Detroit Fall and Rise of Clarissa Shields
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
On Friday evening, June 22, 2018, at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan, this reporter covered a nine-bout card, with three main event bouts televised on Showtime. The two world championship bouts featured women, a televised first. This reporter also worked the corner of Detroit light heavyweight James Ballard, who went 10 rounds for the first time in his career but lost the decision to 13-0 Russian fighter Aslambek Idigov.
Dortmund, Germany’s 23-0 Christina Hammer retained her World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization Female World Middleweight titles with a 10 round decision over 41- year-old Tori Nelson, who could not keep with Hammer’s rapid and consistent work rate always throwing punches. Hammer’s win set up a Showtime unification bout with Clarissa Shields.
By far the highlight of the Detroit show was the final bout featuring Flint, Michigan’s Clarissa Shields. At 5-0. The World Female Super Middleweight champion was coming down in weight to face the World Female Super Welterweight champion, for the vacant World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation World Middleweight female titles. Hanna Gabriels of Alajuela, Costa Rica. As Shields went down in weight, and Gabriels went up, Shields would seem to have the clear edge on power.
However, women’s boxing can be confusing, as there are not many female fighters out there. Add to that the roar of the crowd, and Shields being overanxious but not careful enough, and an upset almost permeated the air.
Gabriels knocked down Shields in the first and almost put her away. Shields was not on top of her game as the bout began, and so she fell, only to rise. Shields kept her hands up defensively for the rest of the 10 round championship belt, and won every round on the judges’ scorecards from that moment on. Shields simply outworked the mostly back peddling Gabriels, who opted not to mix it with Shields and thus avoid uneven exchanges with a much taller opponent. Summing it up, Clarissa Shields has great potential to go higher in the boxing game. The dangerous Christina Hammer has a high work rate and superior technical skill. Hammer may provide Shields with the only serious challenge available. Shields is both promotable and likeable, but her defense, given the Gabriels knockdown, still remains suspect to a championship caliber heavy hitter. Hammer comes forward, keeps throwing, and won’t go away. Against Hammer, Shields will sink or swim.
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