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'We have talented female boxers'

Claressa Maria Shields of USA (red) was recently crowned undisputed middleweight champion.
Claressa Maria Shields of USA (red) was recently crowned undisputed middleweight champion.
Image: Charly Diaz Azcue / Getty Images

Boxing SA's director of operations Cindy Nkomo has backed SA female boxers as having just as much talent and potential as the newly crowned undisputed middleweight champion American Claressa "T-Rex" Shields.

Shields, 24, has held multiple world titles in three weight divisions - junior middle, middle and super middle weights.

She is the unified WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO champion who also holds the Ring Magazine's inaugural middleweights belt.

She is one of the seven boxers in history, female or male, to hold all four major world boxing titles simultaneously, along with Bernard Hopkins (2004-2005), Jermaine Taylor (2005), Cecilia Braekhus (2014), Terence Crawford (2017), Oleksandr Usyk (2018-2019) and Katie Taylor (2019).

After a brief resurgence around 2010, female boxing in SA is now against the ropes. There is a lack of action and the low number of fighters in weight divisions has left some champions idling without any defence.

Nkomo said: "That is a great accomplishment for Claressa. Obviously, we as the regulatory body would want our boxers to reach her level. We are very much aware of the challenges that currently face women in the sport of boxing, specifically lack of fights.

"We do believe, however, that we do have talent that can be nurtured to get close to that accomplishment if not better, but we must also consider that there is greater work that still needs to be done - one being the amendment of our boxing regulations - specifically the one about the three-fight rule in the same weight division to qualify for a challenge at the national championship."

America does not have the same rule that somehow stifles the progress of fighters. Shields has boxed professionally since 2016.

She won gold medals at the 2012 (as an amateur) and 2016 Olympics.

By accomplishing the feat in just her 10th professional fight, Shields beat the record established by male fighter Vasyl Lomachenko and matched by another male boxer Kosei Tanaka.

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