Press Conference Quotes: Christina Hammer vs. Claressa Shields
Two undefeated middleweight champions went face-to-face Tuesday as Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer met in New York at a press conference ahead of their battle for the undisputed women’s middleweight championship Saturday, April 13 live on SHOWTIME from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
The SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will feature a long-awaited unification in what is arguably the most significant event in women’s boxing history. In addition to world titles from all four sanctioning bodies, this fight will be for the Ring Magazine Women’s Middleweight Championship, the first time a Ring divisional title has been at stake in a women’s boxing match.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are priced at $150, $100, $55 and $35 and are on sale Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and at boardwalkhall.com. Pre-sale tickets are available now at the link HERE by using the code BOXING.
Also on Tuesday, SHOWTIME Sports announced that it will chronicle the buildup to Shields vs. Hammer with a two-part digital installment of the Sports Emmy® Award winning programing ALL ACCESS. ALL ACCESS: SHIELDS vs. HAMMER will premiere on March 29 with the second installment on April 5 on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and take viewers into the training camps of both champions. Cameras will be embedded with Shields at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and with Hammer in the town of Seefeld in the Austrian Alps as the undefeated rivals prepare for the most significant fight of their careers.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Tuesday from Dream Hotel Downtown in Manhattan:
“This has been long overdue. I’m just glad that Hammer is here and the fight is set. She’s been at my fights before but I can’t wait to get inside the ring and show her I’m the real champion.
“I’ve traveled to many different countries and dethroned champions around the world. At the end of the day, I’m coming to fight and I recognize that she’s a great champion. To be a champion for all those years shows that she’s a good fighter. But I also look at resumes, and her resume is not as good as mine.
“I’m not someone coming to lay down. I’m not afraid of her. You don’t win belts by talking. You have to fight. I said two years ago I want to fight Christina Hammer in my seventh fight. It would have been if it weren’t for her medical issue. But now we’re here and ready for April 13.
“April 13 you’re going to see someone fold. I promise you, it will not be me. Make sure you all tune-in.
“I think for women’s boxing this is a true super fight that we’ve never gotten before. We’ve never had a fight like this in women’s boxing. It’s great to make this happen and us being from two parts of the world makes this fight even better.
“She’s not the tallest girl I’ve ever fought. I’m stronger than her and I know it. I got up from a knockdown and won. She can’t do that. I don’t believe she knows how to fight on the inside, but she better learn.
“I want to make her quit. I don’t want her to just know I’m a good fighter, I want her to know I’m great. I wish we could go 12 rounds, but I’ll be prepared for all 10 rounds.”
“I’m very glad to be here and make this fight happen. I’m looking forward to April 13. I want to show the world who I am.
“This is a big risk to come from Germany to the U.S., but I believe the best should fight the best and I did what I had to so that this could happen. This fight can be a game changer for our sport.
“I will give everything to step out of the ring as a winner. I know Claressa Shields is also a great champion. She’s undefeated like me and that’s why people want to see the fight and that’s why we made it happen.
“I want to thank everyone who made this fight a reality and brought us to this stage. It’s huge for me to be here in New York and I am looking to win on April 13.
“This fight is the real deal. This is going to be a game changer for women’s boxing. I think we’re going to inspire a lot of female athletes who want to live their dream. It’s motivation for everyone.
“I’ve had the title for a long time. I always push myself. This is the fight I wanted to show everyone who is the best. I will be the undisputed champion.
“Shields is beatable. Hanna Gabriels caught her in the first round of their fight and I am taller and stronger than Gabriels. I want to finish the job if I get the chance.
“Anything can happen in boxing. I’m prepared to go the distance. Knockout is the goal but most importantly, I want to win.”
DMITRIY SALITA, President of Salita Promotions
“I’m honored to bring to the fans the first super fight in women’s boxing history. A lot of questions surround this fight. Will this be a classic like Leonard vs. Hearns, where the gold medalist handles the experienced pro, or like Mosley vs. De La Hoya, where the boxing pro took the gold medalist down. This fight is going to be for all of the belts and this recognizes the true value and impact of this fight.
“Christina Hammer has been a world champion for over nine years and has won titles in two divisions. She’s charismatic and a superstar in Germany and Europe. As a champion that she is, she’s traveling to the other side of the world to prove that she’s the best.
“Claressa made the Olympic team when she was 17 years old, winning our only boxing medal at the 2012 Olympic games. She’s the only boxer in U.S. history to win two Olympic gold medals in boxing. She’s had a very impressive pro career, beating world champions and top contenders in all her fights. She’s on her journey to be the best and this fight is a big step toward cementing herself as the GWOAT (greatest woman of all time).
“This is going to be a historic night of boxing. If you watch this fight live and in-person, you will want to hold onto your ticket as a memento.”
MARK TAFFET, Claressa Shields’ Manager
“The media support for this fight is outstanding. This is a very special time. This fight is one of the most significant fights I’ve worked on in my career, because of the place it will hold in history.
“Two years ago I met Claressa Shields and we discussed her turning pro. We made a list of dreams and I promised Claressa I would do everything in my power to fulfill every one of them. We’ve had a wonderful journey together. One of those dreams was to make this undisputed championship fight happen. We’re going to keep making dreams happen.”
TOM LOEFFLER, Christina Hammer’s Advisor
“Without the fighters wanting this fight, events like this wouldn’t happen. Christina Hammer wants this challenge and she wants to prove she’s the best middleweight champion out there.
“These two fighters can be an example for a lot of male boxers. These are two undefeated fighters in their prime putting it all on the line to show who is the best. You don’t see that very often these days.
“This is going to be a fun promotion. This is a fight that’s a real 50-50 fight. Claressa will be coming forward with her style and tenacity, going up against Christina’s experience. It’s for all the marbles”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“Let’s get one thing straight here. This isn’t just an important women’s fight. This isn’t just a high-quality women’s boxing match. This is a high-quality boxing match. This is an important fight. So certainly we have two very skilled women, we’re not going to ignore that fact. But this is one of the best fights that can be made in this sport. Two pound-for-pound boxers, the best fighting the best. If you are not interested in this fight, then candidly, you are not a boxing fan. This is as good as this sport gets.
“We at SHOWTIME have a long history showcasing the best in women’s boxing and MMA. Names like Laila Ali, Christy Martin, Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg.; those are all fighters who made their debuts and that became stars on SHOWTIME. This has been a long-time commitment.
“The first nationally televised women’s MMA event was on SHOWTIME. The first domestic televised MMA women’s main event was on SHOWTIME. The first women’s boxing match that was nationally televised was on SHOWTIME. The first women’s main event boxing bout was also on SHOWTIME, and that obviously was Claressa just a couple of years ago.
“So here on this stage you’ve got two of the most elite athletes in the sport. Not two of the elite women’s fighters in the sport, but two of the elite athletes within this sport. Two-time gold medalist, the only American to do that consecutively, and a two-belt world champion versus a longtime middleweight champion who has dominated this division for nearly a decade.
“This is one of the best fights that can be made in the entire sport. We have two of the elite athletes in boxing and they are deserving of having everything that comes with a marquee event on SHOWTIME, including our Emmy Award-winning All Access series.”
JIM WYNKOOP, General Manager, Boardwalk Hall
“We are so excited to have this great fight coming to Boardwalk Hall. It will be our first championship fight in several years and we can’t wait.
“There is a huge history of boxing at Boardwalk hall in Atlantic City and we look forward to writing another chapter on April 13.”
Claressa Shields to Face Christina Hammer in Historic Unification Bout
By: Jake Donovan
Claressa Shields proclaimed during fight week ahead of her pro debut that she’d be ready for the likes of top boxers Christina Hammer and Cecilia Braekhus by her 7th pro fight.
Ever the prophet, the two-time Olympic Gold medalist and reigning middleweight queen remains true to her word—and just two years into her already booming pro career.
Photo Credit: Showtime
Shields and Hammer are officially set to collide on November 17 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Their scheduled 10-round bout will air live on Showtime, topping a special edition of the network’s long-running ShoBox: The New Generation series.
Given the significance, the titanic middleweight clash is more befitting the network’s “Showtime Championship Boxing” series as the winner will become just the second female boxer in history—and just the fifth overall—to lay claim as undisputed champion (WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO) in the four-belt era.
“I’ve worked hard my whole life to overcome every obstacle, represent my country and win two Olympic gold medals, and win world championships in two weight divisions as a pro,” Shields said in a press statement. “I want to be part of the biggest fight in women’s boxing history, I want to be undisputed world middleweight champion.”
Shields (6-0, 2KOs)—who captured Olympic Gold in 2012 and 2016—carries two middleweight belts in tow. The 23-year old from Flint, Mich. claimed both in a 5th round stoppage of previously unbeaten titlist Nikki Adler in their Aug. ’17 clash, marking just her fourth pro fight.
Two successful title defenses have followed, including a 10-round win over Hanna Gabriel in her most recent outing this past June. That show set the stage for this forthcoming clash, with Hammer (23-0, 10KOs) appearing in the Showtime-televised co-feature in a 10-round decision victory of her own, besting Tori Nelson (whom Shields outpointed in January).
It was clear from the moment the show was scheduled that the intention was to lead to a head-on collision.
Hammer—a two-division champion from Germany by way of Kazakhstan—won her first belt in just her seventh pro fight, way back in Oct. ’10 as she serves as the longest reigning active major titlist today, female or male. The 28-year old has racked up 14 title defenses, along with pit stops at super middleweight—where she bested previously unbeaten Zita Zatkayo in their May ’13 vacant title fight—and a super welterweight title win over former pound-for-pound queen Anne Sophie Mathis that was later changed to a No-Contest.
Despite her lengthy title reign, a desire to become the absolute best prompted a change in scenery. Having spent her entire career in Eastern Europe, Hammer made her stateside debut on the aforementioned shared card with Shields in June. The goal was to land the American boxing star in the ring, and now gets her wish.
“I am beyond excited and motivated to fight Claressa,” said Hammer. “I am the best middleweight in the world and will make that point very clear when we get in the ring. It’s been my dream to fight in the biggest women’s fight of all time and raise women’s boxing to an all-time high. I will be crowned the undisputed middleweight queen on November 17.”
The winner will join Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, reigning pound-for-pound queen Braekhus and pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford as the only boxers in history to simultaneously own all four major belts in the same weight division.
There have been higher profile female boxing events in history—most famously the June ’01 slugfest between famous offspring Laila Ali (Muhammad Ali’s daughter) and Jackie Frazier-Hyde (Joe Frazier’s daughter), as well as the Aug. ‘03 lopsided money grab between Ali and Christy Martin, the latter whom is credited for restoring notoriety in women’s boxing.
Where that side of the sport has fallen miserably short is securing historic matches, as women’s boxing was for too long limited as a sideshow attraction on major shows.
Now in an era where females are more empowered than at any other point in history, women’s boxing gets the dream matchup it has long deserved—and has no plans at stopping just there.
“Shields vs Hammer will break all the barriers and lift women’s boxing to a new level,” Mark Taffet, Shields’ manager assured BoxingInsider.com “It’s that rare, can’t miss fight between two undefeated, unified champions in their prime. All of boxing should be proud of these two women and take the example from them; when the best fight the best, there are no losers.
“It’s the biggest and best matchup in women’s boxing history. Laila Ali never fought Ann Wolfe; Christy Martin never fought Lucia Rijker. Hats off the Shields and Hammer for raising the bar for others to follow!”
Taffet and Shields joined forces straight out of the 2016 Olympics with this very blueprint in place. With a win on November 17—almost two years to the day of her pro debut—Shields will not only break new ground, but continue to lead by example.
“I want women’s boxing to reach new heights, and the only thing standing between me and the achievement of all those goals is Christina Hammer,” Shields notes. “I will defeat Hammer on November 17, and I will do it in a way that will leave no doubt who is the best in the world.”
Showtime Boxing Results: Claressa “T-Rex” Shields & Christine Hammer Win Continuing on a Collision Course
by: Ken Hissner
Salita Promotions over USA Showtime brought two of the best female middleweights in the world in separate title defenses Friday night at the Masonic Temple, in Detroit, MI.
2-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 6-0 (2), of Flint, MI, the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight champion came off the canvas in the opening round to win two vacant belts in the IBF and WBA Middleweight division over the WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight champion Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels, 18-2-1 (11), of Alajuela, Costa Rica, over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Gabriels threw a right but was countered with a right to the chin. A clash of heads caused swelling on the left cheek of Gabriels. A right uppercut from Gabriels on the chin of Shields dropped her. She beat the count of referee Garard White at 8. In the second round it was a close round as Gabriels moved well and would attack Shields who had a better second round.
In the third round Gabriels with hands low got hit with a Shields right to the chin. Gabriels came back with a left hook to the head in another close round. In the fourth round Shields continues to load up too much. Gabriels bounced around staying loose. Shields landed to rabbit punches ending the round while referee White warns her after the bell.
In the fifth round Shields countered Gabriels with a right to the head. Shields landed a 3-punch combination with a minute left in the round. Gabriels looks winded at the end of the round. In the sixth round at the halfway mark Shields landed a solid right to the chin driving Gabriels into a neutral corner. With under 30 seconds left in the round Gabriels landed a 3-punch combination. Shields landed a solid pair of right’s to the chin just prior to the bell.
In the seventh round Gabriels landed a right to the ribs followed by a right to the chin of Shields. In the eighth round both boxers slow the action with Shields landing a left hook to the chin of Gabriels. Once again there was a clash of heads. In the ninth round at the halfway point both fighters flurried with the best action of the fight. Shields landed a hard right to the head with seconds to go in the round.
In the tenth and final round Gabriels is forcing the action but Shields is countering her well. The final round was the best round of the fight. Shields landed 3 punches then Gabriels came in with her head. An accidental clash of heads caused a small cut under the left eye of Shields.
Scores were 98-91 and 97-92 twice This writer had it 95-94.
In the co-feature WBC & WBO World Female Middleweight champion Christina “Lady” Hammer, 23-0 (10), born in KAZ, living in Dortmund, Germany, easily defended her title successfully defeating the former IBF and WBC World Female UBF and IBA World Welterweight champion Tori “Sho Enough” Nelson, 17-2-3 (2), of Chase City, VA, over 10 rounds.
In the first round the much taller Hammer used an effective jab. The jab of Hammer has power behind it. The 41 year-old Nelson was too defensive. Best part of the round was a 4-punch combination from Hammer to the head of Nelson. In the second round Hammer continues to dominate the fight with Nelson landing an occasional right hand to the head of Hammer.
In the third round Hammer lands a pair of rights followed by a left to the mid-section. With a minute left in the round Nelson lands a right to the head of hammer who counters her with a flurry of punches. In the fourth round Hammer continues to dominate the much shorter Nelson. Her jab continues to control and she lands enough power punches with her right to win round after round.
In the fifth round Hammer continues to move well keeping the fight in the middle of the ring for the most part. In the seventh round Hammer kept Nelson at bay except for a few rushes to get inside. Hammer pushed Nelson into the ropes as referee Garza just looks on. With half a minute left in the round Hammer landed a good 3-punch combination to the head of Nelson.
In the eighth round Hammer landed a leaf right to the head of Nelson. Hammer rarely leads with her right instead of her jab and would like to score a knockout since Nelson has never been knocked down. In the ninth round Hammer is warned about holding behind the neck of Nelson. Inside the final minute both boxers landed right hands at the same time to each others chin.
In the tenth and final round it’s all Hammer until a minute to go when Nelson lands a lead right to the chin of Hammer. Hammer did more clinching in the final round than at any other time in the fight.
Scores were 100-90 twice and 99-91 while this writer had it 100-90.
“I wanted a knockout but she is a tough fighter and I am still the champ. I want to fight the winner of tonight’s main event,” said Hammer.
“I felt I may have landed more punches but she was too strong. I am still super welter champ,” said Gabriels. “I am the best in the world of all time (her opinion) winning every round after the knockdown,” said Shields. Unfortunately when Hammer entered the ring Shields showed her immaturity yelling and causing an ugly scene with too many people in the ring at the time.
Russian Light Heavyweight Umar Salamov, 21-1 (16), of Henderson, NV, stopped Brian Howard, 13-2 (10), of Atlanta, GA, in the ninth round for the vacant IBF North American Light Heavyweight title.
In the first round it was a battle of jabs. Few right hands were thrown in this “sparring session”. In the second round with a minute left Salamov landed his first combination. With half a minute left in the round the 38 year-old Howard hurt Salamov with a right near the back of the head as Salamov was moving away. Inside with ten seconds to go Howard landed a right uppercut to the chin of Salamov.
In the third round the awkwardness of both fighters looks like a pair of amateurs. The referee is allowing them to do whatever they want hitting behind the head telling Howard not to duck for that is why it’s happening. Salamov also uses an illegal “straight arm” ala Larry Holmes. In the fourth and fifth rounds it’s more of the same.
In the sixth round Salmov landed a slapping roundhouse to the head of Howard at the mid-point of the round. It’s been jab’s, straight arms and rabbit punches. There is very little to say as the fans are getting restless. The Howard corner is trying to get Howard to throw punches. In the seventh round Howard continues to “pose” except inside he lands an occasional right uppercut to the chin of Salmov. Howard continues to pull up on his trunks. With seconds to go in the round Salmov missed with a right and Howard countered with a right hand knocking the head of Salmov back. The rounds are close but Salmov seems to get the edge.
In the eighth round the jabs continue with plenty of misses from right hands. With seconds to go Salmov lands a right and follows with a left to the head of Howard. In the ninth round a chopping right hand from Salmov to the chin with drops Howard as Salmov lands a left as Howard takes the full count.
This writer had it 79-73 for the winner through 8 rounds. Sam Williams was the referee.
Christina Hammer and Cecillia Braekus, Two of the Best Women Boxers
By: Ken Hissner
Women’s boxing seems to be coming to the forefront today. The two most interesting and successful in this writer’s opinion are Christina Hammer from KAZ fighting out of Germany currently in the US.
Hammer is 22-0 (10), and holds the WBC and WBO middleweight titles. She is to women’s boxing in Germany that Golovkin has been to men’s boxing and in the same weight-class.
Hammer will be defending against former champion Tori Nelson, 17-1-3 (2), of Auburn, VA, on June 22nd at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, VA. In January she lost for the first time to Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields in a Super Middleweight title defense of her IBF and WBC titles.
Hammer has been a world champion since 2010 and has had a dozen successful title defenses. Only five of her twenty-two fights have been out of Germany and this will be her American debut coming up. With Gennady “GGG” Golvokin being the best in their country of KAZ she may be in his shadow but hands down she is the best female boxer and certainly one of the top boxers in the world today.
Welterweight IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO world champion Cecillia “First Lady” Braekhus, 32-0 (9), will be defending her titles as mentioned previously and will be fighting Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis, 13-6-1 (4), from Providence, RI, managed by Philadelphia’s Brian Cohen. She lost her WBC and WBO title in November of 2016 to Hammer which was their second meeting, but has won her last three fights.
Braekhus in her eleventh fight won the WBC and WBA titles defeating Vinni Skovgaard, then 7-0, of Denmark, in March of 2009. She has defended her titles twenty-three times. She added the vacant WBO title in 2010 and the IBF title in 2014.
Braekhus’ last four fights are in her now homeland of Norway being born in Colombia. Since winning a world title in 2009 she has defended her title ten times in Denmark. She has had three defenses in Germany where she won her first world title.
It was back in 2008 that Braekhus made her American debut so it’s now some ten years later she marks her return to America for a world title defense. She is very popular in Colombia and Norway let alone Denmark and Germany.
Braekhus has defended her title against three previously unbeaten challengers. In 2017 she had big wins over Klara Svensson, 17-1, and Erica Farias, 24-1. In 2013 she stopped veteran American Mia St. John. She has more defenses than any female boxer with the exception of Germany’s Regina Halmich and is looking to pass her in the future.
Two Kazakhstan Born Unbeaten World Middleweight Champs, Christina Hammer and Gennady Golovkin!
Two Kazakhstan Born Unbeaten World Middleweight Champs, Christina Hammer and Gennady Golovkin!
By: Ken Hissner
How rare it is to have two boxers born in a country like Kazakhstan to have both male and female boxers reign as unbeaten world middleweight champs?
The boxing world is certainly aware of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, 36-0 (33), with his last 23 being by knockout. He started his boxing career in Germany fighting 18 of his first 19 fights there. He has had 9 in the US, 3 in Monaco, 2 in Panama and 1 each in Denmark, Ukraine KAZ and UK. He moved to the USA and settled in L.A., California. He is one of or in this writer’s opinion the No. 1 P4P boxer in the world. He has 17 title defenses. He holds the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO world titles.
The other world champion Christina “Lady” Hammer, 20-0 (9) 1nc, is less known but holds both the WBO and WBC world titles. She was born in Novodolinka, KAZ, 26 years ago and now resides in Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, GER.
Hammer won the WBO title in May of 2013 and has defended it six times. She won the WBC title in her most recent fight in November of 2016 in a unification re-match with Kali Reis, of Providence, RI. She has boxed 18 of her fights in Germany, 2 in Slovenia and 1 in CZ.
Hammer is trained by Dimitri Kirnos and was managed by Ulf Steinforth. Her promoter was SES (Sport Events Steinforth GmbH) until May of 2016. Her current promoter is Alexander Petkovic’s Petko’s LMS Box Promotions.
Neither ever fought on the same card. “I was so excited to meet the Best Middleweight champion GGG ever at the 54th annual WBC Convention in Miami On December 12th of 2016,” said Hammer.