Following a difficult year in her boxing career, American boxer Claressa Shields made the decision to work towards increased media attention and appreciation for female boxers. COVID-19 put a pause on many careers in sport, though for Shields, the pandemic gave her the opportunity to step back and recognize the divide between men and women’s boxing and to put together a plan.
On March 5th, 2020 this plan saw the spotlight when a boxing match between Shields’ and Marie-Eve Dicaire of Canada was broadcasted worldwide. The match was just a part of a night involving multiple female fights, an event organized by Shields’ promoter and manager, as a step in the right direction concerning women’s rights and opportunities in sport.
There was much anticipation leading up to the event, as the risk of low viewing numbers was present, and this could give broadcasters an explanation as to why they are not apt to show female fights. Luckily, the event was highly successful, and surpassed expectations for projected sales. Shields expressed such gratitude for the success of the event and hopes that the public seeing the entertainment and athleticism surrounding these female athletes will inspire a new generation of female athletes, and especially female boxers, to fight for what they deserve. In addition to encouraging future female boxers, female sports have been underrecognized in the media for years, which contributes to the social construction of what an athlete is. Shields hopes that the success of this event will prove to broadcasters that female sports are of interest to spectators and are worthy of media coverage.