World champion boxer Claressa Shields shocked fans by challenging Keith Thurman to a mixed-gender boxing match over the weekend.
Thurman, a former unified welterweight world champion who only lost one fight, added to the fans' shock by accepting Shields' challenge.
Y’all the reason I’m trending 🤣 i’m in the gym already getting ready for One time https://t.co/ahISeNpZkH
— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) August 1, 2023
The three-weight world champion and currently the undisputed middleweight world champion initially tweeted: "I’ll fight Thurman at 154lbs so serious. All the respect in the world to him too. I just think I can outbox him."
In response, Thurman told Sporting News: "I did not see it [the tweet], but I've already got text messages all about it. Look, I can fight for any charity event, we can raise money and let you try to showcase your skills and talent. I'd probably use my jab only."
"But at the end of the day, I don't know why you wanna gun after me, I've heard you say my name so many times in the past, but this is not what boxing is to me. If the fans were actually interested in something like this, it's not really in my heart, but for the people and for charity I would make something like that happen. I would wear bigger gloves, I would let her wear smaller gloves. I would let her wear headgear too."
"I don't really wanna punch a girl in the face."
Well…. Lol 😂 https://t.co/ckNiHpWXGA
— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) August 2, 2023
Shields reacted to Thurman's response by tweeting: "Aww @KeithFThurmanJr you are hilarious.
"Yes you are a man and 1x champion BUT you are not good enough to only use one hand on me. Now for charity, or raising money for a foundation we can definitely do it. I’ll come in at 160lbs too, I’m actually bigger than you and taller. And lastly if we are 'sparring' of course I’ll wear a headgear, but for a charity event or raising money for a foundation you can keep the head gear bookie butt."
"And you can wear a big cup shield cause I’m gonna punch you hard in the stomach...
"Keith said he don’t want to punch a girl in the face. Well I want to punch a man named Keith in the face for charity."
She then hit back at fans and added: "Lol it’s the crying for me, 'We love you GWOAT but you ain’t knocking out women how you gonna KO @KeithFThurmanJr!'
"I never said I’d KO him, I said, 'I think I can outbox him.'
"But hey, even that got y’all upset! #TRAININGCAMP HAS STARTED."
— Claressa Gwoat Shields (@Claressashields) August 3, 2023
Shields is no stranger to calling out male boxers - she first began in 2021 when she challenged Jake Paul, asserting that she could triumph over him in a boxing match due to her experience sparring with male fighters of superior skill. Shields' called out Paul again after his recent match against former UFC star Nate Diaz on Saturday, 6 August.
“the skill being displayed is mediocre” I’m crying 😂😂😂 https://t.co/PKm5Nup8JX
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 6, 2023
Jake Paul has not responded to Shield's challenge.