Boxing champion and MMA star Claressa Shields refused to fight on the undercard of a Jake Paul bout, and claimed she would “beat him up” if the pair met in the ring.
Speaking at the Professional Fighter League press conference, Shields was offended by the suggestion of fighting on the same card as Paul, a celebrity boxer with 20 million YouTube subscribers.
“Don’t ever disrespect me,” she said. “I would never fight on the undercard of Jake Paul. I’m a three-division world champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing.”
“[Jake Paul] was having a circus show. No disrespect to Tyron Woodley [Paul’s last opponent] or Jake Paul, but I’m a real boxer.
“I could beat up Jake Paul at the weight class I’m at right now. I would never fight on the undercard of someone who does not possess the skills or accomplishments that I have.”
Shields was asked about appearing on the same card as Paul after fellow boxer Amanda Serrano was the co-main event at Paul’s last fight in August.
Serrano defeated Yamileth Mercado to retain her WBC, WBO and IBO featherweight titles.
“I don’t know what Amanda Serrano’s purse was – I think it was $75,000 to $100,000 [£56,000 to £74,000]. I would never fight another boxing match for that money because I’m worth so much more. I’m a $1 million [£742,000] fighter.”
The 26-year-old Shields is the only boxer in history, female or male, to hold all four major world titles in boxing, simultaneously, in two weight classes.
She is also a double Olympic gold medallist, triumphing at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Shields won her MMA debut against Brittney Elkin in June.
Paul first entered the world of boxing in 2018, when he defeated British YouTuber Deji Olatunji in an amateur bout. He then turned professional in January 2020, beating another YouTuber, AnEsonGib.
The 24-year-old has won his remaining three fights, although they have been against a former NBA basketball player and an MMA fighter. He is hoping to line up Love Island star Tommy Fury as his next opponent.
Paul’s bouts have often been described as “gimmicks”, and he has also attracted criticism for stunts pulled during filming for his YouTube channel.
He has previously faced criminal charges, and he has been accused of two counts of sexual misconduct, which he denies.