This Saturday history will be made from boxing’s often forgotten warriors.
One of the biggest fights of the year takes place Saturday when Claressa Shields faces Christina Hammer in Atlantic City. The blockbuster unification match will determine the women’s undisputed 160-pound world champion.
The history-making fight of the consensus top-10 pound-for-pound fighters will crown only the second undisputed champion in women’s boxing history.
“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 during a the fight press conference.
“I want to be part of the biggest fight in women’s boxing history, I want to be undisputed world middleweight champion, 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. I will defeat Hammer on April 13th, and I will do it in a way that will leave no doubt who is the best in the world.”
The 23-year-old Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) is a two-division champion who holds the IBF and WBA 160-pound titles.
“I’ve been there (Atlantic City),” said Shields. “I know that Laila Ali fought against Jacqui Frazier here in a world title fight. I can’t think of anybody else that fought there. But that’s one of the women’s fights that I know of. But that’s about it that I know from – and Floyd Mayweather fought against Arturo Gatti at the Boardwalk Hall.”
The 28-year-old Hammer (23-0, 10 KOs) owns the WBC and WBO belts and has dominated the women’s middleweight division for nearly eight years. Shields and Hammer fought on the same card in June on SHOWTIME, with both fighters winning impressively to set up the first undisputed showdown in the women’s 160-pound division.
“I prepared a long time for this fight,” said Hammer on the media call. “We have built this fight up and it’s very great. I’m thankful for the opportunity to fight on April 13 live on SHOWTIME.
“It’s a big step for women’s boxing and a big step for me to unify all of these belts in one fight. I’m proud for this and I will give everything to be the champion and to step out of the ring as the undisputed champion at middleweight.”
The winner of Shields vs. Hammer will join current and former boxing greats such as Terence Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, Oleksandr Usyk, and Cecilia Braekhus, all who have also unified all four titles.
“I want to acknowledge Claressa and Christina, because it’s easy to forget that this is a fight,” said Stephen Espinoza, President of Showtime Sports. “That may sound strange, but it’s because there is so much discussion about the meaning and symbolism of this fight. You still have to remember, that beyond all that, these are two athletes preparing for a fight. They each want to win.
“Each of them has taken on the challenge of representing women’s boxing and that should not be overlooked. It would be very easy as a competitor to say that you’re not going to get into that extra stuff. That would be the easier thing to do. But what Claressa and Christina have done is accept that mantle and that challenge. They’ve taken on those discussions. Not just promoting their fight, but engaging in discussions about the future of women’s boxing.”
Claressa Shields has passed every test ever put in front of her. She has been dominant as a pro, winning a world title in her fourth fight and a second division title in her sixth fight. April 13 will be her toughest test and against a European legend in Christina Hammer, we are blessed to see these two fighters in their prime.