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Olympic champion Claressa Shields' pro debut added to Kovalev-Ward card

Olympic champion Claressa Shields' pro debut added to Kovalev-Ward card
Claressa Shield (Ryan Jones / Associated Press)

Two-time U.S. Olympic gold-medalist Claressa Shields will make her professional debut Nov. 19 on the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward light-heavyweight title fight card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Shields, 21, from Flint, Mich., will fight on the non-pay-per-view portion of the undercard against an opponent expected to be named later this week.

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The recent increased exposure of women's fighting on significant cards, such as Gennady Golovkin's victory at the Forum earlier this year and a Premier Boxing Champions card on Showtime in New York, lead to Shields, whose amateur pedigree and charisma could further accelerate the rise in prominence of women's boxing.

She is the first U.S. Olympic champion since Ward, the unbeaten former super-middleweight world champion from Oakland who won his gold medal in 2004.

"After working hard for so many years and having the honor to represent my country at two Olympic games, I am thrilled to take the next big step in my career, fighting professionally and leading the rise of women's boxing worldwide," Shields said in a prepared statement.

"There is no better place to begin the journey than to join the biggest fight of the year, Kovalev vs Ward, and to fight alongside my idol and fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward.  I can't wait to entertain the fans on Nov.19."

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