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Claressa Shields defeats Sydney LeBlanc to claim WBC Silver belt

Claressa Shields defeated Sydney LeBlanc in the Detroit Brawl on Friday night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit via decision to claim the vacant WBC Silver female super middleweight title.

Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was originally scheduled to fight Mery Rancier, but Rancier had to drop from the bout earlier this week due to visa issues. After the fight, Shields said she knew she had an advantage against LeBlanc, and wanted to challenge herself to go the entire eight rounds.

“I was able to go the whole eight rounds without being tired, so I feel pretty good about that,” Shield said. “I had wanted to get the knockout, but I knew I was in shape to go all eight. I think we did a really good job (preparing for that). We had a long, hard training camp.

“The main thing isn’t just about winning. It’s about looking good and winning.”

The judges ended up scoring the fight 80-72 in favor of Shields.

“Usually, I just go out there, and I can get it over with,” Shields said. “I can stop the girl with a TKO, but I got to show a lot more in this fight with eight rounds, and I feel good.”

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

Since turning pro after winning her second gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Shields is now 3-0.

Shields also said afterwards that she wasn’t at a disadvantage because of the last-second switch in opponents, as she trains simply to fight herself.

“I never train for my opponent,” Shields said. “I train like I’m fighting against myself. I train like I’m getting in there to fight a girl who has just as much power and skill as myself.

“Whatever the case may be, I only train to fight against the best, and the best is myself, so I haven’t beaten myself yet. When I learn that, then I guess I’ll train to beat somebody else. But right now, it’s just me.”

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