Professional boxer and mixed martial artist Claressa Shields is putting up a good fight for equal pay in women’s boxing, advocating that the ladies are just as capable as the men.
“We are as great as the men,” she told FOX Business’ “Making Money with Charles Payne” Wednesday. “I know for a fact that I am.”
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, highlighted the major discrepancies between men's and women’s boxing, including a pay gap owed to less time spent inside the ring. According to the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) regulatory guidelines, male boxing may not exceed 12 three-minute rounds while female boxing is limited to 10 two-minute rounds.
Shields said she and her fellow female fighters are willing to put in the work to earn the same pay as their male colleagues if they are permitted the extra time to complete more money-making performances and knockouts.
“Women's boxing didn’t put those rules down for us to fight two minutes. The men did,” she explained. “And I feel like they did that to keep us at our pay wages to where we don’t make as much as them, because we don’t fight the same time.”
“We are willing to fight three-minute rounds for 12 rounds to even the playing field to where we say, ‘We want equal pay. We’re also putting in the equal work.'”
Soccer star Alex Morgan, basketball player Sue Bird, swimmer Simone Manuel and snowboarder Chloe Kim have recently joined forces to create TOGETHXR – a media company designed to elevate women’s voices. Shields described their efforts as “super important” for the representation of female athletes.
“Women’s boxing is on the forefront,” she said. “We’re not in the shadows anymore ... The young girls can see, like, we have things coming up like this pay-per-view on [Friday] March 5 ... This is huge for women’s boxing.”
Shields will be headlining the all-female showcase in her hometown of Flint, Michigan against Canadian Marie-Eve Dicaire. A victory would make Shields the undisputed female light middleweight champion of the world.
Friday's event is the first women's fight to headline a boxing pay-per-view showcase in 20 years.