Undefeated and Undisputed: Claressa Shields dominates Christina Hammer to unify middleweight belts
At 9-0, Shields now controls the women’s middleweight division. Is she the best women’s boxer out there today?
She can talk the talk, but it was whether Claressa Sheilds could truly walk the walk when it mattered the most that she needed to prove. In the Showtime-produced main event inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the 24-year-old did just that.
Shields dominated international sensation Christina Hammer to win her WBO Middleweight Title, as well as the vacant The Ring Middleweight Title. She adds those belts to go along with theWBA, WBC, and IBF Middleweight Titles. The judges scored the bout a unanimous decision win for Shields, 98-92 across the board.
“I swear I feel like I’m dreaming right now,” Shields stated after the fight. “Thanks to Christina Hammer and her team. They said she had a hard jab and they weren’t lying. Her jab is off the chain. I am the greatest woman of all time!”
Right at the start of the opening bell Shields (9-0) dominated, using her impressive footwork to work past Hammer (24-1), who displayed little to no offense throughout. The only round in which Hammer truly unanimously won may have been the sixth. The normal power of Hammer (11 knockouts) was subdued by the younger Shields. Hammer was put into survival mode right from the start and could never escape that zone.
Rounds one and two saw Shields going for the combination shots early. Several crosses and hooks to the face of Hammer were displayed. This was the first time we’ve really gotten to see Shields’ power take form. She is still progressing with her power. Round three might have seen Shields play it close to the vest, but Hammer was starting to find some sort of groove in her step. Two of the three judges scored the third in favor of Hammer. In the end, however, that didn’t matter.
Shields was blocking everything Hammer had to offer from rounds four through five. Shields’ precise jabs to the face and her body shots were hitting harder. With each shot the crowd inside Boardwalk Hall was going wild. Two of the three judges gave round six to Hammer, and for good reason. Hammer threw overhand punches that finally connected. The problem was that she was not sticking to any sort of plan in the rounds between this one.
Rounds seven and eight almost seemed like the end of Hammer. Shields was pummeling Hammer’s face in the seventh and by the eighth round, she thought she knocked the German down. Hammer’s team was getting riled up with the fact that she wasn’t protecting herself well enough. Overhand rights by Shields rocked the face of Hammer. Shields thought she won via knockdown, but the bell ended up saving Hammer.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) April 14, 2019
That is where the two-minute rounds for women came into play. Shields was adamant that something needs to change when it comes to equal pay and equal time for women. If not for the two minutes, she believes Hammer would have been knocked out in the eighth instead of continuing the fight.
As a result of round eight, Hammer looked gassed. Shields continued to pound away at the now former champion, as rounds nine and ten were clearly in favor of Shields. When the decision was made, the crowd let out a roar, knowing they witnessed history. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is now in control of the female middleweight division.
It was only fair that Christy Martin, one of the best to put on a pair of gloves, was out there to help commemorate this moment. A true trailblazer, Martin’s (49-7-3) era helped women’s boxing to where it is today. One has to wonder how she would fare in today’s climate.
After the fight, Shields and Hammer had a moment of respect for one another. Shields raised her hand to the media and backstage personnel. Hammer is hoping a rematch is down the line, as she believes she will come back faster and stronger.
— Daniel Yanofsky (@DanYanofsky) April 14, 2019
As for what is next for the G.W.O.A.T., Shields wants to continue to dominate the boxing world. The 24-year-old believes she belongs in the overall top ten pound-for-pound rankings. As far as opponents go, she has two perfect candidates in mind. As the old saying goes, in order to be the best, you have to beat the best.
“Women’s boxing, we’re on fire,” Shields stated. ” I cannot wait to see the next superfight. Right now I’m the undisputed champ. Give me Cecilia Brækhus at 154. That’s who I want next. Either her or Savannah Marshall.”
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