Baltimore's Franchon Crews set to take on 2-time Olympic champion Saturday night in Las Vegas

Posted at 10:47 AM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 10:47:00-05

A boxer from Baltimore has an opportunity for some redemption.

Franchon Crews did not make it to the Olympics -- as she'd hoped to do in 2012 and 2016.  The woman who beat her out, Claressa Shields, went on to win gold medals in both games.

Now both Crews and Shields have turned pro, and their first professional fight will be Saturday night in Las Vegas, against each other.

Before leaving for Las Vegas, Crews told ABC2 News that she only got word the fight would be happening about a month ago.  Still, she said she is ready.

“I feel great,” she said.  “I look great.  My coaches are happy.  I feel good about myself and I'm just going to let it rip … I'm going to be shaking and moving like Sugar Ray Robinson.”

They call Crews the “Heavy Hitting Diva.”

ABC2 has been following Crews' career for years -- starting before her unsuccessful push to qualify for the first Olympics to include women's boxing, the 2012 games in London.

Instead, Shields beat Crews in qualifying, and went on to win gold medals in London and then again this year in Rio.

“This journey has been so emotional, draining, empowering,” Crews said.

Crews, meanwhile, has won national and world championships.  So when the opportunity to fight Shields again presented itself, she grabbed it.

“Now I'm right on the same stage with her which is awesome because we'll be making history for ourselves, for women's boxing,” Crews said.

That stage is the biggest in the boxing world -- Saturday night in at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, on the undercard of the HBO pay-per-view match between light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, and Andre Ward.

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Unlike the amateur ranks, in professional boxing Crews and Shields will not be wearing head-gear.

“What's it going to take for me to win?  It's to be myself,” Crews said.  “I can't control what she does, I just have to let myself go.”

It's being billed as a professional coming-out party -- for Shields.

“I'm still an underdog going into the fight because it's built for her to win. But anything can happen,” Crews said.

Crews said win or lose she's hoping the wider exposure of the fight might inspire younger boxers, girls and boys, to keep fighting for their dreams.

“I could change my whole life, my family and my team's life if I do the unthinkable -- defeat a two time Olympic gold medalist on national TV,” Crews said.

Crews and Shields are expected to fight around 8 p.m. Saturday. 

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