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.
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields & Christine Hammer Continue on a Collision Course to Meet
By: Ken Hissner
This Friday Salita Promotions brings USA Showtime fans the two best female middleweights in the world in separate title defenses. Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 5-0 (2), of Flint, MI, the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight champion drops down to middleweight in quest of two vacant belts in the IBF and WBA Middleweight belts at stake. She will be taking on WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight champion Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels, 18-1-1 (11), of Alajuela, Costa Rica.
“It makes me so happy and it just touches my heart to see four female fighters on the main fight poster. I was so happy that they put them on TV. They have put me on before but it’s always been my goal to put other women on so when they decided to put Tori Nelson and Christina Hammer on women’s boxing is going somewhere,” said Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
“I would like to say I am excited and grateful to be here, and share the ring with so many great fighters. I think it’s going to be a great fight night for all boxing fans, and after the weigh-in it will be all on us to make the very best out of all the effort and preparation we have had in these past months,” said Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels.
In the co-feature WBC & WBO World Female Middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 22-0 (10), of KAZ, living in Dortmund, Germany, defends her title against the former IBF and WBC World Female UBF and IBA World Welterweight champion Tori Nelson, 17-1-3 (2), of Ashburn, VA, coming off a loss to Claressa Shields in January.
“US is the hot spot in boxing. It has always been my dream to fight here and show US that I am the champion and the best female middleweight in the world. I had a great final preparation in Florida. In a gym not white collar work out style, but tough, hot, pure and aggressive. I am in the best shape ever and can’t wait to go into the ring and show US my best performance. I am grateful to Dmitriy Salita and Mark Taffet, are giving me this opportunity. It is time to shine,” said Christina Hammer.
Shields and Hammer are on a collision course to unify the middleweight’s four title belts. Shields will be coming down in weight and Hammer up in weight. For Hammer she will be making her US debut.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Trout, Shields, Lee, Hammer, Fury, Smith, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 29th to June 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Austin Trout Twitter Account/Chris Farina
Austin Trout Training Camp Notes
Austin Trout (31-4, 17 KOs), the former super welterweight world champion, is headed to Los Angeles today to meet current WBC Super Welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo inside the ring this Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT and is headlined by the featherweight world championship rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.
In Trout’s words, this fight is finishing the mission. Spiritually centered and in his prime physical condition, it is, in his own words, his time.
“People are underestimating me and overlooking me,” said Trout. “I earned and continue to earn respect in this sport and my competition can choose to ignore it or acknowledge it. I’ve beaten champions and taken titles. I’ve lost in controversial decisions to champions like Canelo. This is my time. Don’t underestimate the power I bring to boxing as well as the international competitors I’ve already stepped into the ring against and beaten.”
After his October fight against Jarrett Hurd and February’s unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel, this WBC title bout, in Trout’s words, is the fight that no one saw coming.
“The Hurd fight was the danger fight,” he said of his October 2017 match. “It was part of the process of knocking out the ring rust, and De Angel was part of that as well. Everything I do or don’t do is circumstantial. Because of the layoffs, it’s been challenging; now I’m back on track timing wise and I plan on changing boxing’s plans for me. I’m not sitting back and waiting.
“I started boxing as a kid to stand up for people that were being disrespected, and as an adult I continue to do that in the ring.”
A long time top ten and former #2 in the 154-pound division by Ring magazine, Trout will be once against be working with D.C. based world champion trainer Barry Hunter, to whom his longtime cornerman, Louie Burke, worked as an assistant.
“We are calling this fight ‘finishing the mission.’ I’m squarely in a dangerous division that’s full of talent. It’s one of the top divisions in my opinion. Everyone’s a killer including myself. It has the perfect balance of speed and power. This is where I excel, plus I have the brain.”
Showtime to Live Stream Tyson Fury Return
SHOWTIME Sports has secured the U.S. rights to stream the long-awaited return of former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, who will face Sefer Seferi in a 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday, June 9 from Manchester Arena. SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® will stream live exclusively to U.S. audiences on the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.
In the opening bout, local hero Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KO’s) will look to become a two-division world champion when he clashes with unbeaten American Maurice Hooker (23-0-3, 16 KO’s) for the vacant WBO Junior Welterweight crown. This will be the fourth live streaming boxing event this year on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms.
Live coverage for the Frank Warren promoted event will be provided by BT Sport and BoxNation with U.K. sportscasters John Rawling providing the blow-by-blow and Richie Woodhall the analysis. Boxing broadcaster Ray Flores and analyst Chris Mannix will deliver pre-fight and post-fight analysis from Staples Center in Los Angeles for the SHOWTIME Sports audience.
The live stream of Fury vs. Seferi will precede that evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® doubleheader that features WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch against fellow three-division world champion Abner Mares live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed in the West Coast) from Staples Center. In the co-feature, Jermell Charlo will face Austin Trout for the WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
Fury (25-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight World Champion will end a two-years-and-seven-months exile from the sport on June 9. Fury has been inactive since outpointing Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in November 2015 due to an injury, personal problems and a doping ban.
“I’m the fittest I’ve ever been,” said Fury, who has teamed up with new trainer Ben Davison. “Timing, reflexes, everything is better than it’s ever been. I kid you not. I’m 29 years old, coming into the prime of my life, I’m stronger and faster, holding more muscle mass than ever. I’m more confident looking at the competition.”
Albania’s Seferi (23-1, 21 KOs) is a 39-year-old Switzerland-based cruiserweight who is stepping up in weight and opposition when he faces the 6-foot-9 Fury. Seferi’s sole loss came in 2016 in a heavyweight bout against now-secondary WBA heavyweight champ Manuel Charr.
“This is going to be a hard fight for Fury,” said Seferi. “Two-and-a-half years out of the ring is a long time and nobody knows if he is still the same fighter that dethroned Wladimir Klitschko.”
Flanagan, the first Englishman to earn a lightweight world title, will seek to capture a title in a second weight class just days away from his 29th birthday. Hooker, a southpaw from Dallas, Texas and ShoBox alum, has been training with Terence Crawford. Hooker will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow Dallas resident Errol Spence Jr., who went to Kell Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England to capture his first world championship.
Christina Hammer vs. Tori Nelson Added to June 22nd Claressa Shields Card
The women’s middleweight world championship between unified WBC and WBO titlist Christina Hammer and former world champion Tori Nelson has been added to the June 22 SHOWTIME telecast from Masonic Temple in Detroit.
In the main event, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified 168-pound champion Claressa Shields will attempt to become a two-division champion when she faces unified 154-pound titleholder Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championships.
With the addition of Hammer vs. Nelson to the June 22 SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION (10 p.m. ET/PT) telecast, all four women’s middleweight world titles will be at stake in separate bouts featuring two of the consensus top 10 pound-for-pound women in the world.
The winners of Shields vs. Gabriels and Hammer vs. Nelson will meet this fall on SHOWTIME to determine the undisputed women’s middleweight world champion.
Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs), of Dortmund, Germany, has dominated the women’s middleweight division for nearly eight years, losing just a handful of rounds in her reign as champion at 160 pounds. The 27-year-old, who will make her U.S. debut on June 22, won the WBO title in 2010 then became unified champion in 2016 with a win over defending WBC champion Kali Reis.
Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs) won a middleweight world championship in 2011 and owns wins over previously unbeaten Alicia Napoleon, Mia St. John, and Reis, who recently floored women’s welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus. The native of Ashburn, Va., suffered her first loss in a spirited decision to Shields this January on SHOWTIME in what was the toughest test of Shields’ young career.
“Now that I’m added to the TV portion of the card it gives me even more motivation to prove to the U.S. audience that I’m the best female fighter in the world,” Hammer said. “My plan is to do something that Claressa Shields couldn’t do – knock out Tori Nelson. Once I take care of business with Nelson, my goal is to fight the winner of Shields vs. Gabriels to become the undisputed women’s middleweight world champion.”
“Christina Hammer can’t bring anything I haven’t seen before,” Nelson said. “I’ve beaten Kali Reis, Mia St. John, Alicia Napoleon. I went the distance with Claressa Shields and I plan on beating Hammer on June 22 to earn my shot at revenge against Shields. This is my chance and I don’t plan to let it slip away.”
“Adding Hammer vs. Nelson to the card was the right move as we collectively work to elevate the status of women’s boxing at the highest level,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION. “The June 22 telecast now features two of the best pound-for-pound female fighters – Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer – in what will be our eighth presentation of women’s boxing since 2016. All four of the world titles in the women’s middleweight division are at stake on June 22 with the goal of the winners meeting this fall to determine an undisputed middleweight champion.”
“I am honored to promote this historic night of boxing on SHOWTIME in the championship city of Detroit,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “I believe these fights are in line with the best and most competitive matchups in the history of women’s boxing. All four of these fighters are coming from different parts of the globe to win a world title and show they are the best. It will be an exciting and explosive night of boxing from beginning to end for the fans attending the fight at the Detroit Masonic Temple and for those watching the fight live on SHOWTIME.”
Joe Smith Jr. to Face Melvin Russell on June 30th
JOE SMITH JR. (23-2 18KO’s) makes his much anticipated return to the ring on June 30th at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, Connecticut. STAR BOXING’S “SLUGFEST at the SUN” is set to be one of boxing’s best cards thus far in 2018.
Already announced as the co-feature bout, highlights Rhode Island Native American warrior, KALI REIS (13-7-1 4KO’s) pitted against Hungarian , SZLIVIA SZABADOS (17-11 8KO’s). Kali is coming off of a historic power punching performance against undisputed champion Cecilia Braekhus, in the first female bout featured on HBO. Kali thrilled fans around the world in that fight, and promises the same action at Mohegan Sun on June 30th.
As a union laborer for Local 66 on Long Island, JOE SMITH JR. earned the title of the peoples champion when he burst onto the boxing scene in 2016. Working with a sledgehammer by day, and training by night, Smith Jr. defines hard work and determination.
The rise of Smith Jr. began when he took on, top rated light heavyweight, ANDRZEJ FONFARA on NBC in Chicago. As a 20-1 underdog, Smith Jr. destroyed Fonfara in the first round, knocking down the mighty Pole twice, before the referee called a stop to the onslaught. Later that year, Smith Jr. knocked legend, BERNARD HOPKINS on HBO, clear out of the ring, becoming the first person to ever KO the former multi-division world champion.
In the main event of Star Boxing’s “SLUGFEST at the SUN,” “THE BEAST” JOE SMITH JR. will be facing Kentucky’s MELVIN RUSSELL (11-4-2 7KO’S). The tough Kentuckian, who goes by the moniker “The Romantic Redneck,” has been in all out brawls with undefeated prospect Mike Wilson (then, 17-0 8KO’s) and world-title challenger Edwin Rodriguez (then, 28-2 20KO’s). Russell has proven the ability to go deep into fights, while still using a come forward offense. Fighting behind his jab, Russell will look to keep his distance from “THE BEAST” Joe Smith Jr., attempting to avoid his devastating power.
Smith Jr. returns to the ring after an eleven month layoff due to a broken jaw suffered in the second-round of his HBO fight against Sullivan Barrera last July. Smith Jr. said this about his June 30th return, “I am as confident and stronger than ever. I am ready to reclaim my position as one of the best light heavyweights in the world. Thank you all for the love and support over the past few years. I am ready to show the boxing world why I am the beast from the east.”
Star Boxing CEO, JOE DEGUARDIA, had this to say about June 30th, “Everyone in boxing has been anticipating the return of the “Common Man,” Joe Smith Jr.. He truly became the champion of the people, and is ready to get back in the ring on June 30th, to reclaim his position on top of the light heavyweight division.”
Mike Lee Inching Closer to Title Shot
There might not be a more well-rounded fighter on the planet.
Mike Lee (20-0, 11 KOs), who takes on Jose Hernandez (19-3-1, 9 KOs) this Friday night for the WBO Junior World Light Heavyweight World Title at The Allstate Arena in Chicago, brings all the intangibles that one would want in a professional athlete.
The card will be broadcast live on CBS Spots Network (9 PM ET) with an all-star announce team of International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins and renowned Teddy Atlas.
Lee has not taken the route that most fighters take to get to the door of competing for a world title.
There isn’t the big name promoter. In fact there is no promoter at all. In a day when most fighters are afraid to test themselves, Lee’s last five opponents (Including Hernandez) have a combined record of 78-10-5.
Does Lee, take a vacation or just relax between fight? No he doesn’t, you have just as much chance to see Lee talking to major corporations or being a national spokesperson for a major company as you do as seeing him raising money for cancer stricken children.
Lee also brings a heart and determination into the ring as he battled and overcame autoimmune disease.
“Training camp in Los Angeles has been great. We had a good camp, I am 20-0 for a reason,” said Lee.
“I am not looking past Hernandez, but my dream is to win a a world championship one day. June 8th is a step towards that. I have everything in my body and mind towards that, and when I am determined, I am very difficult to beat.”
When Lee talks about what motivated to speak to companies around the country, it was that illness that almost derailed his career that came to mind.
“My career was almost taken away with autoimmune disease, and I wanted to tell my story. I have been lucky to speak to people and give techniques of visualization and mindset.”
“I am excited to fight in my hometown with a great crowd. I love fighting in a bigger venue which is a phenomenal arena. I have waited for this moment, and I can’t wait for Friday night.”
When WBO number-3 ranked light heavyweight contender Mike Lee (20-0, 11 KOs) takes on Jose Hernandez (19-3-1, 9 KOs) this Friday night at The Allstate Arena in Chicago. The card will be broadcast live on CBS Spots Network (9 PM ET) with an all-star announce team of International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins and renowned Teddy Atlas.
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.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Shields, Garcia, Hammer, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 12th to December 19th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Terrell Groggins / Salita Promotions
Claressa Shields Media Workout Quotes
Unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields met with local members of the media and took part in an open-to-the-public workout on Tuesday at Kronk Gym, exactly one month away from defending her 168-pound WBC and IBF titles against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Tori Nelson on Friday, Jan. 12 live on SHOWTIME.
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) will face her second consecutive undefeated opponent in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are currently on sale for $75 for the first two rows of ringside, $65 for remaining ringside seats and all others priced at $49 and $37, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person or by calling the Turning Stone Resort Box Office at 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.
Here is what the 22-year-old native of Flint, Mich., had to say on Tuesday:
“I am calm – focused – but still hungry like a challenger with the added confidence of being a world champion. I took some time off after my last win but I look forward to getting busy again in 2018.
“This training camp I did eight weeks instead of six. A lot of camp has been extremely hard. But I’m so focused and determined on 2018 and starting great and staying busy. I expect my opponent to apply pressure, and to use some dirty tactics. She has more experience, but not that much when you speak of her amateur experience.
“There is no doubt I will start 2018 with a win. Then I just take it one fight at a time. Right now my focus is Nelson.
“I’m excited to be on SHOWTIME as the first fight of the year, and just to be back inside the ring. I feel I have been the face of women’s boxing for some time now. I don’t let it feel like pressure – I just work really hard in the gym.
“In 2018 I expect great fights against the best contenders. I expect to make history again on SHOWTIME and also looking forward to dropping to 160 to fight against [Christina] Hammer mid-2018. January 12th will be the beginning of great things to come
“Training through the holidays is fine. The difference between the amateurs and now is that I was always in other countries competing. Now I get to be home with my family getting ready and I feel good.
“The match-up to me will play out with the first few rounds of me using my jab. Then I’ll add the combinations as the fight goes on. I see it being competitive though. I’m going to earn the win. I believe I can KO her by the sixth, seventh round.”
Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Deal Very Close According to LA Times
Esteemed boxing writer Lance Pugmire of the LA Times recently reported that a deal for a rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is very close to being finalized.
Pugmire reported that Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, texted him and indicated that there only a few items left to discuss with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to finish the agreement.
Many were worried that the outcome of the WBO Title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux could affect the negotiations for the rematch, but Gomez seems to not be too concerned. He stated, “Our main goal is the rematch, not thinking of Saunders.”
Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-sp-sn-boxing-canelo-ggg-rematch-20171218-story.html
Mikey Garcia to Face Sergey Lipinets on Februray 10th on Showtime
Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia will attempt to win a world title in a fourth weight class when he challenges unbeaten IBF 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, February 10 live on SHOWTIME. The matchup of top-5 ranked junior welterweights will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and is presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy will face Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their May showdown on SHOWTIME, this time for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title. The doubleheader of title bouts in the wide-open 140-pound division sets the stage for a potential unification match.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are priced at $250, $75, $50 and $20. Tickets will go on sale next week and will be available at Ticketmaster.com.
The 29-year-old Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), emphatically returned to pound-for-pound lists in 2017 by scoring a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship in January and then dominating four-division champion Adrien Broner on his way to a unanimous decision in July. Garcia is a member of a renowned boxing family, and is noted for his sportsmanship and his commanding presence in the ring, honed by his brother and acclaimed trainer Robert Garcia.
Garcia, of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., returned to the ring after a two-and-half-year layoff in July 2016 without missing a beat by stopping former champion Elio Rojas. Garcia, who has held world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents including Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido.
“It is a dream to have the opportunity to become a four-division worldchampion,” Garcia said. “San Antonio has some of the greatest boxing fans in the country, including some key supporters of my Robert Garcia Boxing Academy family. Since my last fight, I have stayed in the gym. I can’t wait to give the fans in Texas and those watching at home on SHOWTIME another great performance.”
The unbeaten Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) captured a super lightweight world title in just his 13th pro fight by defeating Akihiro Kondo via a unanimous decision on November 4 on SHOWTIME. He is originally from Kazakhstan but moved to Russia when he was six years old. He currently lives in Beverly Hills, California, Lipinets and is trained by Buddy McGirt.
The 28-year-old moved up the 140-pound rankings with victories over then unbeaten Haskell Rhodes, Levan Ghvamichava and Walter Castillo before knocking out Leonardo Zappavigna in a world title eliminator last December. Lipinets will look to stamp his place as an elite fighter when he takes on the accomplished and dangerous Garcia on February 10.
“Getting the title is one thing, but keeping the title is a more difficult task,” said Lipinets. “I’m not about to give it away to anybody. No disrespect to Mikey Garcia or anybody else out there, but I’m keeping my title. Beating Mikey Garcia will put me in the elite of boxing where I believe I belong. I’m happy my team was able to put this great fight together. I can promise you this won’t be a snoozer. It’s going to be an action-packed fight for sure.”
“We’re going to call it’ ‘Undefeated.’ That pretty much sums it up. Two undefeated fighters, champion versus champion,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. “It’s a big challenge for Mikey Garcia to win a championship belt in his fourth weight class. Lipinets never backs down and he’s out to show that’s he one of the biggest punchers in the division. A win for Lipinets is a game-changer for his family and his career. A win for Mikey is another feather in his cap and will help him be recognized as pound-for-pound best in the world. I’m happy to be back in San Antonio at the Alamodome. I’ve promoted some big fights there. San Antonio fight fans are in for a real treat seeing two of the best fighting each other. I’m sure the fans will embrace this fight.”
“We have another intriguing matchup of two young, hungry undefeated fighters who lay it on the line every time they step into the ring,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “As talented as Mikey is, you can’t count Lipinets out. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the 140-pound division. He’s a tough competitor and there’s a reason why he’s a world champion. He knows this is a career-defining fight and he’s going to do everything he can to spoil the party for Garcia in San Antonio on Feb. 10.”
“In three consecutive fights on SHOWTIME since his return to the sport, Mikey Garcia has solidified his position on boxing’s pound-for-pound lists,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Mikey has proven he’s willing to take on the most avoided opponents in any division as he seeks out the biggest possible matchups in the sport. He’ll face yet another dangerous opponent in Sergey Lipinets, an undefeated champion in his own right, as he seeks to become a four-division world champion. On the heels of Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson on January 20, a matchup of consensus top-10 welterweights, we’re proud to deliver this main event of top-5 ranked fighters to build on the momentum.”
Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs), who was born in Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba and now lives in Las Vegas, has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds. He defeated Relikh by unanimous decision in his debut at 140 pound in his last fight on May 20. If he defeats Relikh again, he will become the first Cuban boxer to win world championships in three different weight classes. He defeated Argenis Mendez by unanimous decision to win the 130-pound world title in 2014 and a year later scored a unanimous decision over Denis Shafikov for the 135-pound world title. Barthelemy, 31, has two brothers, Yan and Leduan, who are professional boxers who he trains alongside with under the tutelage of Ismael Salas.
Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) believes that he won the first match with Barthelemy and that the scorecards did not reflect the competitive nature of the fight. The 28-year-old nearly had Barthelemy out after landing a barrage of punches that penned Barthelemy on the ropes, but he was only awarded a knockdown. In the eighth round, Barthelemy came back to drop Relikh with a body shot. Shortly after the May 20 title eliminator, the WBA ordered a rematch, this time to be contested for the vacant 140-pound title. This will be Relikh’s second world title shot after the fighter from Minsk, Belarus lost a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 7, 2016.
Christina Hammer Signs with Salita Promotions
Promoter Dmitriy Salita proudly announces the signing of undefeated women’s unified world middleweight champion Christina Hammer to a multi-fight promotional contract.
Already a superstar in Europe, “Lady Hammer” (22-0, 10 KOs), from Dortmund, Germany, (via Novodolinka, Kazakhstan) is the current WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion. She has also previously held the WBF Middleweight, as well as WBO and WBF Super Middleweight Championships.
Under Salita’s promotional direction, Hammer will make her United States boxing debut on Friday, January 12, at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, on the non-televised undercard of a ShoBox: The New Generation telecast (10 p.m. ET/PT), featuring unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields’ WBC and IBF title defense against mandatory challenger Tori Nelson. Hammer is scheduled for a 10-round fight, highlights of which will be shown on SHOWTIME.
“I never had any doubt that my manager Harald Pia and I would reach an agreement,” said a happy Hammer of the signing. “I love the U.S.,” she continued. “If you are successful here, you will be successful everywhere. Since the beginning of my boxing career it has been a dream of mine to fight in the U.S.. I can’t wait for January 12.”
Hammer joins the Salita Promotions roster that also includes women’s superstar, unified super middleweight champion and two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields, as well as world, European (2X) and Russian (6X) amateur champion and 2012 Olympian, Elena Savelyeva.
“Christina has all the tools to become a star in the U.S.,” said Dmitriy Salita. “Her skills, personality and appeal outside the ring make Christina a unique and special fighter in the talent-filled middleweight division. I believe 2018 is going to be a historic year for women’s boxing all over the world.”
Hammer is a technically outstanding boxer, but her outstanding physical strength is what separates her from the rest of the world’s 160-pound fighters. She was voted WBF Female Fighter of the Year in 2011 and 2013; the WBO Female Fighter of the Year in 2013; the BDB Female Boxer of the Year in 2016; the HERQUL Female Boxer of the Year in 2017 and is the only woman in Europe to earn the Diamond Ring of the WBO.
“It is always a pleasure to work with highly professional partners,” said manager Pia of the deal. “I’m confident we have a contract that is good for all parties. Christina is very happy to be fighting in the U.S. It is a dream of hers to be successful over here and she can’t wait to show the U.S. public who Christina Hammer is!”
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Saunders Routes Lemieux, Ulysses and O’Sullivan Win
By: Eric Lunger
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) made his third defense of his WBO middleweight belt tonight at the he Place Bell in Quebec, Canada, taking on fearsome power-puncher and former IBF World middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs).
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing
Saunders won the WBO strap almost two years ago to the day, nipping Andy Lee by majority decision. After lackluster performances against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe, Jr., meeting David Lemieux on his home ground was a significant step-up in opposition for Saunders, and marked his first professional foray outside of the United Kingdom. A southpaw and counter-puncher, Saunders is notorious for his trash-talking and his willingness to try to win on points.
David Lemieux is a more fan-friendly, pressure fighter who has knockout power in both hands. The match-up, a classic southpaw boxer vs. orthodox puncher, promised an intriguing show, and betting odds were virtually even going into fight week. The British media and fans were, not uncharacteristically, favoring Saunders, while most fight critics on this continent were leaning towards Lemieux.
Saunders took the first round, boxing and moving, while Lemieux was trying to find his range, but Saunders confidence soared in the second, as the Englishman danced and landed almost at will. In the third, Lemieux gave the crowd something to cheer about, landing a few shots, but Saunders continued to outbox him. In the fourth, Saunders elicited boos from the crowd, moving around the ring, dropping his hands, not throwing punches, but he clearly won the round. The boxing lesson continued in the fifth, as Lemieux could not find Saunders, and Saunders managed the distance with ease.
The one-sided nature of the bout continued: in the seventh, Saunders caught Lemieux with a good combination, snapping the Canadian’s head back. Then came a straight left down the pipe, staggering Lemieux, as though Lemieux had never sparred against a southpaw. And in the eighth, Saunders continued to be three or four steps ahead of the home town fighter.
To put it simply, Lemieux had no answers to the puzzle in front of him. In fact, he never started to figure out Saunders, and could not cut off the ring — the only way to make progress against a fighter of Saunders talent and style.
The judges saw it 120-108, 117-11, and 118-110 for Saunders.
The featured undercard bout saw Antoine Douglas (22-1, 16 KOs) of Washington, DC, took on Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs) of Cork, Ireland, in a ten-round middleweight bout. The colorful O’Sullivan, 33, lost to Saunders in July of 2013. Douglas came out in the first slowly and tentatively — nervous almost– and let O’Sullivan land on him frequently, despite appearing the faster fighter with quicker feet. The second round was a brawl, with both men throwing and landing big shots. The third was similar, as Douglas stayed in front of O’Sullivan, not using his feet to outbox the Irishman.
In the middle rounds, both fighters continued to land heavy power shots upstairs, but Douglas was absorbing a number of big right hands from O’Sullivan. The end came in the seventh as O’Sullivan caught Douglas against the ropes and batter him to the canvas. A dazed Douglas beat the count, but the referee wisely called off the bout.
Earlier in the evening, undefeated Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs) took on Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs), in a ten-round super lightweight clash. With a combined seventy-two percent KO average between the two fighters, this one wasn’t likely to go the distance.
Seldin, from Long Island, NY, fought last month on the undercard of the HBO broadcast of Jacobs vs. Arias, and has built up something of a cult-following in the Metro area.
Unfortunately for the “Hammer,” Ulysse’s superior movement and hand-speed exposed Seldin as a one-dimensional slugger. In the first round Ulyssse scored his first knockdown, beating Seldin to the punch inside. In the second round, the Canadian fighter timed Seldin with a beautiful straight right, and, in the third, a combination uppercuts and hooks thrown in wicked succession dropped Seldin again. The Long Island man showed a ton of heart, especially in a brutal tenth round where he took significant punishment, but he was simply outclassed by a fast, fluid, and talented Yves Ulysse. The final scores: 99-88 across the board for Ulysse.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Seldin, Miller, and Jacobs Win Comfortably
By: William Holmes
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sports put on their first HBO card featuring their newest signee, middleweight Daniel Jacobs, at the NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
Three bouts were televised tonight. The opening bout was between Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto Ortiz in the junior welterweight division, the second bout was between Jerell Miller and Mariusz Wach in the heavyweight division, and the main event was between Daniel Jacobs and Luis Arias in the middleweight division.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The first bout of the night was between Cletus Seldin (25-0) and Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2) in the junior welterweight division.
Cletus Seldin wasted no time and took the pressure right to Roberto Ortiz and knocked him down with a big overhand right in the first twenty seconds of the opening round. Ortiz was able to get back up and had to withstand an aggressive assault by Seldin. Seldin as able to land two good uppercuts that forced Ortiz to take a knee, who complained about getting hit behind the head.
Seldin continued his pressure into the second round and opened up a bad cut over the left eye of Ortiz from a hard right hook. The ringside doctor took a look at the eye of Ortiz but allowed the fight to continue.
By the third round blood was pouring out of the cut above Ortiz’s eye, and Seldin was loading up with his right hands and was looking for a stoppage. An elbow to the nose by Seldin forced Ortiz to take a knee, but his cut above his eye was bleeding badly.
The ringside doctor took another look at the cut over Ortiz’s eye and told the referee the fight should be stopped.
Cletus Seldin wins by TKO at 2:43 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Jarrell Miller (19-0) and Mariusz Wach (33-2) in the heavyweight division.
Wach was active with his jab in the first round and was able to use his height advantage to keep Miller at bay. Miller was able to land a few jabs of his own, but Wach was more accurate with it in the opening round.
Miller was landing more punches in the second round, including some good short right uppercuts. Miller’s hand speed controlled in the third and fourth rounds and he was showing a good variety of punches and combination.
Wach was able to have some success with his straight right hand in the opening four rounds, but stopped throwing it midway through the fifth after lading a good straight right hand.
Wach complained to his corner that he hurt his right hand before the start of the sixth and basically stopped throwing it during that round. Miller was greatly outlanding Wach by this point and even had Wach momentarily stunned in the middle of the seventh round.
Wach’s corner could have stopped the fight before the start of the eighth round, but they allowed Wach to continue fighting while only using one hand. Wach’s right hand hurt so bad that he showed visible signs of pain even when he blocked a punch by Miller.
Wach came out for the start of the ninth round but he was still not using his right hand. The referee jumped up to the ring canvas and told the referee to stop the fight.
Miller wins by TKO at 1:02 of the ninth round.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2) and Luis Arias (18-0) met in the middleweight division in the main event of the night.
Jacobs was the taller fighter and had the obvious power advantage going into this fight. His power was evident in the opening round when he landed a hard right cross that forced Arias to try to tackle Jacobs to keep from taking more punishment. Jacobs landed a good lead left hook at the end of the first.
Arias was warned to keep his punches up in the second round but he continued to focus to the body. Jacobs ended the second round with a good combination.
Jacobs walked Arias down in the third and fourth round and was able to land some good right uppercuts. Arias had a good right hand in the fifth round, but that was his only effective offense displayed in the first half of the fight.
Jacobs looked extremely confident in the seventh and eighth round as his accuracy gradually increased. Arias was fighting while moving backwards in the ninth round and Jacobs did not look worried about Arias’ power at all.
Arias needed a knockout or at least a flurry of knockdowns in the championship rounds in order to win the fight, but that never came. Jacobs just continued to apply pressure and land hard shots to the body and head and was able to score a knockdown in the eleventh round, even though it was a clipping hook that landed behind the head.
The judges scored it 118-109, 120-107, and 119-108 for Daniel Jacobs.
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.