By Xavier Porter | Brooklyn, NY | June 18, 2018
Women’s boxing is on a steady rise. At the forefront in bridging the gap between fans of both men’s and women’s boxing is undefeated IBF and WBC Super Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields, who in her last two outings, has dominated each opponent with supreme boxing skill. Shields possesses tremendous hand speed and can land rapid-fire combinations at the blink of an eye. What truly separates her from other female fighters is her ability to remain calm while skillfully dissecting her opponent with each punch landed.
“I’m very experienced, strong, and fast. I am a quick thinker, a very smart boxer. I’m a level above any of the top woman fighters. I can watch film of a fighter for two minutes and know how to beat her.”
“I won my first world title, in just my fourth fight, against a then undefeated veteran champion (Nikki Adler). I know what I’m capable of. I know my strengths. I have a lot of them. I also acknowledge my weaknesses, even though I don’t have many. I work in the gym continuously to make corrections that need to be made.”
After her dominance in the Olympics, where she became the only United States boxer in history to win two gold medals, Shields has continued to perform at a high level within the professional ranks. On June 22nd, and in her sixth professional fight, Shields will be ready to once again put the sport of women’s boxing on her back, to take it to the next level.
This time around she will be facing Hanna Gabriels, the current WBA and WBO World Female Super Welterweight Champion. For this fight, both Shields (5-0, 2 KOs) and Gabriels (18-1-1, 11 KOs) will look to make history as both women are stepping out of their weight classes to fight for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight titles. The bout is scheduled to take place at the Masonic Temple (Detroit, MI), live on Showtime (10pm EST). Both women are ranked number one (in the world) in their respective divisions.
“I’m fighting for my legacy and to make history. I want to win, look good doing it, and continue to show everyone that I’m the best in the world. Hanna has experience, but I will show my skill against the “supposed” better boxer. I’m going to make her say to herself that I’m the greatest and if she doesn’t say it, her face will show that I am. I’m ready to win a world title in my second weight division and I’m not going to let anyone get in the way of that.”
“First I wanted a world title and then I won two world titles. Now I want all the belts at 160lb! I’m invading the 160lb division like I own it! My goals keep getting bigger. After June 22nd, I want to unify all the middleweight belts against Christina Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs – current WBC and WBO Middleweight Champion). She is the woman to beat right now at 160lb. I want to show her and the world that I am the woman to beat at 160lb. I want to show the world I’m the one to beat at any weight division in which I fight in.”
“I’ve been wanting to fight Hammer for a long time. It’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing. My team has told me that the fight will happen next, provided that Hammer and I both win our fights on June 22nd. I also want to fight Ring Magazine and Undisputed Welterweight Champion Cecelia Braekhus (33-0, 9 KOs). I have my eyes on Braekhus for next year. I want to reach and achieve what others think is impossible.”
Shields, a native of Flint (MI) is expected to have tons of fans in attendance to cheer her on as she seeks to accomplish another goal in her decorated career. Shields undoubtedly plans to deliver more hope to a community that has been affected by harsh living conditions for quite some time. Shields’ belief is that anyone, can accomplish anything in life, by continuing to fight through the adversity.
“Growing up in Flint, MI, I struggled with a few things including sexual abuse, being bullied in first grade through third grade, and seeing my mom battle alcohol for some time. Boxing truly helped me get through the trauma and abuse I experienced.”
“Flint is not a troubled place to me…it’s simply home to me. Too often people let the bad overshadow the good. In Flint, it’s easy for the bad news — the lead water, murders and poverty – to overshadow the good. Always hearing or dealing with those kinds of things can consume you. My advice for anyone growing up there is to not let the bad and negativity to consume you. I tell people to dream big because the world is bigger than Flint and only you can control the outcome of your life.”
The love and support that Shields has received throughout the years has helped shaped her into becoming not only a world champion, but into the phenomenal woman that she is today. She credits her grandmother for instilling values and the perseverance to overcome any obstacle in life.
“Growing up and rising through the ranks to the Olympics, I never had a female boxer that was my central inspiration. My Grandma was my best friend. She raised me. She always taught me to be tough, to be smart, to think for myself, and always help my family.”
“Being a professional fighter for almost two years has made me fight for equality, respect, and the sport of women’s boxing as a whole. I hope that by my hard work and the hard work of other women, can open all doors and make it easier for the female boxers coming up in the sport after us.”
With the added bout of Hammer taking on Shields’ last opponent (Tori Nelson) to the fight card, Shields’ desire to show the world that she’s the best female boxer on the planet has risen even more.
“I feel good about the progress that women’s boxing is making. We are making progress and it’s happening fast. Many of the important boxing networks (Showtime, ESPN, HBO) are now showing women’s boxing events more often. For women’s boxing to get to where it deserves to be, more women need to turn professional. Promoters need to make the commitments and sign these women also.”
“The top women fighters have to always perform at a high level and fight the best competition. Women fighters must make the commitment to make themselves available to media and fans regularly. I believe our sport will get to where it needs to be soon.”
“I’m the leader of the pack, and I’ll do everything I can to continue to open the doors and also shatter the glass ceilings. I want to fight the best fighters every fight; I want to make history every fight; I won’t stop until we accomplish it all.”
On June 22nd, fight fans will not want to miss this Showtime Boxing Special Edition (10 p.m. ET/PT) with two bouts, featuring four world championship titles up for grabs.
“I am honored to promote this historic night of boxing on SHOWTIME in the championship city of Detroit,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “I believe these fights are in line with the best and most competitive matchups in the history of women’s boxing. All four of these fighters are coming from different parts of the globe to win a world title and show they are the best. It will be an exciting and explosive night of boxing from beginning to end for the fans attending the fight at the Detroit Masonic Temple and for those watching the fight live on SHOWTIME.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are available at Ticketmaster.com or at the Masonic Temple Box Office at (313) 832-7100. VIP tickets are priced at $300, ringside tickets at $125, and remaining tickets at $75, $50 and $35 (https://www.ticketmaster.com/artist/2367442?tm_link=tm_homeA_header_search).
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