Claressa Shields

Claressa Shields: I would fight Ronda Rousey

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Olympic champion boxer Claressa Shields and undefeated UFC star Ronda Rousey might just be the two most feared female fighters on the planet.

Shields, though, could see a set of circumstances where she would step into a ring and a cage with Rousey.

“I’m not ever doing mixed martial arts,” Shields said, according to ESPN.com. “I don’t understand the sport. Ronda is great at what she does, but, for one thing, I don’t know how to wrestle. I’m a straight boxer. I know the sweet science. I don’t know how to fight off the ground or be on the ground.

“But in the middle of my professional career [after turning pro following the 2016 Olympics], if Ronda wants to transfer over to boxing, I’ll box her and we can make a deal. First, she boxes me, then I go into the MMA ring … I know for a fact I would beat her in boxing. That’s simple. But MMA? Uh, no. I’d give [the win] to her, but I would give her a fight.”

Shields, 20, hasn’t lost since winning gold at the first Olympics to include women’s boxing in 2012. She has just one defeat overall and can run her record to 60-1 with a Pan Am Games title Friday, according to ESPN.com.

The Flint, Mich., native is so intimidating that her 2014 World Championships first-round opponent’s trainer threw in the towel to end the fight at the 11-second mark. She was named Outstanding Boxer of the Tournament across all divisions.

A challenge for Shields, who has sparred with a boyfriend, has been finding women willing to compete against her.

Rousey, too, is running out of opponents. The 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist is 11-0 in four years since switching to mixed martial arts, her most recent bout ending in 14 seconds on Feb. 28.

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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