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Claressa Shields set for first professional fight Saturday

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(AP) — She became the first American woman boxer to win a gold medal in the London Olympics, then did it again a few months ago in Rio.

Nice trinkets, but Claressa Shields has bigger things in mind. Way bigger.

“A one-in-a-century fighter,” Shields said.

The brash middleweight from Flint, Michigan, makes her pro debut Saturday night on the undercard of the Andre WardSergey Kovalev light heavyweight title clash. She’ll do it without headgear but with the same two-minute rounds as in the amateurs.

And she will do it against a familiar opponent in Baltimore boxer Franchon Crews, a top amateur she beat on her way to earning a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

“Very seldom do you see someone making their pro debut with this level of fight,” said Mark Taffet, who is Shields’ co-manager. “The idea is to use the first year and make it impactful in a way that hasn’t been done for a female fighter.”

There’s no shortage of big plans for Shields, and seemingly no lack of confidence that the 21-year-old can succeed where other women boxers haven’t. But there’s also no guarantee Shields can be a breakout fighter who can bring the kind of interest to the fractured world of women’s boxing that Ronda Rousey has to the UFC.

It may be a longshot, but that’s not stopping Shields from envisioning women’s boxing having a different future. She believes she can someday headline pay-per-view cards of her own like Ward-Kovalev at the glittering new T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I consider myself a pay-per-view attraction now,” Shields said. “The more you see me box, the more you’ll like me. I want to fight 12 rounds. If a girl could withstand me for 12 rounds, that would be a good fight.”

Shields will make her debut in a four-rounder that won’t be on the pay-per-view portion of the card. Taffet said her bout, expected to take place with few people in the arena, will be streamed online and put on specialty channels in an effort to get people to buy the Kovalev-Ward card.

Crews also will make her pro debut in the fight. She is an eight-time USA Boxing national champion and a silver medalist at the 2012 world championships.

Shields, whose story of rising out of poverty with her fists was the subject of a documentary film after her first gold medal win, said she wants to fight 10 times in the next year to build her resume and get more people interested in her.

“I believe 150 percent in my boxing ability,” she said. “I know I’m a great fighter. I fight better than 90 percent of the men who box now. I just know that, and I’m not at my best yet.”

Shields was miffed after winning her gold medal in London that she didn’t receive the kind of endorsements and attention given gymnast Gabby Douglas. Things were a bit better in Rio, where she became the first American boxer to defend an Olympic title and won the Val Barker Trophy as the tournament’s top overall fighter.

Instead of continuing to draw a $5,000 monthly stipend from USA Boxing to go for a third gold in Tokyo four years from now, though, she decided to turn pro. Despite women’s boxing receiving little attention in recent years and her bout not on pay-per-view, Shields isn’t deterred.

Taffet, who used to be head of pay-per-view for HBO, said he signed on to help manage her because he is a big believer.

“She’s going to make her mark not just on women’s boxing, but all of boxing like the way we’ve seen recently in MMA,” he said. “It’s a new world, and there’s a new sheriff in town.”

MORE: Laila Ali on Shields turning pro

Olympic Channel Broadcast Schedule: July 24 – 30

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The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA brings you access to your favorite Olympic sports and athletes year-round, 24/7.

Check the Channel Finder to see how you can watch the Olympic Channel in your area.

It is also available to stream live on OlympicChannel.com, the Olympic Channel app, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Select replays and highlights will be available on those platforms and TeamUSA.org.

See below for the latest Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA broadcast schedule, from July 24-30:

Day Program Time (ET)
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 1 – Semifinals & Finals 12:00 AM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Crossover Match #1 02:00 AM
Monday Gold Medal Entourage: Olympians Fabian Gomez, Mohamed Lahna and Alex & Maia Shibutani 03:00 AM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 2 – Heats 03:30 AM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 2 – Heats 06:00 AM
Monday Return to London: Men’s Basketball – USA vs. Lithuania (preliminary round) 06:30 AM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #1 08:30 AM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #2 10:00 AM
Monday World Games Day 3 from Wroclaw, Poland 11:30 AM
Monday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 3 from Leipzig, Germany 12:30 PM
Monday World Para Track & Field Championships Day 10 from London, England 01:30 PM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #3 02:30 PM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #4 04:00 PM
Monday Flame Catchers: London 2012 05:30 PM
Monday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 06:00 PM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #1 06:30 PM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 2 – Semifinals & Finals 08:00 PM
Monday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 4 from Leipzig, Germany 09:30 PM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 2 – Semifinals & Finals 10:30 PM
Monday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Quarterfinal #2 12:00 AM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 2 – Semifinals & Finals 01:30 AM
Monday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 03:00 AM
Monday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 3 – Heats 03:30 AM
Tuesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 3 – Heats 06:00 AM
Tuesday Return to London: Men’s Basketball – USA vs. Australia (quarterfinal) 06:30 AM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #1 08:30 AM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #2 10:00 AM
Tuesday World Games Day 4 from Wroclaw, Poland 11:30 AM
Tuesday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 4 from Leipzig, Germany 12:30 PM
Tuesday Return to Rio Women’s Water Polo: USA vs. Italy (final) 01:30 PM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #3 02:30 PM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #4 04:00 PM
Tuesday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 05:30 PM
Tuesday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 06:00 PM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #1 06:30 PM
Tuesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 3 – Semifinals & Finals 08:00 PM
Tuesday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 5 from Leipzig, Germany 10:00 PM
Tuesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 3 – Semifinals & Finals 11:00 PM
Tuesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Quarterfinal #2 01:00 AM
Tuesday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 02:30 AM
Tuesday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 03:00 AM
Tuesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 4 – Heats 03:30 AM
Wednesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 4 – Heats 06:00 AM
Wednesday Return to London: Men’s Basketball – USA vs. Argentina (semifinal) 06:30 AM
Wednesday Return to London: Track & Field – Men’s Distance Events 08:30 AM
Wednesday Return to London: Track & Field – Women’s Sprint Events 09:30 AM
Wednesday Return to London: Track & Field – Men’s Sprint Events 10:30 AM
Wednesday World Games Day 5 from Wroclaw, Poland 11:30 AM
Wednesday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 5 from Leipzig, Germany 12:30 PM
Wednesday Return to London: Women’s Water Polo – USA vs. Spain (final) 01:30 PM
Wednesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Semifinal #1 02:30 PM
Wednesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Semifinal #2 04:00 PM
Wednesday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 05:30 PM
Wednesday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 06:00 PM
Wednesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Semifinal #1 06:30 PM
Wednesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 4 – Semifinals & Finals 08:00 PM
Wednesday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 6 from Leipzig, Germany 10:00 PM
Wednesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 4 – Semifinals & Finals 11:00 PM
Wednesday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Semifinal #2 01:00 AM
Wednesday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 02:30 AM
Wednesday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 03:00 AM
Wednesday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 5 – Heats 03:30 AM
Thursday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 5 – Heats 06:00 AM
Thursday Return to London: Men’s Basketball – USA vs. Spain (final) 06:30 AM
Thursday Return to Rio: Track & Field – Men’s Distance Events 08:30 AM
Thursday Return to Rio: Track & Field – Women’s Sprint Events 09:30 AM
Thursday Return to Rio: Track & Field – Men’s Sprint Events 10:30 AM
Thursday World Games Day 6 from Wroclaw, Poland 11:30 AM
Thursday FIE World Fencing Championships Day 6 from Leipzig, Germany 12:30 PM
Thursday Gold Medal Entourage: Olympians Jaime Espinal, Miles Chamley-Watson and Devin Logan 01:30 PM
Thursday Gold Medal Entourage: Olympians Kayla Harrison, Marti Malloy, Toni-Ann Williams and Mark McMorris 02:00 PM
Thursday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Semifinal #1 02:30 PM
Thursday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Semifinal #2 04:00 PM
Thursday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 05:30 PM
Thursday Flame Catchers: London 2012 06:00 PM
Thursday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Semifinal #1 06:30 PM
Thursday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 5 – Semifinals & Finals 08:00 PM
Thursday Return to London: Track & Field – Men’s Sprint Events 10:00 PM
Thursday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 5 – Semifinals & Finals 11:00 PM
Thursday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Semifinal #1 01:00 AM
Thursday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 02:30 AM
Thursday Flame Catchers: London 2012 03:00 AM
Thursday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 6 – Heats 03:30 AM
Friday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 6 – Heats 06:00 AM
Friday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 06:30 AM
Friday Return to London: Women’s Water Polo – USA vs. Spain (final) 07:00 AM
Friday World Games Day 7 from Wroclaw, Poland 08:00 AM
Friday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Bronze Medal Match 09:00 AM
Friday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 10:30 AM
Friday FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Pool Play 11:00 AM
Friday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 02:00 PM
Friday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Gold Medal Match 02:30 PM
Friday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Bronze Medal Match 04:00 PM
Friday Return to Rio: Track & Field – Decathlon, Heptathlon, Field Events 05:30 PM
Friday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Gold Medal Match 06:30 PM
Friday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 6 – Semifinals & Finals 08:00 PM
Friday Return to Rio: Track & Field – Men’s Sprint Events 10:00 PM
Friday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 6 – Semifinals & Finals 11:00 PM
Friday FINA World Water Polo Championships Women’s Gold Medal Match 01:00 AM
Friday Flame Catchers: London 2012 02:30 AM
Friday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 03:00 AM
Friday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 7 – Heats 03:30 AM
Saturday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 7 – Heats 06:00 AM
Saturday Return to London: Women’s Beach Volleyball – USA vs. USA (final) 06:30 AM
Saturday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 07:30 AM
Saturday World Games Day 8 from Wroclaw, Poland 08:00 AM
Saturday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Bronze Medal Match 09:00 AM
Saturday Flame Catchers: Atlanta 1996 10:30 AM
Saturday FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships – Pool Play 11:00 AM
Saturday Flame Catchers: London 2012 02:00 PM
Saturday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Gold Medal Match 02:30 PM
Saturday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 7 – Semifinals & Finals 04:00 PM
Saturday FINA World Diving Championships Women’s 20m High Dive Final 05:00 PM
Saturday FINA World Water Polo Championships Men’s Gold Medal Match 06:30 PM
Saturday US Classic Gymnastics From Chicago, Illinois 08:00 PM
Saturday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 7 – Semifinals & Finals 10:00 PM
Saturday UCI BMX World Championships From Rock Hill, South Carolina 11:00 PM
Saturday US Classic Gymnastics From Chicago, Illinois 12:00 AM
Saturday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 7 – Semifinals & Finals 02:00 AM
Saturday Flame Catchers: Athens 2004 03:00 AM
Saturday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 8 – Heats 03:30 AM
Sunday Against All Odds: Fiji’s Gold Medalist Jerry Tuwai 06:00 AM
Sunday Against All Odds: Petra Majdic and the Miracle of Vancouver 06:30 AM
Sunday Return to Rio: Track Cycling & BMX 07:00 AM
Sunday World Games Day 9 from Wroclaw, Poland 08:00 AM
Sunday Flame Catchers: Sydney 2000 09:00 AM
Sunday FINA World Diving Championships Women’s 20m High Dive Final 09:30 AM
Sunday FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Pool Play 11:00 AM
Sunday US Classic Gymnastics From Chicago, Illinois 02:00 PM
Sunday ITU World Triathlon Series Women’s Sprint – Edmonton, Canada 04:00 PM
Sunday ITU World Triathlon Series Men’s Sprint – Edmonton, Canada 05:00 PM
Sunday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 8 – Semifinals & Finals 06:00 PM
Sunday FINA World Diving Championships Men’s 27m High Dive Final 08:00 PM
Sunday FINA World Swimming Championships Day 8 – Semifinals & Finals 09:30 PM
Sunday FINA World Diving Championships Men’s 27m High Dive Final 11:30 PM

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Michael Phelps loses Shark Week ‘race’ to great white (video)

Michael Phelps, Shark
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Michael Phelps was beaten by a great white shark in a Shark Week “race.”

Great White: 36.1 seconds
Michael Phelps: 38.13 seconds

Full video is here.

“I don’t like taking silver medals, but I’ll take one to a great white,” said Phelps, who complained about swimming in 50-degree water in a thin wetsuit but still called it “a dream come true.” “We don’t swim in this, so it basically just shocks our entire body. It’s almost like [the shark is] a bullet.”

The 23-time Olympic champion was not in the race water at the same time as a shark on “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White,” which aired on Discovery Channel on Sunday night.

Instead, experts determined the speeds and movements of sharks for hypothetical races. Then, Phelps dove into open water off South Africa alone with a monofin and swam to a buoy earlier this year.

VIDEO: Usain Bolt races Cheetah

Experts determined a great white could cover 100 meters in 36.1 seconds, which is much faster than Brazilian Cesar Cielo‘s 100m freestyle world record of 46.91.

They said a great white could reach up to 26 miles per hour at its fastest, meaning it could close the final 10 meters of a race in one second.

Early in the show in the Bahamas, Phelps outswam a hypothetical reef shark but was beaten by a hammerhead’s late surge in a 50-meter race.

Michael Phelps, Shark

The show used Phelps’ world record 100m butterfly swim from the 2009 World Championships for reference, saying he reached about 5.5 miles per hour at the end of the race.

A shark was super-imposed into a lane in that worlds race and easily outdistanced Phelps in the last 25 meters.

Phelps will star on the final night of Shark Week in “Shark School with Michael Phelps” next Sunday at 8 ET.

“Michael Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab to get a crash course on everything ‘shark,'” according to Discovery Channel. “They’ll dispel the myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with sharks – including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face – and will get Michael Phelps up close and personal with the incredible power of a great white.”

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MORE: Phelps says he doesn’t have itch to return to unretire

Michael Phelps, Shark
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