Claressa Shields on Toy Drive, Confirms Next Fight Will Be for PFL, Early 2024

Claressa Shields is giving back to the community in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding areas, hosting her annual toy drive for the fourth year running on Saturday, December 23, 2023.

Growing up, the undisputed, multi-time, multi-weight women’s boxing champ and PFL mixed martial artist was the recipient of that same kind of generosity.

“December is one of the biggest times to give throughout the year,” Shields explained in a recent interview with Cageside Press. “For me, why I wanted to do the Christmas giveaway was because, growing up, I grew up and I didn’t have a whole lot, but I really do remember the times when I went to the Church, and I had to pick up my gifts there, from the Church. You never knew what was in the boxes, but it was never nothing that I wanted. So to give the kids a chance to pick the gifts that they actually want, and just to be able to give back, means a lot to me.”

It’s not just Christmas that sees Claressa Shields giving back. Through her Shields Community Outreach Program, she’s helping those in need in the community throughout the year. “I just want to do what I can to help families around Flint, especially during these hard times. People don’t really realize how hard it is during the holidays. I’m talking about Thanksgiving, where all the families get together and have these big old dinners. Some people can’t afford those big dinners. And then also back-to-school giveaways, we do Easter bike giveaways, turkey giveaways, hats and coats. To be able to help them— we can make it easier for them throughout the year.”

While Shields’ name is on the foundation’s letterhead, “I wouldn’t really say that I lead the Claressa Shields annual Christmas giveaway. I would say I partner with other organizations that really want to give back to the community in a large way.”

As she went on to put it, “my name is on the forefront of it because when I mention things, the kids come out, the parents come out, and they know it’s going to be very organized and very neat, when it has my name involved. So that’s why I do it, and it’s just really to help the families. Yeah it’s to make the kids happy, but it’s to help the families. Because I remember all the help that I got growing up, and us going to the free food places and stuff like that. And it just made me feel not left out.”

Shields has come a long way from that point. She now holds more titles in boxing than you can shake a stick at, with a perfect 14-0 record. The 28-year old picked up another win this past summer, scoring another big victory, this time over Maricela Cornejo.

Despite retaining her WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, WBF, and The Ring women’s middleweight titles with the unanimous decision win, it will be the cage Claressa Shields returns to next. She confirmed that, telling Cageside Press that “I will be in the cage between New Years and April. I will be returning back to the cage first, and then I’ll be having boxing matches after.”

No opponent has been revealed, said Shields, but that doesn’t have her concerned. “No, it’s just my job to get ready for my opponent,” she stated. “I don’t ever know who they are til PFL lets me know, and it’s just my job to be prepared. So I’m just in the gym training, learning the ground stuff, learning how to throw some more MMA combinations, mixing up the kicks with the hands. Just knowing how to cage fight, knowing how to ground fight, knowing how to do jiu-jitsu and wrestling. That’s just my job. I don’t worry myself with who the opponent is because a fight is a fight no matter who it’s against.”

Shields also let slip that she’s already been in the gym training for an MMA fight, though things will get even more intense after the holidays. And while the PFL has seemingly moved on from the women’s lightweight division, eschewing it in favor of 145lbs this past year, Shields intends to stay at 155.

“Absolutely. I’m fighting at 55,” she confirmed to Cageside Press.

Watch our full interview with boxing champ/PFL star Claressa Shields above.