in the early rounds. As the rounds went on, it became clear who the better fighter was. Shields continued to land flush as the rounds went on as Cornejo struggled to do anything that could dent her opponent.
Round seven saw Shields do some of her best work in the fight. A barrage of punches left Cornejo stunned but she was able to stay standing and see out the round. As the fight went on, Cornejo did make adjustments based on the instruction from trainer Ismael Salas. However, those adjustments did little to deter Shields.
Such was Shields’ dominance that her trainer John David Jackson told her to fight however she wanted going into the final round. Despite Shields’ best attempts to secure the knockout victory, Cornejo was able to weather the storm.
“I feel great,” said Shields to DAZN in the ring. “I was landing my shots. I won every round like I knew I could. I went for the knockout how many times this fight? Maricela is tough. She did a great job. Height doesn’t matter and power doesn’t matter either. It’s all about the skills and will and heart, and I always have more than the other girls.”
The focus now turns towards potential future opponents for Shields. Given how dominant she has been in the weights she operates at, promoter Dmitry Salita is going to have a hard time finding an opponent on her level.