Claressa Shields Aims to Best Herself in Upcoming Fight with Maricela Cornejo
June 3 represents a bit of a homecoming for Flint, Michigan’s Claressa “GWOAT” Shields (13-0, 2 KOs). That’s when she defends the undisputed women’s middleweight title against Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo (16-5, 6 KO) at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan live on DAZN.
Cornejo is a replacement opponent for three-division champion Hanna Gabriels. But on May 25, Gabriels was scratched after testing positive for clostebol, a testosterone derivative PED.
Speaking to Salita Promotions, Shields said the sudden change in opponent is of no concern. The middleweight champion looks inward, is focused on how she prepares, and is at her best once the bell rings.
“I compare them all the same. When I’m in the gym, I’m getting ready for the better version of myself. I’m not getting ready for Hanna Gabriels. I’m not getting ready for Maricela Cornejo or whoever my opponents have been. I’m getting ready to outdo my last performance.”
GWOAT was able to watch some footage of Cornejo. She acknowledged some differences in style between her current opponent and Gabriels.
“Cornejo, she’s tall . . . She’s a boxer. She wants to box, stay long, and land the punches. She may want to get a body shot here and there, but her main goal is to stay long and win a fight. And if she can see that you’re hurt, she’s going with the big right hand and trying to get you out of there.”
La Diva is a former world title challenger. The resident of Los Angeles, California has fought some of the best female fighters of the last decade. She’s been in the ring against reigning undisputed 168-pound champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn and two-division world champion Kali Reis.
But unfortunately for La Diva, she lost to both of those ladies. Those bouts are indicative of Cornejo’s career. Whenever she’s stepped up in competition, she has lost.
BACK FIGHTING ON HOME SOIL
Many prognosticators have Shields as the heavy favorite. It’s the defending champion’s first fight since a hard-fought win over Savannah Marshall in October 2022 to become the undisputed 160-pound champion. It’s Shields’s first fight in the United States since a unanimous decision victory over Marie Eve-Dicaire in March 2021, when she won the undisputed title at 154.
This fight against Cornejo will occur in front of a packed arena in Detroit. Shields has craved the opportunity to fight in front of a big crowd stateside. GWOAT wants to remain unbeaten and put on a show.