By: Sean Crose
“We’ve been going twice a day every day except Sunday for five-straight weeks,” says WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight champ Claressa Shields. “We put in lots of rounds sparring, tons of sprinting, pad work, push-ups, crunches and drills to help with my head movement.” Shields has been training hard for her April 13th bout against WBO middleweight champ Christina Hammer. A rare fight for an undisputed championship, the bout will air live on Showtime from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. “I don’t want the belts handed to me,” she says. “I’m coming to win every round on April 13.”
Shields travelled to Miami this week after weeks of camp at the US Olympic Training Center, which is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I’ve put my body through so much on this camp,” says Shields, “and now it’s time to start cutting it down a bit. I’m in great shape and my weight is on point. I’m also in a great place mentally and very happy with this camp overall.” With the fight now just weeks away, the 8-0 Shields intends to keep sharp in order to be in prime form for her 24-0 opponent, Hammer.
“My main focus now,” Shields says, “is trying to relieve my body while keeping my conditioning…I’m making sure that I go into fight week with no injuries or soreness. I’ve been in Colorado for over a month and it was time for some new scenery.” While the weather in Florida can clearly be nicer this time of year than the weather in Colorado, Shields didn’t go to Miami for a vacation. “I’m still going to be training very hard in Florida,” the native of Flint, Michigan claims. “I just need a little more sunshine and the additional space that’s provided for me down here. We did what we had to do in Colorado. Florida is just an ideal environment all-around and a happy place for me to be these last couple weeks.”
Although Shields is not known for her knockout power – she’s only had two fights that haven’t gone the distance – she is clearly more lauded in America than her more experienced German counterpart. Olympic gold and big backing can do that for a fighter. Still, Shields aims to show she’s more than just hype when she steps into the ring a few weeks from now. “I know what I can and will do on April 13,” Shields says. “I already told Christina I’m going to beat her and mess her up. I’m taking this fight 100 percent seriously. I’m going to go out there and dominate her.”