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Showtime Boxing Results: Shields Dominates Hammer


By: Oliver McManus

Claressa Shields vs Christina Hammer, the biggest fight in the history of women’s boxing without a shadow of a doubt. No pressure, then. The winner would become only the second female undisputed champion of the world and whilst Shields was the betting favourite, this was a genuine pick’em going into fight night.

Hammer, the WBO middleweight champion, stepped into the ring with a beaming smile on her face in stark contrast to the dead-pan nonchalance, borderline disgust, of Shields. The American, double Olympic champion, was in supreme confidence of adding a fourth governing body’s belt to her collection.

Her German counterpart, however, started off the liverlier fighter. Characteristically fighting tall, Hammer was using her three inch height advantage well and making her jab do the talking. Shields flailed her punches inwards for the opening round, attempting to cut into the body of Hammer but often catching the German on her arms.


Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account

The second round saw Shields looking to start fast and shell-shock Hammer but the 28 year old, a professional for 10 years, remained confident in her gameplan. Rocking on the balls of her feet and working sideways across the ring, Hammer had settled into a rhythm reminiscent of her previous contests.

Shields landed a couple of eye-catching shots, when Hammer was on the move, to signal her aggressive shot selection. A particularly pleasing overhand right, thrown when the American was almost tucked up into the armpit of Hammer, prompted a momentary clinch of recognition. The contest was being fought a good pace, producing an enjoyable fight, and Shields was upping her punch output with each passing round.

Hammer continued with her constant circling of the ring but was struggling to settle into a similar rhythm with the punches, and the pre-fight favourite was able to pick her off with the busier work. Such is the nature of two minute rounds that a well-placed flurry of shots could be enough to claim you a quiet round.

Interestingly as the fight progressed it was the movement of Shields that started to come to the fore, evading the downwards punches of Hammer with a casual duck-and-weave motion. It was smooth to watch the first time, even more glorious in slow-motion. More importantly it showed the different dimensions to the Flint based boxer; Hammer, as good a fighter as she is, was unable to adapt to the varying tactics coming her way.

Having began as the instigator, Hammer quickly struggled to replicate any of that initial impact as she ran firmly into a brick wall. Shields was dominant, it has to be said, and looked superfluous in every aspect. On the front foot she was capable of forcing the pace of the contest, landing with aggression. On the backfoot she was able to pick Hammer off with the jab and was defensively astute, too.

After several rounds of sheer frustration, the German eventually returned to her form from the first round. That trademark sideways movement appeared lost in certain rounds and it was no coincidence that, when she reverted to her light and bouncy footwork, she began to enjoy more success.

That success was immediately followed up with a huge round for Shields who simply went at it for the duration of the eighth round, knocking the gum shield of Hammer out and rallying relentlessly with an endless barrage of power punches that made her, 24 fight opponent, looked like a novice. Chilling accuracy from Shields, simply chilling.

The final two rounds were yet another dose of dominance coming from the home corner with cruise-control firmly engaged. There were two world champions in that ring but you would never have guessed given the way in which Shields stamped her authority over the contest.

98-92, 98-92, 98-92, to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.

Earlier in the night Otto Wallin opened up the televised broadcast from Atlantic City, a little after 9pm local time, with the Swedish southpaw looking to go 21-0 with a first win on American soil. Nick Kisner, a career cruiserweight, was in the opposite corner and was on a two-fight win streak since losing to, WBA International champion, Ryad Merhy.

Absent from the ring for 357 days, Ottomatic was looking to ease into life in the United States with an impressive victory. Ranked 5th by the WBA and IBF, Wallin had previously been mandatory challenger for the EBU belt before opting to pursue his options Stateside. When the fight began his size advantage was clear to see – some six and half inches the taller boxer.

The 28 year old immediately took to the centre of the ring, using the sheer scale of his legs to stand at distance and tower over Kisner. The American was caught within the first ninety seconds, what by was not instantly obvious, with a cut emerging to the side of the left eye. Blood smeared the cheek of Kisner, in rather un-warrior-like fashion, as he complained he was unable to see. The doctor was called with the referee, David Franciosi, repeatedly asking “can you see or not”.

Altogether the scenes were rather farcical with Kisner stating “I can see out of one eye”, prompting Franciosi to call a halt to the contest. Replays showed an obvious headbut – unintentional mind – and the bout went down as a swift no-decision. A rather anti-climatic debut for the talented Swede.

The second heavyweight of the broadcast was a scheduled ten rounder between Jermaine Franklin and Rydell Booker. Michigan’s Franklin had been hitting his media duties hard in the build up to this contest, declaring himself as “already the best heavyweight” all the while accompanied by montages of him flipping tyres and smashing hammers.

Franklin weighed in a tangerine over 245lbs, the heaviest he’s been in since May 2016, half a stone more than his counterpart but stood, officially, two inches the smaller man. Booker, meanwhile, arrived on a three fight win streak since resuming his professional career last year following a lengthy hiatus, largely spent in prison.

In carrying that excess weight, 18lbs more than his last fight, Franklin looked a little out of shape but snapped out his jab in sprightly fashion from the off. As he threw the jab he would shuffle his whole body into the punch, prompting Booker to sit firmly on the back foot. Constantly chipping away territorially, Franklin was landing the better of the punches but Booker had decent speed of movement in response.

Despite the punching pressure coming from Franklin it was Booker who seemed to be keeping the pace of the contest within his comfort zone – a steady, cooled down tempo. Franklin was looking for flashy shots to match his brash pre-fight braggadocio. Twisting his body into each shot, in a manner not too dissimilar to Samba dancing, the 25 year old was trying to look more impressive than the sum of his shots.

Thoughts of what might have been for Booker seemed to crop up throughout the contest as he made Franklin look, distinctly, average. The older fighter was looking composed in the face of wild, swinging shots and, despite possible assumptions, he simply was not tiring. The final couple rounds of the fight saw Booker having his best spells, some sluggish chipping uppercuts catching Franklin on the chin before the 38 year old followed up with classy combinations.

A fight that never managed to ignite into anything spectacular but rather produced frustrating viewing. Franklin landed with more frequency and consistency, catching Booker flush on a fair few occasions. It was learning fight, as the old adage goes, but, more frankly, it just wasn’t good enough. 99-91, 98-92, 98-92, in favour of Jermaine Franklin.

The story of the night belongs firmly to Claressa Shields who delivered on her promise of dominance. For the first time in a long time, as well, she did it in an entertaining manner. Her last few performances have been a relatively damp but this event, this occasion, seemed to bring out the superstar within her.

She became undisputed middleweight champion of the world with a frightening intensity. The greatest female fighter of all time? I can’t see anyone that comes close. Worryingly, too, she’s only just getting started.

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Showtime Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hammer


By: Oliver McManus

Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City will be the location for Claressa Shield’s attempt to become the undisputed champion of the world. This Saturday, in only her ninth professional contest, T-Rex will look to add the WBO Middleweight title to her already impressive collection. Of course Shields is just one half of that contest and, in the other corner, Christina Hammer will be confident in her own ability to pull off a perceived upset.


Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account

Hammer, born in Kazakhstan and living in Germany, has been a professional since her opponent was just 14 years of age. In ten years of professional boxing Hammer has been at the forefront of European female fighting. Cecilia Braekhus is the obvious flagbearer – and, indeed, the only other undisputed champion – but Hammer has been regularly showcased on German terrestrial television and was one of the first female fighters to gain mass media attention.

A bona fide world champion since 2010, she has subsequently been involved in 15 world title fights in which she’s unified – at one time holding both WBO and WBC belts – and became a two weight world champion.

The 28 year old naturally boxes from range with, genuinely, light and bouncy footwork. She tends to work her way sideways around the ring, as opposed to just marching forward, and peppers away with the left jab. A fighter who looks to control the fight and pick off the rounds instead of chasing the finish, Hammer uses her height to advantage and doubles up on her punches well. A real highlight, for me, is a rolling right hook that often breaks through the guard of her opponent.

Shields, the betting favourite at 1/4 (Hammer can be found at 3/1), is equally methodical in her approach to each contest with three of her last fight bouts ending in shut-out victories. Flak has been attracted for such an approach with critics labelling her fight-style as ‘boring’ but, evidently, it’s effective and continuing to flourish for the American.

Two times an Olympic champion, Shields is no stranger to dominant success and has found herself at the top of the women’s game pretty much since she turned professional in 2016. Self marketed as “The Greatest Woman of All Time”, here she is headlining the fourth televised card of her career – something unprecedented a mere five years ago.

It is likely that she will box reactively, as opposed to proactively, come Saturday night and respond to the work-rate of her German opponent. In doing so she will be able to take a measured approach to nullify the threat posed by Hammer. Fireworks are unlikely but this is a genuine “super fight” of women’s boxing and it’s by no means a foregone conclusion.

The undercard features two exciting heavyweight contests – and I’m not talking about Samuel Peter vs Mario Heredia – with Jermaine Franklin taking on Rydell Booker and Otto Wallin fighting Nick Kisner. Both contests will be over 10 rounds.

Franklin will be looking to record the 18th victory of his professional career, after nine months without a fight. The Saignaw-fighter has been doing the media rounds ahead of this particular contest and recently declared himself “the best heavyweight prospect, period”. That statement is questionable given the meteoric rise of talents such as Filip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce.

The unbeaten fighter is determined to vindicate Dmitry Salita, who signed the heavyweight last year, and start proving his worth at the top end of the heavyweight division. Booker, 13 years older at 38, will look to record his fourth consecutive win and advance his record to 26-1. That single loss came at the hands of James Toney, in a WBC title eliminator, back in 2004. His career stalled in the aftermath with a lengthy spell in prison for drug-related offences. A win against Franklin would put his name back on the map of American heavyweights, who seem to always stumble into fights they rarely deserve.

Otto Wallin is a big, angry Swedish fighter who has been knocking around the European scene for a while, now. Hopes have been high but, for varying reasons, we’ve yet to see Wallin really kick on. Now based in New York, signing with Salita Promotions, he’ll look to crack the American market. 20-0, the 28 year old’s best win was in his last fight, 52 weeks ago, against Adrian Granat. Wallin controlled the, all-Swedish, contest with considerable ease and displayed his ability to box and move, whereas in previous fights he has been boxed in as a brawler.

Having given up a mandatory challenger position for the European title – against Agit Kabayel – he won’t be looking to hang around and Nick Kisner, let’s have it straight, is merely an opponent designed to ease Wallin back in after over a year out. Having campaigned almost exclusively as a cruiserweight, don’t expect him to be able to live with the physicality of his southpaw opponent.

Shields vs Hammer, then, to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Boardwalk entertainment, befitting of Broadway.

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Shields-Hammer “A Big Step Up For Women’s Boxing”


By: Sean Crose

“I’m just ready to beat Christina Hammer up and make her shut up.”

So said Claressa Shields, two time Olympic Gold medalist and current IBF, WBA, and WBC women’s middleweight champion. Shields was on a conference call to promote this Saturday night’s title unification bout against WBO middleweight champion Christina Hammer. The bout is being promoted as the biggest women’s fight in boxing history. That may or may not be true, but the 8-0 Shields, and the 24-0 longtime champ Hammer are most certainly at the top of the pecking order.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Germany’s Hammer claimed. “It’s a big step for women’s boxing, and a big step for me.” The two were supposed to fight last November, but a Hammer injury pushed the battle back to this weekend in Atlantic City (“I still would have won”said Shields). The truth is that Shields isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers, but she also makes it clear that she knows big talk is part of the big business that is boxing. It’s something Hammer concurs with. “I think it’s normal,” said Hammer of the trash talk. “That’s boxing. That’s business.”

“We both talk trash,” Shields admitted. “I can say I don’t like her as much as she doesn’t like me. But at the end of the day, after the fight, I’ll give as much sportsmanship as I can.” Both fighters made it clear that their fight is nothing if not a huge event. Undefeated, young, and decorated, both athletes realize that there’s a lot of bragging rights that come with winning this weekend, though both are already acclaimed in their own right. “Just keep being me,” Shields said in response to the assertion she’s “the face of women’s boxing.” Shields mentioned a piece of advice Andre Ward gave to her: “Just be who you are.” If being who she is brings about a win on Saturday, it will be sound advice indeed.

Although Shields only has eight professional fights to her name, she expressed confidence leading up the bout. “I’m going to whip her ass up all night,” Shields said. “All night.” Yet Shields also showed something of a reflective side during the call. “I’m not a perfect fighter,” she admitted, “just know that I’m getting there.” Not yet twenty-five, it’s clear the former Olympian has a mindset she’s comfortable with. “I just get in there, and win.”

Although Shields may come across as rougher around the edges, Hammer showed that she can subtly and aggressively press buttons. For it was Hammer who interrupted while Shields was answering a question, then laughed when Shields responded.

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Claressa Shields On Christina Hammer: “I’m Going To Beat Her And Mess Her Up”


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.”

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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:

CLARESSA SHIELDS

“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.”

CHRISTINA HAMMER

“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.”

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HBO Boxing Results: Braekhus, Shields, and Estrada Win on Final Show


By: Hans Themistode

It was a clean sweep as Cecilia Braekhus (35-0, 8 KOs) and Claressa Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) both retained their titles with relative ease tonight.

For Claressa it was a dominant showing against the current Super Middleweight champion Fenke Hermans (9-2, 3 KOs). Fenke showed tremendous heart in finishing the bout upright but it was a clear victory for Claressa.

From the very beginning there was absolutely no feel out rounds for the reigning unified Middleweight champion. She came out of the gates fast looking to inflict damage on her opponent. Every round looked exactly the same as Claressa made her opponent miss while landing monstrous shots of own. It was the kind of performance from Claressa that showed exactly why she is a super star with only eight pro bouts.

For as dominant as Claressa was she takes a back seat to the current pound-for-pound queen and unified Welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus.

The aforementioned Braekhus put on an absolute clinic. Her opponent Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes (18-5-3, 1 KO) kept fighting until the end but just didn’t have the skill necessary to dethrone the champion.

To demonstrate just how dominate Braekhus was tonight she only lost one total round according to one judge.

Yes one. That is not a miss print.

The two female headliners absolutely showed out tonight but let’s not forget about Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) who made a statement of his own tonight by stopping the tough Victor Mendez (28-4-2, 20 KOs). For Mendez it was the first stoppage loss in his career. The reason this is significant is because Mendez has shared the ring with several great fighters, most notably former WBC champion Luis Nery.

Estrada punished Mendez all fight long until he was forced to throw in the towel. Estrada has been itching for a rematch with current champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. With a performance like he had tonight there is no doubt he will be getting his wish very soon.

All of the fights were entertaining tonight. Those who were supposed to win did so and in dominant fashion. As much as I would love to continue to heap praise on these fighters, the attention should be placed on something much more important at the moment. Let’s acknowledge HBO here.

The network has officially left the world of boxing after 45 plus years of coverage. Of course the sport of boxing will go on but something will forever seem as though it’s missing. Some of the very best to lace them up both past and present have graced that platform. From Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran to current great fighters in Canelo Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol. It is a sad day in boxing but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

Farewell HBO, you will be missed.

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HBO Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hermans, Estrada vs. Mendez, Braekhus vs.


By: Hans Themistode

This Saturday night from the StubHub Center in California, HBO will be presenting a triple header for the final card on their boxing platform.

Current unified Women’s Middleweight world champion Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs) will be looking to defend her titles against Femke Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs).


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

For those unfamiliar with Femke she is not only a skilled and tough fighter but she is also the current WBO Super Middleweight champion. Femke dropped down in weight in order to make this fight happen. Femke won the WBO title earlier this year when she dethroned Nikki Adler for the vacant crown. Since then she has gone on to defend her title twice this year. Realizing that the Shields fight was a possibility Femke decided to drop down in weight in order to make the bout a reality.

For Shields taking on yet another champion is something she has grown accustomed to. The two time Olympic gold medalist has built her short career on taking the most difficult challenges.

In just her second pro fight she captured the NABF Super Middleweight title. In her fourth bout she snagged a legit world title by defeating Nikki Adler for both the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight titles. Earlier this year she entered the record books by becoming a two weight world champion when she dropped down in weight and captured both the IBF and WBA Middleweight titles.

Shields is attempting to defend her titles while also fighting on short rest. Just three weeks ago Claressa defended her IBF and WBA titles while capturing the vacant WBC title. Yes just three short weeks later and she’s back in the ring once again. Don’t expect Shields to be fatigued going into this bout as she has grown accustomed to a busy schedule. Both of these women are sure to bring their A games to this matchup.

Claressa will be sharing the spotlight this Saturday night with two other bouts of note.

Juan Francisco Estrada (37-3, 25 KOs) will be looking to get back in the mix for a title shot when he takes on Victor Mendez (28-3-2, 20 KOs). Estrada won’t just be looking to secure a victory but he will try to do so in dominant fashion.


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

Earlier this calendar year Estrada engaged in a fight of the year caliber contest against current WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Although the bout was close Estrada ultimately lost by majority decision. He is itching to get his chance at redemption but will first have to knock off the tough and durable Victor Mendez. For the aforementioned Mendez this is his opportunity to vault up the rankings and secure his own shot at a world title. Since losing to Arthur Villanueva in November of 2016, Mendez has reeled off four straight victories with his last two coming via knockout.

Mendez will be the bigger man come Fight night as he has a three inch height advantage. Checking in at 5’7 compared to 5’4 for Estrada. He has also given contenders a tough time. Just ask former WBC champion Luis Nery as he matched up with Mendez in 2014 and only managed to win by a close split decision.

In short, Mendez is no push over. If Estrada is hoping to land a title shot in the near future he will have to leave an impression in this fight. However as we have seen with Mendez time and time again that will not be an easy task.

Headlining the card is the consensus pound-for-pound best female fighter in the world Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) and Undisputed Welterweight champion. She will be looking to defend her titles against Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO).


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

Magdziak-Lopes is not new to challenging for a world title as this will be her third effort. Her first two attempts came in losing efforts to Mikaela Lauren and Ewa Piatkowska. Magdziak-Lopes however is hoping that the third time truly the charm.

Winning her first world title won’t be easy as she’s facing her stiffest competition in Braekhus.

Let’s be honest here. The deck is stacked mightily against Aleksandra. She has never faced someone with the skill nor pedigree of Braekhus. However with that being said Aleksandra can take solace in her present form. She has not lost a fight in over two years while defeating the likes of Patty Ramirez and Lisa Noel Garland.

Aleksandra also has nothing to lose at this point. If she loses then she was supposed to. There can be no shame in losing to who many regard as being the best fighter on the planet. If she wins however then her life can be changed forever. She has nothing to lose but plenty to gain. It will take Herculean effort to dethrone Braekhus but Magdziak-Lopes seems up to the task.

HBO has been the home for almost five decades for the world of boxing. “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Oscar De La Hoya to name a few have all graced this platform. As HBO bows out of the sport it is fitting that they are doing so with the Queen of boxing leading the charge.

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DAZN Boxing Results: Miller and Shields Win Impressively


By: Sean Crose

Brandon Rios, 34-4-1, faced the 27-6-3 Ramon Alvarez at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas on Saturday night as part of a card broadcast live by the DAZN streaming service. Rios, who has fought several great bouts against Mike Alvarado in a career that has featured fights with major opponents such as Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, and Danny Garcia, looked less than impressive in the first round against the older brother of the famous Canelo Alvarez. The man was able to assert himself however, and engage in a toe to toe battle that ended up going over eight rounds. Both men traded bombs and took some incredible shots. In the end, however, it was the veteran Rios who was able to carry the day, stopping his man in the 9th round.


Photo Credit: DAZN Boxing Twitter Account

After local 5-0 Nico Hernandez won a dominant victory over Josue Morales, 8-7-3, middleweight titlist Claressa Shields faced off against Scotland’s 5-2 Hannah Rankin. Rankin was certainly game, but Shields essentially dominated the bout. Although not a power puncher, Shields had the strength and skill set to get the best of her opponent regularly throughout the bout. Rankin came to Kansas to win and she did well when she was able to get on the inside. Shields, however, was able to maintain range and dominance throughout the match. The American star proved capable enough to walk out of the ring with a unanimous decision victory.

It was time for the main event. Brooklyn’s charismatic Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller stepped into the ring with a bright future before him. The 22-0-1 American also had an undefeated foe before him. Bogdan Dinu, an 18-0 Romanian policeman, had a history of high end sparring and an appreciation for a golden opportunity in the fight game. All he had to do was get past Miller. That, however would be no easy task.

The first round saw Dinu look perhaps surprisingly good. The man worked the distance well, even though Miller was able to land thudding shots to the body. Dinu continued to look impressive in the second thanks to impressive footwork and an effective jab. Miller looked quite strong in the 3d by virtue of a thunderous body attack. A slightly low blow sent Dinu to the mat, though it was not ruled a knockdown. A body-head combination sent Dinu down in the fourth. Dinu got up, but Miller sent him right back down. Dinu was subsequently unable to beat the count. Miller stepped out of the ring with an impressive, albeit expected, win. By fighting – and winning – regularly, Miller is situating himself for an inevitable world title shot.

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DAZN Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Rankin, Miller vs. Dinu


By: William Holmes

On Saturday, November 17th Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing will put on a stacked card live from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas on the DAZN streaming service.

The card was originally scheduled to take place in Atlantic City, but the addition of Olympic Bronze Medalist Nico Hernandez, already a big draw in Kansas, was a factor in the change of venues.

The card is stacked with talent, including fighters such as Anthony Sims, Gabriel Rosado, Luis Arias, Nico Hernandez, and Canelo’s older brother Ramon Alvarado.

The main event of the evening is a heavyweight bout between Jarell Miller and Bogdan Dinu, with future title implications on the line. The co-main event of the evening is between Claressa Shields and Hannah Rankin for Shield’s IBF and WBA titles as well as the vacant WBC Middleweight Title.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.

Claressa Shields (6-0) vs. Hannah Rankin (5-2); IBF/WBA/WBC Women’s Middleweight Titles

Claressa Shields is one of the biggest names in woman’s boxing, and she has her sight set on some possible big money matches against Christina Hammer, she first has to get past Scottish boxer Hannah Rankin.


Photo Credit: DAZN USA Twitter Account

Shields is easily one of the top pound for pound female boxers in the sport today. She’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and her only loss as an amateur was to Savannah Marshall. She’s never tasted defeat and has two stoppage wins on her record. She’s the same size as Rankin, both stand at about 5’8”. But she’s five years younger than Rankin as Shields is only 23 years old.

Rankin only has one stoppage win on her resume and she did not have the amateur success that Shields enjoyed. Rankin however, has never been stopped but did lost her last bout

Both boxers have been fairly active. Shields fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Rankin fought three times in 2018 and four times in 2017.

Shields only has six professional fights but has never faced an opponent with a losing record. She has defeated the likes of Nikki Adler, Tori Nelson, Hanna Gabriels, and Szilvia Szabados. Rankin’s best win to date was against Sanna Turunen. She has lost to the likes of Joanna Ekedahl and Alicia Napoleon. Her wins include wins against opponents with records of 10-47-3 and 2-21-1.

Shields is an exciting fighter to watch, but Rankin is an opponent with little to no shot of winning. Shields should win easily on Saturday.

Jarrell Miller (22-0-1) vs. Bogdan Dinu (18-0); WBA “World” Heavyweight Title

Jarrell Miller is a very large heavyweight boxer who had a prior successful career as a kickboxer. He’s thirty years old, two years younger than his opponent, but will be giving up about one inch in height to Dinu. But Miller will undoubtedly be heavier than Dinu.


Photo Credit:DAZN USA Twitter Account

When he fought Gerald Washington he weighed in at 298 pounds.

Miller is known for his knockout power. He has stopped nineteen of his opponents, and only one of his past ten opponents made it to the final bell. However, Dinu also has considerable power. He has stopped fourteen of his opponents and is currently riding an eight fight win by stoppage streak.

Miller had some success in the United States as an amateur. He was a NY Golden Gloves Finalist. Dinu had some success on the European Amateur Circuit as a child, but neither boxer was highly successful on the international stage.

Miller has fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. Dinu has yet to fight in 2018 and had two fights in 2017 and two fights in 2016. Inactivity may be an issue for Dinu.

Dinu has fought exclusively in Romania and Canada and has not faced the level of competition that Miller has faced. His best wins to date were over Marino Goles and Kertson Manswell.

Miller has never tasted defeated and has beaten the likes of Tomasz Adamek, Johan Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Gerald Washington, and Fred Kassi.

This is a fight that Miller should win, but Dinu has the power to test Miller’s chin and the height to match Miller. A win for Miller could lead to a future showdown with fellow DAZN fighter, Anthony Joshua.

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Claressa Shields: “I Just Want The Pound-For-Pound Spot”


By: Sean Crose

Claressa “T Rex” Shileds was expecting to have a major bout this weekend against Christina Hammer. That bout, however, fell through. Therefore, the 6-0 Shields will be facing the 5-2 Hannah Rankin this Saturday at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas, headlining a card that will be aired live by the DAZN streaming service. Shields will be defending her IBF and WBA world middleweight titles. The WBC belt, formerly held by Hammer, will also be at stake. “The WBC crown was in the hands of Christina Hammer,” promoter Matchroom Boxing claims, “whom Shields was slated to meet this weekend in a unification blockbuster for all four belts, with the German also owning the WBO belt.”

“I’m thrilled,” Shields says, “to be able to continue my road to undisputed this weekend…Christina has first in line when I win the belt on Saturday, it’s not a fight that we are looking to avoid. If she’d been fit to face me then that would be the fight this weekend. I wanted that fight bad.” Shields claims she knew something was amiss with Hammer, who had to step out of the fight due to a medical condition that hasn’t been disclosed to the public.

“I felt that when we did the phone interview and we announced that we were fighting,” says Shields, “I sensed in her tone that something was wrong, that she wasn’t as excited as I was about the fight. She didn’t seem happy, and as a champion I sensed something was wrong and I was right as she was sick. As soon as she comes back, we can fight.” Shields, however, is not going to take Rankin lightly. “Hannah has been Christina’s toughest sparring partner,” says Shields of this weekend’s opponent, “so I am going to make her pay just for that. It’s not a let down for me, just getting in the ring and being able to fight is a joy to me, it makes me happy. Hannah has turned down another fight to take this shot and we’re fighting as a co-main event on DAZN, so it should be fun.”

Shields is reportedly willing to go up to super middleweight, or even down to super welterweight, in order to land fights. “None of the girls at 168lbs,” says Shields, “want to fight me. We’ve offered the fight to Alicia many times and fights to so many of them, they’ve all said I’m too big and they are too little, then they say we don’t offer good money – but we have TV and we’re offering good money for sure.” Shields is even open to fighting welterweight Cecilia Braekhus at a catchweight.

“I think I can go as low as 154lbs,” says Shields, “and I would do that to fight Cecilia for the pound-for-pound spot. I don’t want to go to 147lbs as I would only be able to win the fight and not go on to defend the belts. She can keep her belts, I just want the pound-for-pound spot – she can have the belts and be number two, I’m number one. We can meet at 154lbs, that would be huge.”

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Algieri, Shields, De La Hoya, The Contender, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 31st to November 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Algieri Return Nearly Sold Out

There has been an overwhelming response to the return of boxing sensation and former WBO Junior Lightweight World Champion, CHRIS ALGIERI to the Paramount on NOVEMBER 30TH as he headlines “Rockin’ Fights” 33. Ticket demand to see the Huntington native has been tremendous. All of the top-priced tickets and all of the Sky Bar seats have already been sold out.

Only limited tickets remain. We are contacting you, because you are one of Star Boxing’s most loyal fans and ardent supporters and we greatly appreciate your patronage. We do not want you to be shut out from this top-tier event. If you want the opportunity to see this stellar night of boxing action please be sure to purchase your tickets today as there are only a handful of seats left.

Chris Algieri returns to The Paramount for the first time since 2014, when he defeated highly touted prospect Emmanuel Taylor by a unanimous decision. Algieri has dominated at his home venue, having fought eight times at The Paramount and having defeated the likes of world title challenger, Mike Arnaoutis, and then, highly regarded prospect, Jose Peralta. On November 30th, Algieri intends to pay homage to his strong hometown fanbase, earn his ninth consecutive victory at The Paramount, and make it a memorable homecoming. Be there to see the return of Chris Algieri, by purchasing your tickets HERE.

INFO:

Algieri, who was developed at the famed Star Boxing venue, The Paramount, moved to the big stage and had a career defining, real life “Rocky” story unfold on HBO on June 14th, 2014 at the Barclay’s Center, in Brooklyn, against heavily favored and feared Ruslan Provodnikov (then 23-2 16 KO’s) for the WBO World Championship. After peeling himself off the canvas two times in the opening round, Algieri put on the fight of his life. With one eye virtually closed, the gutsy Algieri fought the rest of the fight in brilliant fashion dominating the defending champion Provodnikov to become the new WBO Super Lightweight World Champion*.

The win catapulted the local sensation to international fame. Algieri was awarded a mega-multi-million dollar fight with boxing legend and superstar, Manny Pacquaio. The Pacquiao-Algieri bout took place around the world in Macao, China and was telecast on HBO/Pay Per View. Subsequently, Algieri continued to take the most challenging bouts taking on world class fighters such as Errol Spence Jr and Amir Khan, after the Pacquiao fight.

Algieri decided a couple of months ago that he was ready to make a comeback and re-signed a promotional agreement with his long-time promoter Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing. The two agreed it was time to return to the roots of Algieri’s career and give back to the loyal Long Island fans. Therefore, on November 30th, after a two-year layoff, Chris Algieri returns home to the place where it all began, The Paramount. Algieri will headline “Rockin’ Fights” 33 as he begins another march towards a World Championship fight.

The Contender Champion to Earn Top 10 WBA Ranking

Premium cable network EPIX®, an MGM company and their popular boxing series The Contender join forces with World Boxing Association (WBA) ahead of the final live bout on Friday, November 9th from the Forum in Los Angeles. For the first time since its inception, WBA will designate the winner of the current season to be automatically ranked in the top ten, creating a shortened path for the winner to participate in a title shot to win the WBA belt. The partnership aims to create more opportunities for young boxers around the world.

Over the years, eleven Contender fighters competed in world championships after appearing on the show, with five title winners including: Sergio Mora (WBC Super Welterweight Champion), Cornelius K-9 Bundrage (2-Time IBF Super Welterweight Champion), Ishe Smith (IBF Super Welterweight Champion), Sakio Bika (WBC and IBO Super Middleweight Champion), and Sam Soliman (IBF Middleweight Champion and WBF World Middleweight Champion).

“EPIX has been honored to showcase the passion, sacrifice and hard work of the boxing talent featured in this season of The Contender,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the WBA to give more deserved recognition to these incredible athletes.”

“Through the enduring success of the show, The Contender has produced several boxing champions and we thank the WBA for acknowledging the quality of these fighters and providing further opportunities that will enhance their professional boxing careers,” said Eric Van Wagenen, Executive Producer of The Contender.

“We are thrilled to work with EPIX and The Contender, a great tournament with strong talent, to create a path to success for the show’s champion by automatically ensuring their top 10 ranking, and ensuring strong competition for boxers globally,” said Gilberto Mendoza, President of World Boxing Association.

The WBA is an international boxing organization that sanctions official matches and awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen state representatives as the National Boxing Association, in 1962, it changed its name in recognition of boxing’s growing popularity worldwide and began to gain other nations as members. Gilberto Mendoza from Venezuela was the President of the WBA since 1982 until his death in 2015, after which Gilberto Jesús Mendoza took over as president.

Diego De la Hoya to Make Homecoming Defense of Super Bantamweight Titles Against Edixon Perez

NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (21-0, 10 KOs) will look to shine before a hometown crowd as he defends his titles against Edixon Perez (16-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round main event at Plaza De Toros Calafia in Mexicali, Mexico. De La Hoya will fight for the first time as a professional in his native country of Mexico in a bout that will be televised live on TV Azteca at a delayed time of 8:30 p.m. PT.

De La Hoya is an undefeated contender who has built a stellar resume since turning professional in 2013. The 24-year-old scored his most significant victory when he defeated former IBF Bantamweight World Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero on the HBO-televised undercard of Canelo vs. Golovkin in Sept. 2017. De La Hoya followed this win by defeating Jose “Sugar” Salgado via seventh-round technical knockout in June of this year. De La Hoya is on the verge of a world title shot but will risk that opportunity against Perez.

“I’m delighted to return to my hometown and defend my titles,” said Diego De La Hoya. “I’ve developed my career in the United States, but I’m happy to fight for the first time as a professional in Mexico. There’s no better way than to come back as a headliner and on a great platform such as TV Azteca.”

Perez is a 26-year-old native of El Tigrito, Venezuela who is coming off six straight victories, four of them by stoppage. Perez will look to follow in the footsteps of fighters such as the late Edwin “El Inca” Valero and Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares, boxers with Venezuelan blood who scored impressive wins against tough Mexican fighters.

“It is a privilege to fight in Mexico against a renowned boxer like Diego De La Hoya,” said Edixon Perez. “I’m going to my opponent’s backyard, but I am not going out without a fight. Local fans will find out who is Edixon Perez on the day of the fight.”

In the co-main event, Seniesa “SuperBad” Estrada (14-0, 4 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. will fight for the vacant WBC Silver Light Flyweight Title in a 10-round fight against Debora Rengifo (10-5-1, 5 KOs) of Rio Chico, Venezuela.

The undercard of this event will feature five competitive fights with local prospects along with a series of amateur bouts to begin the night.

Jesus Riegos (5-0, 3 KOs) and Cristian Pimentel (6-2, 2 KOs) will meet in a four-round super bantamweight fight in a battle between Mexicali, Mexico natives.

Israel Ramirez (3-0, 3 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico will face Wilivaldo Garcia (2-3) of Tijuana, Mexico in a four-round 118-pound clash,

Jose Dorantes (15-0, 9 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico and Alexandro Zarate (6-6, 4 KOs) of Navojoa, Mexico will clash in a featherweight fight scheduled for six rounds.

Miguel Espinoza (3-3, 1 KO) will participate in a four-round lightweight fight against fellow Mexicali, Mexico native Alejandro Leon in what will be the latter’s professional debut.

Rafael Flores (1-0) of Mexicali, Mexico will face Luis Lomeli (0-1) of Mexicali, Mexico in a four-round 135-pound battle.

De La Hoya vs. Perez is a 10-round fight for the NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate,”THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING.” The fights will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 at Plaza de Toros Calafia in Mexicali, Mexico. The action will be televised live on TV Azteca beginning at 8:30 p.m. PT.

Banner Promotions Signs Former Olympian Naim Terbunja

Banner Promotions is proud to announce the signing of former Olympian and current super middleweight Naim Terbunja.

Terbunja of Linkoping, Sweden by way of Pristina, Kosovo, represented Sweden in the 2008 Olympics. He currently holds a professional record of 10-2-1 with one knockout.

The 34 year-old Terbunja began boxing at the age of 14, as he was a young soccer player looking to get stronger. Terbunja took up boxing, and fell in love with the sport.

That sparked an amateur career that saw him go 200-36. Terbunja fought all over the world for the Swedish National team, and then to the 2008 Olympics where he lost to Matt Korobov in the round of 36.

Terbunja moved to Long Island and spent part of his amateur career in the United States and captured the National Golden Gloves title in 2009 by defeating Luis Arias in the finals.

Terbunja turned professional on April 27, 2012 with a unanimous decision over Vladimir Spasojevic in Sweden. Terbunja has fought six times in Sweden and twice in Kosovo.

Terbunja has a 1st round stoppage over previously undefeated Joel De La Paz (7-0) on July 23, 2016.

Terbunja is coming off a disputed draw with regarded Lanell Bellows on May 11th in Las Vegas.

“I am happy to sign with Banner Promotions,” said Terbunja. “If I have a good team around me, I believe that I can fight for a world title. Banner Promotions can help me where I need to go.”

“Naim has a blue chip pedigree. He was an Olympian, and the bout he lost was close. He has had one bad fight at super middleweight. I believe he has the ability to be in position to fight for a world championship. He has an awkward style, and a good chin. He now has a good opportunity with Banner Promotions to realize his potential,” said Terbunja’s manager, Pat Zagarino.

“We happy to have signed Naim. He was an Olympian, and we think he can become a player in the super middleweight division. We look forward to getting him in the ring before the end of the year, and we will get him in prime position in 2019,” said Banner Promotions President Artie Pelullo.

Training Camp Complete: A Confident and On-Weight Claressa Shields Ready for Hannah Rankin on DAZN on November 17th

Women’s superstar and two-division world champion Claressa Shields is in Florida with trainer John David Jackson, finishing up preparations for her showdown with Glasgow, Scotland’s Hannahh Rankin on Saturday, November 17, at the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.

Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) will defend her IBF and WBA World Middleweight Championships, and be looking to add the vacant WBC title, against Rankin (5-2, 1 KO) in the 10-round co-featured bout to Salita Promotions stablemate Jarrell Miller’s heavyweight showdown against Romania’s Bogdan Dinu.

Both fights, along with former world champion Brandon Rios taking on Canelo’s brother, Ramon Alvarez, in a super welterweight 10-rounder and former two-time world middleweight title challenger Gabriel Rosado going against once-beaten contender Luis Arias, will be broadcast live on DAZN.

23-year-old Shields, a former two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, has reignited interest in women’s boxing and become a ratings favorite for her nationally televised championship exploits. A proud native of Flint, Michigan, Shields mixes her brash pronouncements of greatness with a genuine and continued effort to inspire female athletes and render aid to members of her home community.

Shields was originally scheduled to face WBC and WBO World Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer on November 17, but the bout was postponed after Hammer withdrew due to medical reasons.

Did the change of opponents from Hammer to Rankin affect your training?

I don’t train for my opponents, I just push to get the best out of me, physically and mentally. If I’m the best ‘me,’ I don’t have to worry about who the opponent is. The change of opponents didn’t bother me at all; the worst thing about this camp for me was just all the date changes – constantly having to get my mind focused on the pace and timing of training depending on the fight date. I can’t wait to get in the ring!

You’ve fought at super middleweight 168 and recently at middleweight 160 pounds. How is your training, diet and any other efforts different to make 160?

Training is always hard and I’m constantly learning. I’ve had a completely different diet this camp – a real change and a positive one for me. I’ve teamed up with Perfecting Athletes for my daily meals, and I feel great. I’ve always tried to eat healthy but these folks are pros and are more educated in that field than myself. I have this magic drink that makes my stomach smile – I love it! It’s watermelon mixed with a green vegetable. I’m not going to tell you what vegetable it is, but I’ve been drinking it everyday, and I feel GREAT.

Your viewership numbers have been very strong. Why do you think people are drawn to you?

I believe that people are drawn to how real and honest I am, both in and out of the ring. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I’m hard but I have a soft side also. And I think people are drawn to how I fight — not only do I talk a good game but I fight my a– off too! I give 1000% every time – I want to change the game and bring a whole new generation of fans to women’s boxing and boxing overall.

What do you know about your opponent Hannah Rankin?

I know that my opponent Rankin is very tough and determined to be a world champion. I like her drive, I like her heart. I know that she has been in the ring as a sparring partner for many champions, one being Christina Hammer. So Rankin has seen some good fighters. But one thing is for sure – she has never seen a fighter like me. And since Hammer couldn’t fight because of her medical condition, in many ways the next best thing is to fight and beat her sparring partner and let Rankin tell Hammer what she’s in for when she returns!

What needs to be done to solve the Flint water crisis?

To solve the flint Water crisis, I think that people should continue to give water and also keep it in the news that there is a city in America where, unbelievably, US citizens don’t have clean water. And hopefully the president or our governor do something to fix all the pipes.

What’s the secret to becoming the best of the best in any sport?

I believe the secret starts with believing in yourself, being dedicated, working hard and just always striving to be better. I feel I’m my biggest critic when I train and box. It’s hard to watch film of my fights because even though I’m doing 97 things right I just can’t stand to see the 3 things I’m doing wrong. I’m a person who strives to pull out my full potential. It takes guts to be great. Nothing will stand in the way of achieving my goals, which includes being the GWOAT and creating equality for all women fighters when it comes to the money, opportunities and coverage the men get.

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Boxing Insider Interview with Savannah Marshall: The Woman Who Beat Shields


By: Michael Kane

Savannah Marshall (4-0, 2 KOs) recently won the WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight title in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Marshall, 27, from Hartlepool, England was also the first woman UK amateur world champion and also the only woman to have beaten world champion Claressa Shields when they faced off as amateurs.


Photo Credit: Hennessy Sports Facebook Page

In a question and answer interview Boxing Insider asked Marshall about her career highlights, Shields and more.

Boxing Insider: You had a good amateur career, becoming the UK’s first amateur world champion, winning Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and representing Team GB at two Olympics. What was the highlight of your amateur career?

Savannah Marshall: It has to be winning gold at the world championships because it fell on my 21st birthday!

BI: Do you feel your amateur background has helped prepare you for the pro ranks?

SM: Yes and no. I personally feel like it’s a different sport. But on the other hand I’ve been in with every style in the amatuers.

BI: Your pro debut was on one of the biggest PPV events ever, having signed with Floyd Mayweather TMT Promotions you fought on the undercard of Mayweather v McGregor in Las Vegas, what was that like to be involved in?

SM: It was brilliant, nothing could compare to that. Even the weigh in was in front of 14000 people.

BI: You are now training with Peter Fury, how beneficial has this move been for you?

SM: Yes 100% I love what Peter teaches, I feel like there is always some thing to learn and improve with him.

BI: You just won the WBA Intercontinental Super Middleweight title in Sofia, Bulgaria. How did it feel to win your first pro title?

SM: It was a great feeling! I haven’t stopped looking at it since I won it.

BI: Did the fight play out as you expected?

SM: No the girl (Yanina Orozco) was a lot tougher and gave me a harder contest than what I first thought from when I watched footage of her.

BI: When are we likely to see you back in the ring and do you have anyone you would like to fight next?

SM: I’m back on 9th Nov in Manchester so a quick turn around. (Opponent TBA)

BI: You are the only fighter to have defeated world champion Claressa Shields, who is taking on Scotland’s Hannah Rankin in November.

Would you like to face her again and do you have anything to say to her after she said a few words about you in an interview the other day, saying you may have beat her but she won gold at the Olympics and she would love to get you over to the States so she can beat you up!

SM: 100% I want that fight to happen. She has chosen her path and mine is different, I want to build myself up and make a name for myself, so that fight can be the biggest it can be.

BI: What is your thoughts on women’s boxing at the moment? It seems to be on the rise with th likes of yourself, Katie Taylor, Shields, Amanda Serrano etc all starting to gain a bit more publicity.

SM: Women’s boxing is really taking off and I’m glad to be a part of it.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Lomachenko, Shields, Brant, Baranchyk, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 24rd to October 31st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Loma Prepares for Pedraza in Oxnard
WBA lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko was at home at the Boxing Laboratory as he prepared for his next challenge. Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs), who has won world titles in three weight classes in just 12 pro fights, will seek to unify titles for the first time as a pro when he takes on WBO champion Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs), Dec. 8 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).

Lomachenko worked out for the media Tuesday, showing off his assortment of training tricks. This is what the pound-for-pound great had to say.

On the Pedraza fight

“I had a long rest {following shoulder surgery}. I am looking forward to seeing how I feel and taking on a tough opponent like Pedraza. I haven’t had much time to watch his fights.”

On potentially unifying the titles

“I can’t wait. After this fight, a lot of doors will be open. Title unification fights are good for the sport of boxing.”

On future opponents

“I love challenges. That’s what motivates me. I want all the top fighters. I’m open to anyone.”

On the Jorge Linares fight

“It was the first time I was knocked down as a pro. After the knockdown, I came back and finished the fight. It was a tough fight, but I showed the heart of a champion.”

On whether he’ll remain at lightweight

“I believe I’ll stay at 135 and focus on 135 because when I fought against Linares, I felt like he was bigger than me. So I’ll stay at 135 because I think 135 is not my {ideal} weight category right now. After one or two years, it will be my {ideal} weight.”

On a Mikey Garcia fight

“I hope {it will happen}. We can see in the future because my next fight is against Pedraza. After Pedraza, we can talk about fighting Mikey.”

Claressa Shields to Defend IBF and WBA Middleweight Championships Against Hannah Rankin on DAZN
On Saturday, November 17, at the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas, superstar two-division women’s world champion Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan, will defend her IBF and WBA World Middleweight Championships and be looking to add the vacant WBC title against Hannahh Rankin from Glasgow, Scotland.

The 10-round Shields (6-0, 2 KOs), and Rankin (5-2, 1 KO) battle will serve as the co-featured bout to Brooklyn-born heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller’s WBA World Heavyweight Championship showdown against Romania’s Bogdan Dinu.

These two fights will be broadcast live on DAZN, along with former world champion Brandon Rios taking on Canelo’s brother, Ramon Alvarez, in a super welterweight 10-rounder and former two-time world middleweight title challenger Gabriel Rosado going against once-beaten contender Luis Arias.

Shields was originally scheduled to face WBC and WBO World Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer on November 17, but the bout was postponed after Hammer withdrew due to medical reasons. Hammer has been named a champion in recess during her recovery. The two champions are now projected to do battle in the first quarter of 2019.

“Claressa is a once-in-a-generation athlete that transcends the sport,” said her promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “She will take another step in her goal to achieve the status of GWOAT as she makes the first defense of her middleweight world titles against the skilled and durable Hannah Rankin.”

A bonafide women’s superstar and TV ratings favorite, 23-year-old “T-Rex” Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and already a world champion in two weight divisions. In her fourth professional fight, she won the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight Championships in August 2017 with a dominant stoppage of Germany’s Nikki Adler. Then, in June of this year and in just her sixth pro fight, she dropped down to 160 pounds and won the IBF and WBA Middleweight titles with an exciting unanimous decision over Hannah Gabriels.

“I’m so excited to be able to give my fans another chance to see me defend my championship this year and to have the opportunity to win the WBC middleweight title on November 17,” said Shields. “I appreciate the efforts of Salita Promotions, my manager Mark Taffet, and Matchroom Boxing in putting this fight together so quickly. I will be in great shape and will provide a great performance.”

“I want to thank Salita Promotions and Matchroom Boxing for providing Claressa with another chance to fight this year and an opportunity to attain a third middleweight world championship,” said Mark Taffet, manager of Claressa Shields. “Claressa is hungry and motivated to put on a great performance on November 17 on DAZN. Claressa has lofty goals and I have no doubt that she’s going to achieve every one of them, including fighting and defeating Christina Hammer early next year. I expect Shields vs Rankin to be an action-packed fight that fans will enjoy tremendously.”

28-year-old Rankin put in an impressive and brave performance while losing a challenge for Alicia Napoleon’s WBA Super Middleweight Championship in August of this year. Before that, she picked up the WBC Silver Middleweight Championship with a dominant victory over Finland’s Sanna Turunen in June.

“I’m excited about the fight and proud to be representing Scotland on such a big stage,” said Rankin. “In boxing, nothing is impossible and on November 17, it will be just us in there when the bell rings and I think it’s going to be one hell of a fight.”
New WBA Middleweight Champion Rob Brant Basking in the Glow, but Ready for Next Assignment

Brand-new WBA World Middleweight Champion Rob “Bravo” Brant says he goes everywhere with his new best friend. “The belt hasn’t left my side since they handed it to me,” laughs the personable new champion from Saint Paul, Minnesota.

28-year-old Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) says he went into his main-event showdown with then champion Ryota Murata (14-2, 11 KOs), last Saturday night at the Park MGM in Las Vegas (and live on ESPN+), unaware he was such a heavy underdog.

“I really did go into it very confident I would win, just off the preparations we did,” said Brant, who was having his first fight with former world champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad as his trainer. “I tried to stay away from news when I was in training, so I had no idea how big of an underdog I was. We had a post-fight press conference and that was when I found out. When reporters were asking about it. I had no idea. It wouldn’t have deterred me anyway if I had known.”

Despite the doubts of the bookmakers, Brant cruised to a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata, with two judges giving him all but one round, the other all but two. Brant busted up the now ex-champion with a piston-like jab and peppered him with combinations throughout what turned out to be a surprisingly dominant performance.

According to CompuBox statistics, Brant landed 356 of 1,262 punches (28 percent) while Murata connected with just 180 of 774 (23 percent).

“As a pro, he hasn’t seen what I gave him,” explained Brant. We knew he had a hard time with hand speed and jabs. He locks up when punches are being thrown, so we made sure we kept him backing up and worried about the jab and punches in general. The more he thinks about my shots, the less he throws. We knew we’d be able to keep him on his back foot. Eddie Mustafa is very strict on letting the hands go. We were big on the cardio in training and keeping the punch rate high. And when you’re keeping the jab out there all the time, other shots open up.”

Brant says at fight’s end, he wasn’t worried about the decision going his way.

“I’ve always felt that judges’ decisions are out of my hands. I was nervous about it, you don’t know until they announce your name, but I knew I had done what I felt was my best work. I had a great sense of pride and relief knowing I put it all out there and did everything possible to win. But now that I have won, it’s kind of like having giant weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s definitely my biggest accomplishment ever, winning in Vegas against a former Olympic gold medallist. It’s everything I ever worked for. It was the best feeling in the world. I knew how much I worked for that. Boxing gives back what you put into it and I put my everything into it.”

Although Brant and promoters GCP reportedly agreed to a rematch before the fight, the new champion says he’s not sure the now ex-champion wants it.

“All the talk of a rematch has been from his promoters. I haven’t heard him say anything about it. He might be a little discouraged right now. I’m not saying he won’t be able to come back, but I don’t think he wants it right now. I’ll just go on to bigger and better in the division. Once you win a title, there are no more easy fights. Until you are the undisputed king, you’re always taking steps up in class in every fight.”

Brant says he took a week off but is now back in the gym and ready for what comes next.

“I’m just waiting for the next assignment to work toward. I want to know who my next opponent is as soon as possible, so I can go to sleep at night thinking of what I’m going to do. Watching film and looking for flaws and things I can exploit. That’s when I‘m really the most comfortable. When I have an assignment. It’ll be a big name eventually. I’m there now. So I’m just waiting to see who is next for me to spend all my time watching that person.”

Brant gives a big piece of the credit for his upset victory to the only man to ever beat him. Last October, he stepped up in weight to participate in the World Boxing Super Series as a super middleweight and lost a one-sided decision to former light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer in Germany.

“The thought of what happened against Braehmer was always in the background. That’s what really motivated me to be the best I could in this fight. I knew I was better than I was in that fight. I had to prove it by doing what I’m capable of. The loss to Braehmer will be in the back of my mind forever. I won’t let anyone else do that to me again. I will never forget that loss and I’ve been a better fighter from that point forward.”

Undefeated Prospects Castaneda and Venegas Jr. Clash for NABA Super Lightweight Title on December 1st

TMB & PRB Entertainment and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions, present “Whose ‘0’ Will Go 2”, a live boxing event taking place at the Scottish Rite Theatre in San Antonio, TX, on December 1, 2018. In the 10-round main event, undefeated super lightweights Kendo Castaneda (14-0, 7 KOs) and Gilbert Venegas Jr. (10-0, 6 KOs), will battle for the vacant WBA-NABA title. The entire card will be streamed via Facebook’s FIGHTNIGHT LIVE channel, which has already served more than three million fight fans since May 2017.

Venegas age 24, is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory against Armando Cardenas (9-2, 5 KOs), a fight that took place at the Scottish Rite Theatre on September 8, 2018. With momentum on his side, Venegas is determined to remain unbeaten with a victory against Castaneda.

“Castaneda comes in with an undefeated record, so this will no doubt be my toughest opponent of my career, but a fight I believe I can win.” stated Gilbert Venegas Jr. “I’ve worked very hard to get into this position, to fight for a title, so rest assure, I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by. Being that this will be my first shot at a title, you better believe I’m coming to win, and win impressively. I’m going to be the new NABA super lightweight champion and on December 1st, my hands will be raised in victory.”

The 24-year old Castaneda, who is promoted by Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions, recently defeated former WBC United States Champion, Jesus “Chuy” Gutierrez, by 8-round unanimous decision. With the victory, Castaneda, who resides in San Antonio, TX, will look to keep his undefeated record in tact against Venegas.

“I’m predicting a tremendous performance,” said Castaneda. “I’m ready to razzle and dazzle, graze them and daze them, confuse and abuse them. Getting a NABA title shot on my second fight with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing represents a huge door being kicked down for me. If I can’t beat a guy like Venegas, I have no business in boxing.”

Tickets priced $35 General Admission $40 at the door, and $100 Ringside, are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling (210) 449-5599 or (210) 322-9974. The Scottish Rite Theatre is located at 308 Ave E, San Antonio, TX 78205. Doors open at 4:00 PM, first bell at 5:30 PM.
Split-T Management’s Ivan Baranchyk Captures IBF Junior Welterweight Title
Split-T Management’s Ivan Baranchyk won the IBF Junior Welterweight title with a 7th round stoppage over Anthony Yigit.

The bout, which took place in New Orleans, was also part of the World Boxing Super Series, giving Baranchyk more than just a world title to celebrate.

Baranchyk took the fight to Yigit, as he landed many power shots that made the left eye of Yigit swell very badly. With the eye just about closed, the fight was halted after the 7th frame, gibing Baranchyk the coveted world title.

Baranchyk will now face the winner of next Saturday’s contest between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin, which will take place in Glasgow, Scotland.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” said Baranchyk. “To become world champion, I feel like I am the best fighter in the tournament. It was a good fight, I was able to implore my style and get the stoppage. I will rest for a a week or so, and then start my work for my next fight.”

“I couldn’t be happier than I am for Ivan. He deserved this and worked for it as hard as anyone can. You have to be around Ivan to really realize how intense and dedicated he is. We are looking forward to the next round and I honestly don’t think Ivan cares which one he fights,” said David McWater of Split T Management.

Baranchyk is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, Holden promotions and Fight Promotions.
New Era Dawns: ICB Launches Boxing’s Move to MMA-Style Cage

With a patent, trademarks and official approval complete, Jack Perone Fulton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of International Championship Boxing (ICB), is set to reboot the traditional sport of boxing by moving it into an MMA-style cage.

Trademarked “The Fight Zone,” the specially designed ICB cage is a 24-foot, six-sided fenced hexagon with red and blue entry points and two opposing neutral corners.

“ICB represents boxing for a new generation, one that has grown up watching combat sports in a cage,” said Fulton. “It’s truly a better boxing platform. It’s a larger fighting space and with better camera angles for broadcast viewers. And when a boxer’s heel touches the back of the cage fencing, they must come out swinging instead of resting on the ropes. Those are the main reasons we conceived, created and are now launching the ICB. We have no doubt the ICB will capture the imaginations of existing fans and attract new ones around the globe.”

It took Fulton almost two years to get The Fight Zone specially designed, built, patented and approved by boxing and athletic commissions within the United States. In March of this year, he received a unanimous approval from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, recognized as the industry leader when it comes to regulatory matters.

“I’m both ecstatic and excited we have been granted approval by the NSAC,” said Fulton. “It’s the first time anything remotely resembling this has been legally attempted.”

Real-life testing of the new format has gone extremely well.

“The initial sparring sessions have resulted in action that has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Fulton. “MMA fans get what they want: stand-up striking, instead of the all-too prevalent ground game, which produces long breaks in the action. And boxing fans will enjoy the new action-packed toe-to-toe dynamic the cage produces.”

What has also exceeded expectations is the response from boxers and mixed martial artists alike. Several notable combatants in both fields have expressed enthusiasm about competing in the ICB. “You’d be surprised by the number of boxers – boxers whose skill sets range all the way up to world champions and world-ranked contenders – who not only are expressing interest but enthusiasm about boxing in the ICB cage,” said Fulton.

Because of the characteristics of a cage in comparison to a ring, boxers will have to learn and hone new skill sets.

“Some boxers will adapt and flourish quicker than others,” said Fulton, “but eventually, they’ll see the advantages of competing in the cage and will gravitate en-masse. Mixed martial artists, particularly those who excel at striking, will also feel the lure of boxing in the cage. It accentuates their strong points while eliminating their weak points.”

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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.”

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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.

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