Shields to challenge for light-heavyweight world titles

Claressa Shields will move up to light-heavyweight to challenge Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse for the unified championship on 27 July in Detroit.

American Shields, 29, will be aiming to become a four-weight world champion.

The vacant WBO light-heavyweight title will be on the line, as well as Lepage-Joanisse's WBC belt.

"This is a significant and unique fight where I am moving up two weight classes against a very tough champion in my quest to become world champion in my fourth weight division," Shields said.

Lepage-Joanisse's WBC title is classified as 'heavyweight' by the sanctioning body but it is contested at the light-heavyweight limit of 12st 7lb (175lb).

Canadian Lepage-Joanisse is one of two reigning light-heavyweight world champions as the WBA and WBO do not have a current belt holder.

The 28-year-old has seven wins and one defeat on her professional record, having won the WBC title in March.

"It doesn't matter to me whether it's Claressa or someone else. My life is all about challenges," Lepage-Joanisse said.

Shields is considered one of the best female fighters in the world and was the first fighter, male or female, to win undisputed titles in two different weight classes.

The Flint native last fought in boxing a year ago when she successfully defended her WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC and Ring magazine middleweight titles against Maricela Cornejo.

Shields also fights in MMA and competed in her third bout in February, defeating Kelsey De Santis on points as they became the first women to compete in a professional mixed martial arts fight in Saudi Arabia.

Shields is undefeated in 14 pro boxing fights.

Her heaviest weight was when she fought at super-middleweight in 2017 and 2018 when she was around the 12st (168lbs) limit.

Lepage-Joanisse weighed in at 12st 5lb (173lb) for her last fight.

More boxing from the BBC