Claressa Shields successfully unified the middleweight championship of the world with a resounding unanimous decision victory over Christina Hammer.
In a thoroughly dominant display, the Flint native negated her counterpart’s significant height and reach advantages from the outset by consistently beating her to the punch in exchanges, and showcasing exquisite head movement in the face of Hammer’s return fire.
Although the long-reigning WBO titlist Hammer started the bout in promising fashion with intelligent movement and flurries of straight punches, Shields quickly took control from that point onwards with her own jab and patently superior hand speed.
Shields briefly threatened to force the stoppage in the eighth round after a spiteful volley of punches sent a disorientated Hammer staggering back to her corner at the end of the two minutes.
‘T-Rex’ continued to assert her authority by pummelling a visibly dazed Hammer around the ring for the final two rounds before being ultimately proclaimed the winner with tallies of 98-92 in her favour to become the undisputed champion.
The chief support on the card saw Saginaw’s undefeated heavyweight prospect Jermaine Franklin extend his record to 18-0 with 13 knockouts after registering a unanimous decision victory over seasoned veteran Rydell Booker.
Booker, whose solidarity defeat came to James Toney in 2004 before serving a lengthy jail bid, enjoyed intermittent success with counter left-hooks in the early rounds before inexorably tiring as the fight progressed past the midway point, allowing the younger and busier Franklin to pile up the points.
Article by: Navi Singh