IBF and WBA Women’s Middleweight World Championship
Claressa Shields – 159 ½ lbs.
Hanna Gabriels – 159 ½ lbs.
Referee: Gerard White (California); Judges: Michael Ancona (Ohio), Jeremy Hayes (Toronto, Canada), Pasquale Procopio (Montreal, Canada)
WBC and WBO Women’s Middleweight World Championship
Christina Hammer – 159 ½ lbs.
Tori Nelson – 157 ½ lbs.
Referee: Frank Garza (Michigan); Judges: Katealia Chambers (Michigan), Benoit Roussel (Montreal), Pasquale Procopio (Montreal, Canada)
Light Heavyweight 10-Round Bout
Umar Salamov – 174 ½ lbs.
Brian Howard – 174 ½ lbs.
Referee: Sam Williams (Michigan); Judges: Ansel Stewart (Michigan), Michael Ancona (Ohio), Pasquale Procopio (Montreal, Canada)
“I have John David Jackson now and I’ve learned so much from him since we got together back in February. I’ve had coaches in the past who tried to change my style and game, but at the end of the day I just have to go in there and fight like I know how to.
“Being in Flint for my last camp, you wouldn’t believe all the things I had to deal with. Just stuff that shouldn’t be happening to a world champion. It was stressful, and I was stressed even the week of the fight [in January]. I had to get out. I was able to train in Florida this time around.
“[Hanna’s] a good fighter. She has skills and just the way she carries herself. She’s very calm and her facial expressions never change. I watched the fight where she got knocked out, and even then her facial expressions didn’t change. I think she’s tough, but not as tough as I am. I know I’m the better fighter.
“Tori underestimated my power. I think Tori has a punchers’ chance [against Hammer]. I don’t wrap my career around Hammer. Our lives don’t intertwine. I have to worry about what’s in front of me. I’m not going to watch that fight.
“I was focused on my diet for this fight. I don’t have much family in Florida and didn’t have any distractions.”
“We need to step up to the plate and make sure our game plan is on point and we give the fans what they want to see, which is a great fight. You have to overcome a lot and sacrifice to get to this point, and my team has done that.
“I’ve never feared anyone. Words don’t do anything. When I get in the ring I’m going to be a beast.
“I’m OK with whatever comes, win or loss. I’m a champion and that’s my mentality in the ring. We’re going for the victory, and I’m appreciating everything that’s happening preparing for this fight.
“I don’t underestimate her power. But boxing isn’t just about power, there’s so much more. You can be powerful, but can you land the punch? Can it be precise? There are so many things going on in the ring that you have to worry about.”
“I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to fight back in January because of my visa issues.
“I was at the Claressa Shields-Tori Nelson fight and now it’s my turn to get in the ring. I like to go forward and be aggressive. When you can finish, you finish. The American people will like my style.
“Boxing is my passion and my job, and I’m prepared and looking forward to this. Now the day is here and it’s on SHOWTIME. We aren’t thinking about Claressa Shields. Out of respect to Tori Nelson, I’m focused on this fight only.”
“I’m a power puncher and I’ve been using my legs more in camp so this camp has been so much different than what I’m used to.
“They say lighting strikes only once, but I got another chance. I am so grateful I got the call for this fight. This is my second chance. A lot of people don’t get second chances.
‘I really have something to prove. A lot of people have believed in me and I’ve got to show what I can do in the ring.
“I think Christina is overlooking me. It’s disrespectful but I’m glad. It’s better for me that she does overlook me.”
“This fight is going to be a good test. I know I can make it into the top 10, and this is my start.
“There’s a big difference living here in Detroit, but it’s a lot like Moscow, a big city.
“I love to fight, and this is a dream come true coming to America. Brian Howard is a tough opponent. It will not be an easy fight but I’m confident I can beat him.”
“I have a little bit of ring rust, but I’m going to be sharp. I’ve prepared well and I’m in shape. I have great metabolism, and can lose weight easily.
“I took my first loss in 2012 and after I took that loss I didn’t have the support I needed. I got back into it and it was just tough getting a fight. I got a lot of nos.
“I’ve seen some tape of my opponent. But you don’t know if he will change or bring something else.
“I box better than I play football. My nickname is MVP – Most Vicious Puncher.
“I don’t look at it that I’m the B-side fighter. This is a real opportunity for me, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
Photos; Credit Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME
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