Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer: All will be on the line

Claressa Shields takes on Christina Hammer in what is being termed the biggest fight in women’s boxing. The scheduled for ten rounds championship bout takes place at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on April 14 (AEDT). Both fighters are undefeated, both have versions of world titles. All will be on the line.

Although Shields is more well known worldwide, Hammer is the more experienced fighter, accumulating a 24-0 record with 11 KOs. Shields was still am amateur when Hammer picked up her first title.

Hammer is the current WBC and WBO World Female Middleweight champion. She picked up her first title in 2010 by defeating Teresa Perozzi by unanimous decision for the vacant WBO title. The WBF title was added in her next fight. Hammer then went on to add the WBC version of the title in 2016 by beating Kali Reis again by unanimous decision.

Hammer also added the WBF and WBO Super Middleweight title in 2013 in her only fight in that division. She is the youngest ever boxer to become WBO world champion.

Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) was the first U.S boxer, male or female to win 2 successive Olympic Gold medals. Shields turned pro in November 2016, won a NABF title in her second then added a WBC Silver title in her third fight. Shields went on to claim the WBC and IBF Super Middleweight titles in her fourth fight against Nikki Adler by 5th round TKO in 2017.

A move to middleweight would return two more titles when she won the vacant IBF and WBA titles, beating Hannah Gabriel’s by unanimous decision in 2018.

In November 2018, Shields would add the vacant WBC title with, Hammer being the WBC champion in recess, by defeating Scotland’s Hannah Rankin by unanimous decision.

Hannah gave me her thoughts on the fight having fought Shields and trained with Hammer.

“I think this is a genuine 50/50 fight and a fantastic fight for female boxing!” Rankin said. “When it comes down to the fight I think it’s going to be who manages to implement their game plan best.

“Christina is technically very good and has a solid long jab and in general a longer reach than Claressa but it will be about whether she can keep Claressa at range for the 10 rounds. Claressa is aggressive and throws a lot of fast shots if she gets a chance. She will have to work hard to get inside but if she does it could cause some problems for Christina. So if Christina can implement her game plan I think she wins on points but I can’t wait for this one!”

Speaking to Showtime, Shields said: “I want to erase that line between men’s boxing and women’s boxing, to give us the same opportunity given to men, to treat this fight the same”.

“We sacrifice putting our lives on hold, having kids, our families, and our friends just to give everything to boxing. This should be a game changer for women’s boxing.”

“I thought it would take years before they gave us all access and equal promotion. I thought this day would come down the line, but it’s happening right now.

“It came fast but I knew it would happen, I have a chance to become undisputed champion in just nine fights.”

“I’m going to beat her. She’s a good fighter but she’s not great, she has a lot of flaws but they haven’t been exposed because her opponents are girls who probably couldn’t even run a mile on a treadmill.”

“Those are her opponents – if she thinks she is fighting a 17-year-old that fought in the Olympics then cool, if she thinks she is fighting the one that won the 2016 Olympics cool, but I know what I am doing.

“Her ego is too high for her to accept I have improved.

“Victory will show my fans that I am the greatest woman of all time, and it adds more to the legacy of that, and shows not that I am just saying it to be super cocky.

“To be the greatest you have to do great things.”

The 28-year-old German, Hammer said: “This feels great and is a great opportunity to show the world great female boxing and that women can be strong, athletic and will be the game changer of women’s boxing.”

Event promoter Dmitriy Salita said, “This is the biggest fight in women’s boxing history. It feels very big today and I’m sure in among, a day or a year after this fight we will know that it was a historic event.”