Claressa Shields’ former rival Franchon Crews-Dezurn rejected on American Idol – now on the brink of fame and still has a musical dream | boxing news
“You can’t make it as a fighter and a singer,” Franchon Crews-Dezurn said of a contestant on American Idol, a bashing she used as fuel.
She still harbors a grudge against the man who said it.
“I need you to say hello to Simon Cowell,” Crews-Dezurns asks Sky Sports, noticing the English accent and making assumptions. “Contact him! »
She does a half-decent imitation of Cowell to remember his response to her performance: “‘Are you a boxer?’
“I said yes.
“‘Well, you can’t be good at everything!’
“I told him that if I didn’t win American Idol, I would win the world middleweight championship.
“I’m not middleweight, I’m super middleweight champion, and soon to be undisputed!
“So I would like to have a quick chat with him.
“I knew I was pretty good inside. But he said, ‘Don’t do it’.
“It started a fire.”
Simon Cowell’s judgments have often been questionable, recalls Crews-Dezurn. “That’s cool,” she rolls her eyes, “I take it in my stride, it’s alright.”
Music and boxing intertwined when one inadvertently led to another.
“My goal was to become a world famous singer, but I was told to lose weight,” she says.
“I was told I could lose five pounds by boxing.
“So my friend took me to a gym. I fought, broke my lip and never left!”
A bloody lip probably won’t impress American Idol panelists, it is suggested, but Crews-Dezurn has already blazed her own trail in two industries as a leading woman.
“Definitely polar opposites, singing and boxing,” she says.
“Singing, like boxing, is therapy for me. I still have aspirations for it.
“I have a few songs that I’m working on.
“Singing was my first love. It’s just me. It’s how I express myself when I’m not hitting people.”
Crews-Dezurn owns the WBC and WBO super middleweight championship and will face IBF and WBA title holder Elin Cederroos to crown the division’s first undisputed men’s or women’s champion.
“I would love to fight Franchon for any belts at 160lbs or 168lbs,” Claressa Shields said sky sports.
Shields beat Crews-Dezurn in 2016 in the women’s professional debut, but they maintain a close relationship – “we’ll fight and then go out to dinner afterwards,” says Crews-Dezurn.
Shields adds, “She’s someone who comes into the ring, not for a paycheck, but to win. She holds power and has skill.
“The fight that could change women’s boxing as a whole would be Shields vs Crews 2.
“Fighting again after all these years is the fight where people would say ‘wow’ like Marvin Hagler, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran.
“She’s the only woman who can take me to a [higher] level.
“I would love to fight her for 12 three-minute rounds. We would show the world that women can go for it.
“She’s a tough opponent. She doesn’t take no for an answer no matter what you hit her with. And I’m the same.”
Shields was a two-time Olympic gold medallist, but Crews-Dezurn was also a decorated amateur – in hindsight, it was a remarkable risk taken by both fighters on their pro debuts.
“‘Crazy’ is my middle name,” says Crews-Dezurn. “I am a risk taker.
“After our fight, you started seeing incredibly competitive women’s fights. Real fights.
“We didn’t invent the wheel, but we definitely refined it. It changed my life.
“She had to go through me to become what she is. I’ve always been the best dog to beat.
“For true fans who respect boxing, this is the greatest women’s fight.”
How would the rematch go?
“She looks like she’s kicking my ass, I say I’m kicking her ass!”
Making history would be deeply personal for Crews-Dezurn, who lost her mother five years ago.
“It would mean a lot to my family,” she says. “Becoming undisputed would make everything I’ve been through with her [worthwhile]. She fought to live and I fight to win.
“I’ve imagined it before so when it happens I want to experience it organically.”
Her mother, however, was not always thrilled that her daughter would be a boxer.
But Crews-Dezurns clarifies: “I’ve always been a fighter, always a tomboy.
“My mother was worried that my face would be damaged, but I said to her, ‘I’m going to hit them a lot more than they hit me!’
“She’s not a fan of violence. She only came to two of my fights as an amateur. She hated violence but argued that boxing was a tool to keep my life on track.
“I experienced discipline and world travel, my mum loved how boxing shaped me as a person.
“So she didn’t like violence but she liked the benefits of boxing.”
It was her mother who instilled in her the drive to “be great at everything” and to challenge boundaries.
Crews-Dezurn cites other inspirations like Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Cher – “they didn’t let anyone put them in a box”.
She says of the nickname she wears in the ring: “The Heavy Hitting Diva is not a gimmick, it’s really who I am. The older I get, the more I get to know myself as a woman.
“Yeah, I love dressing up. I love all kinds of things.
“But I’m also a real fighter, I’m really about this life. I train hard, I hit hard, I respect the sport.
“Some girls say, ‘I’m a model but I want to box’ – but they’re not really about this life. I paid my dues.”
Crews-Dezurn went two miserable weeks without her world super middleweight titles, assuming they lost in a fight against Alejandra Jimenez, the former heavyweight champion.
Then Jimenez failed a drug test, the belts were returned to their rightful owner and the result was overturned, but it was a harrowing experience for Crews-Dezurn.
She says: “I’m not comfortable with the situation in women’s boxing.
“He’s growing. I’m building my legacy and whatever mark I leave I hope will move women’s boxing forward.
“It will only get better. We will only get paid more.”
The dream fight with Shields, his friend and rival, may come one day but, more importantly, this is Crews-Dezurn’s first love.
She has a new song coming out.
“I had to prioritize training but I hit the studio!”
Here is one of his songs called “Limited Time” – Simon Cowell didn’t believe in her, but Crews-Dezurn proves people wrong, one after another.
Sky Sports Boxing Schedule
Sunday, January 30 in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs. Xavier Martinez – WBC Super Featherweight Title Eliminator
Nico Ali Walsh
Saturday 5 February in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs. Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA & WBC middleweight titles
Saturday February 19 in Manchester
Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook
Natasha Jonas vs. Ewa Piatkowska – WBO super welterweight title
Frazer Clarke’s professional debut
Saturday 26 February in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall – undisputed welterweight titles
Nick Campbell vs. Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title
Saturday, March 5 in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs. Jose Pedraza
Sunday March 20 in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs. Steve Rolls