Shields: ‘I’m 100% ready to display my skills against Ema Kozin’

 Boxing superstar Claressa “G.W.O.A.T.” Shields will make her long awaited U.K. debut on Saturday, February 5, kicking off Black History Month by defending her WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titles against undefeated #1 ranked challenger Ema Kozin live on pay-per-view in the U.S. and Canada.

The four-fight pay-per-view telecast will begin at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT with Shields vs. Kozin serving as the co-main event to the highly-anticipated headliner between middleweight contenders Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Williams. Shields signed a lucrative multi-fight deal with promoter Boxxer and broadcaster SKY Sports in the U.K. that has put her on the path toward a superfight showdown with WBO Middleweight Champion Savannah Marshall in 2022.

Marshall owns an amateur victory over Shields, the only boxing defeat she has ever suffered in the amateur or pro ranks. Shields must emerge victorious on February 5 to clinch her long-awaited revenge match against Marshall.

“I’m eager to get back in the ring and I can’t wait to return to boxing on February 5 in the U.K.,” said Shields, who is training in her hometown of Flint, Michigan with her coach John David Jackson. “We’ve been pushing through the delays so that I’m 100% ready to display my skills against Ema Kozin. I’m going to give her a beating that’s going to make Savannah Marshall regret agreeing to face me. This is going to be a performance you’re not going to want to miss.”

The 26-year-old Shields defeated the previously unbeaten and then IBF World Super Welterweight Champion Marie-Eve Dicaire in March of last year to make history and become the first boxer in the four-belt era to be an undisputed world champion in two weight classes. Shields has made history throughout her boxing life, as she is also the only fighter in U.S. Olympic boxing history to win two gold medals with wins in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.

Korobov: ‘I couldn’t fight with just one arm, especially being a southpaw’

In the co-featured bout, Chris Eubank Jr.‘s (29-2, 22 KOs) long-awaited United States debut ended in frustrating fashion as his opponent, Matt Korobov (28-3-1, 14 KOs), suffered a bout-ending injury at just :34 of the second round. Because it was ruled a self-inflicted injury, the result was officially declared a TKO victory for Eubank, who picked up the Interim WBA Middleweight Title.

Korobov, a top contender in the middleweight division, injured his left shoulder after throwing a punch that failed to land. After consulting with the ringside doctor, it was deemed that he would be unable to continue.

“I felt like I was about to get my swagger on,” Eubank told SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray following the stoppage. “He just turned around and stopped. I was going to go jump on him. I guess something happened with his shoulder. There’s nothing to take from the fight. I threw like three or four punches. I was just warming up.”

In the buildup to the fight, Eubank, the son of British boxing legend and former two-division world champion Chris Eubank Sr., repeatedly said that there would be a new contender in the stacked middleweight division. Despite not getting a chance to introduce himself to the American audience in the way he envisioned, Eubank is looking ahead to a busy 2020.

“I’m the winner, I’m going to move forward and challenger for these belts,” said Eubank. “This wasn’t my dream.  My dream was to come here to America and make a statement. Now that I’ve landed and I settled with the new promotional team, I feel I can get the ball rolling for an active 2020.  It’s a shame it had to start like this, but it is what it is.”

“I was trying to throw the left hand straight, and I just felt the muscle immediately, like I pulled it,” said Korobov. “It was a lot of pain right away. I couldn’t fight with just one arm, especially being a southpaw.

Eubank Jr. on Charlo: ‘I intend to prove that he is not on my level’

Middleweight star Chris Eubank Jr. shared his thoughts on their upcoming showdown for the Interim WBA Middleweight Title taking place Saturday, December 7 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.

The middleweight division will take center stage on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) that is headlined by undefeated WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo defending his title against highly-ranked contender Dennis Hogan. In the opening bout of the telecast, former world champions Marlon Tapales and Ryosuke Iwasa will meet for an interim 122-pound title.

Eubank will make his U.S. pro debut on December 7, after establishing himself as a contender at 160 and 168 pounds while fighting in his native United Kingdom. He most recently registered a career-best win over former champion James DeGale in February on SHOWTIME in London but will now move back down to 160 pounds to seek a title at middleweight beginning with the fight against Korobov.

Korobov will return to fight at Barclays Center for the second time nearly one year after losing a close decision to Charlo as a late replacement opponent last December in Brooklyn. After fighting to a controversial draw against Immanuwel Aleem in May, Korobov will look to make a statement against Eubank to earn another shot at a world title.

Here is what Eubank had to say about a future fight with Charlo and more:

CHRIS EUBANK JR.

 How does it feel to be making your U.S. pro debut on December 7? What are you looking to show the U.S. fans in this fight?

“It’s always been a dream of mine to fight in the U.S. Even with everything I’ve done in the sport over in the U.K, I’ve always felt there was something missing and I believe it was the urge to introduce myself and my fight style to the American audience of fight fans. Now I have my opportunity.”

Why did you make the decision to move down to middleweight for this fight? In what ways are you stronger at 160-pounds?

“I’ve never been a real super middleweight. I walk around at 170 pounds out of competition and have to eat breakfast the day of my weigh-ins to make 168. I believe at 160 I am going to be a beast now that I have become accustomed to fighting much bigger fighters over the last three years.”

What do you know about Korobov as a fighter and how do you see this fight going stylistically? 

“I think Korobov will be awkward until I pin him down and when I do, I will show the audience why I am a fan friendly fighter.”

If you’re able to get past Korobov, what would you think of a fight against Jermall Charlo? What advantages do you think you have in that fight?

“When I dispatch of Korobov, Charlo is definitely the name that’s on my radar. He is seen as one of the elite fighters in the middleweight division and I intend to prove that he is not on my level. It will be satisfying stamping my mark on the division against Charlo after I beat Korobov. I think it will be a great fight for the fans as together our styles would make for a very exciting bout.”

DeGale-Eubank Jr. set for February 23

James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr will clash at London’s O2 on February 23 in the first major UK event of the new deal between ITV and Haymon Sports’ Premier Boxing Champions, it has been announced.

The Super Middleweight match, to be screened exclusively live on ITV Box Office, will take place against a backdrop of hostility between two fighters who have long made no secret of their mutual dislike and are relishing the prospect of settling their differences in the ring.

James DeGale has already fired off an opening shot in the direction of his opponent.

“Really excited and looking forward to being back home to a fight of this magnitude,” DeGale said. “I believe Eubank doesn’t have the pedigree, the size and skill to beat me. Eubank is a decent fighter but every time he has stepped up he has been found out. He has called my name for a long time so now I’ve finally got my chance to zip his lips.”

Eubank Jr responded in kind, saying: “DeGale is going to get the schooling of his career. A good old-fashioned hiding.”

Poxon Sport is the promoter of DeGale v Eubank Jr, as the exclusive promoter of all UK PBC events on ITV.

Full details of the undercard and how to access this ITV Box Office PPV event across all platforms will be announced and made available in due course. For updated and further information, please go to  www.itvboxoffice.com

News of the DeGale v Eubank Jr showdown follows the announcement at the end of December of two major world title fights to be shown free to air on ITV4 as part of the broad scope of the ITV and PBC deal. On Sunday, January 13, Jose Uzcategui defends his IBF Super Middleweight World Championship against unbeaten top challenger Caleb Plant.  Coverage will come live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The following weekend, on 19 January, ITV4’s coverage will come live from Las Vegas where Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBA world welterweight title against Adrien Broner.  The exclusive ITV4 coverage will also include the much-anticipated showdown between Badou Jack and Marcus Browne for the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight title.

Late last year, ITV announced a ground-breaking new deal with Haymon Sports and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to bring exclusive coverage of exciting PBC world-class boxing events to ITV viewers and fight fans in the UK.

The unique collaboration is the first time that Haymon Sports and PBC has partnered with a UK broadcaster to stage boxing events regularly in the UK. The exclusive three-year deal will guarantee a minimum of 15 televised events each year, drawing from PBC’s unrivalled group of over 160 of the best boxers in the world, which includes more than 60 current and former world champions in matches staged both in the UK and the US. PBC, the sports’ pre-eminent boxing brand, is broadcast over cable and network television in the United States.

The world-class action from events for the next three years will include free-to-air broadcasts on ITV’s channels, including ITV main channel and ITV4 and ITV Hub, and will also include pay per views on ITV’s PPV channel, ITV Box Office.

This new deal for boxing adds to ITV Sport’s portfolio of first class events, which includes exclusive free to air coverage of the England football team’s qualifiers for both the European Championship and World Cup, the 6 Nations and exclusive coverage of the Rugby World Cup, UK horse racing, the Tour de France and the French Open.