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Claressa Shields finds last minute replacement for Friday night’s fight

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields has found a last-minute replacement opponent for Friday night’s fight in Sydney LeBlanc, who is stepping in on three days’ notice, promoter Dmitriy Salita announced Wednesday.

Shields was scheduled to face Mery Rancier, but Rancier, who is from the Dominican Republic, dropped from the bout due to visa issues.

LeBlanc (4-1-1) has been inactive but has been training, and said she is excited for the fight.

“I’ve been pro boxing for [six years], since before the Olympics had a women’s division, and I’ve taken a lot of time off because of a lack of available opponents,” LeBlanc said. “These Olympians are reopening the gates for all female fighters. Everybody was on the shelf for years. This is the first time female boxing has been popular since the Ann Wolfe days, so I’m very appreciative of the opportunities they are bringing.

“I’ve never watched any of my opponents before a fight, but I know about Claressa Shields and I want to fight her. I’m looking at this fight as a good chance to see where I’m at skill-wise, and I’ll be ready.”

[More from Excelle Sports: Claressa Shields signs with Salita Promotions]

The fight, which is Shields’ third professional bout since winning the gold medal at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, will be an eight-round super middleweight bout.

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