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Boxing champion Claressa Shields to make PFL MMA debut against Brittney Elkin in June

Boxing champion Claressa Shields much anticipated MMA debut will take place on June 10 at the PFL’s Week 4 event against Brittney Elkin.

Shields, 26, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, made history earlier this year when she defeated Marie-Eve Diciare in March to become the first undisputed boxer in two weight classes, at light middleweight and middleweight.

Shields signed with the PFL in November 2020, declaring her intent to become a world champion in MMA. She started training with the Jackson Wink MMA Academy – the home of former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.

“T-Rex” is scheduled to compete in the 2022 PFL season but her MMA career will start on June 10 with a tune up fight, as opponent Brittney Elkin will welcome her to the cage.

“I am very excited to cement my legacy as the greatest woman of all time,” Shields said in a press release. “I cannot wait to step into the PFL cage for the first time on June 10 and show the world that I never back down from a challenge. I have shown I am the best boxer in the world and eventually I intend to do the same thing as a mixed martial artist.”

Elkin (3-6-0) has not won a bout since 2016, hasn’t competed since January 2019, and is on a three fight losing skid. She competed previously in Sparta, Bellator, and in the 2018 PFL season, losing to current champion Kayla Harrison. An upset win over Shields would probably attract a lot of attention and generate some opportunities for her.

“I’m very grateful to be back in the PFL and to have this opportunity to square off with Claressa Shields,” Elkin said. “I know she is a great boxer but this is MMA and I plan to show everyone that I am a well-rounded fighter who can compete wherever the fight takes me.”

“We’re thrilled to announce the highly anticipated PFL debut of the world’s consensus top female pound-for-pound boxer, Claressa Shields,” PFL president of fighter operations, Ray Sefo added. “We’ve seen the videos of her training inside the cage and can’t wait to see the showdown between her and Brittney Elkin on June 10.”

The bout lineup is expected to be announced closer to the event.

The PFL’s 2021 season begins on April 23 on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and live streamed on ESPN+ in primetime. The regular season events are scheduled for April 29, May 6, June 10, June 17, and June 25.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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