Behind every great fighter is a great team. They are ready and willing to provide a competitor with everything they need to succeed. One of the top negotiators in boxing manages one of the greatest boxers competing today.
The Sporting News recently named Claressa Shields the 2022 Women’s Boxer of the Year. This comes after a year where she became a two-time undisputed middleweight champion by beating rival Savannah Marshall. At 27, Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has seemingly done it all in only 13 fights.
Outside of her talent, part of her success is due to who she surrounds herself with. That includes former fighter and Salita Promotions’ Dmitriy Salita.
“Amazing! Great news, a great choice for sure,” said an elated Dmitriy when finding out about Shields winning the 2022 Women’s Fighter of the Year. “Claressa and I started working together from the beginning of her professional career. She was the first woman to headline premium cable network television on Showtime. Shields started to raise women’s boxing to new heights, to the next level. Our relationship began in 2017, right after she won her second Olympic gold medal. When I first met Claressa at Berston Field House, a gym in Flint, Michigan, she said, ‘Dmitriy, make the biggest and the best fights. We want to raise women’s boxing to the next level.’ That’s been the goal every time Claressa steps into the ring.
“In her fourth fight, she fought for the world title. Every one of her fights has been a number one contender fight, a unification, or something of significance. Today, Claressa is a three-division world champion and a multi-division undisputed world champion, which is quite incredible. The last fight with Savannah Marshall on October 15 was historic. It was one of the best live fights I’ve ever seen, a truly incredible performance by Claressa. She erased that slight blemish on her record from her amateur days.”
Shields’ first fight was a unanimous decision win against Franchon Crews-Dezurn. Since then, she and Salita have been a duo to be reckoned with.
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Not only does Salita work with Shields, but dominant stars and the future in Jermaine Franklin, Otto Wallin, Jarrell Miller, Moses Johnson, Vladimir Shishkin, Nikolai Potapov, and Shohjahon Ergashev. Starting at Starrett City Boxing Club, Dmitiry, a former boxer, makes fights from the perspective of the fans.
Salita wants boxing to be inclusive, not exclusive. That is the only way it has a chance to grow. Salita Promotions does not have a network (yet) to produce fights. Instead, building relationships with Bob Arum, Don King, and Eddie Hearn, among others, has resulted in his fighters appearing on massive fight cards. That includes the opportunity for Shields to recently fight Marshall on ESPN and Sky Sports.
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Shields competing on Showtime, Sky, and ESPN is complimentary to her impact on the sport of boxing. When she fought Marshall, Shields headlined an all-women’s card inside the O2 Arena. Salita has praised her passion and believes Shields excels outside of boxing.
“Claressa is a generational athlete that transcends the sport of boxing,” said Salita. “She’s not just a superstar of boxing, but a superstar in the sports world. Shields is like a Pele, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, and Michael Jordan. Claressa is wise and blessed enough to know who she is at the peak of her career. She’s using boxing as a bridge and means to progress social and women empowerment. She’s using her talent in boxing to make the world a better place.”
Shields grew up in Flint, Michigan, an area that continues to suffer through a water crisis. Salita praised Shields for making a choice every day as a child to not be influenced by negativity, believe in herself, and go to the gym.
As far as what is next for the “G.W.O.A.T.,” Salita has big plans for Shields. He believes she can be an impactful athlete in and out of the United States.
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“Because Claressa is such a significant personality, I really believe it would be amazing for her to fight in the Middle East as a woman, to fight in Africa, like Muhammad Ali,” said Salita. “Being who she is and what she’s accomplished, as a professional and amateur, to do that would be powerful. We would like to look towards those goals in 2023. Maybe even a rematch against Savannah Marshall. Natasha Jonas, I think that’s a big fight for Claressa. Claressa always wants to make the biggest and best fights.
Salita’s goal is to make the best fights and be fair to his fighters. With Shields, the 2022 Women’s Boxer of the Year, Salita is confident she can continue to change the face of women’s boxing and boxing as a whole.