Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields and Christina ‘Lady’ Hammer will be fighting for undisputed middleweight supremacy at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 13th.
Their showdown will determine the undisputed champion at middleweight as Kazakhstan-born Hammer has reigned as WBO champion for nearly a decade, while Shields holds the remaining three major titles having collected the vacant WBC title against Hannah Rankin in November, in addition to her WBA and IBF championships.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Shields was a prodigious amateur who accrued a litany of medals in various tournaments – including two back-to-back Olympic golds – and looks on course to be replicating these remarkable accomplishments as a professional, having already enjoyed a tenure as a unified super middleweight champion following a dominant fifth-round stoppage victory over Nikki Adler in just her fourth fight.
Standing in her way of achieving ultimate middleweight glory is Hammer, a similarly undefeated champion who became embroiled in a heated post-fight confrontation with Shields after the latter’s successful showing against Adler at the MGM Grand in Detroit.
Hammer is decidedly longer – in the tooth, figuratively speaking, and literally – than Shields, enjoying significant height, reach and experience advantages over her American counterpart; a win would enable her to extend her impressive record to 24-0.
Meanwhile, Shields believes her energy, intelligence and tenacity will enable her to vanquish the German and stake her claim as the current pound-for-pound number one female fighter – something which she is marginally favoured by bookmakers to do – and also evoked the legacy of Muhammad Ali when describing herself as the “GWOAT” at the press conference on March 7th.
Considering this somewhat presumptuous, Hammer took the opportunity to pour scorn on Shield’s claim, stressing that her opponent should not ‘compare herself to Ali’, while Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza described the bout as “the first female super-fight between two of the best athletes in the world.”
The two fighters exchanged words before and after a spirited face-off, and their mutual enmity should reflect in the ring this Saturday night and make for a compelling and competitive fight where the winner could potentially supplant undisputed Norwegian welterweight champion Cecilia Breakhus as the world’s number one female fighter.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________