Biggest Bout in Women’s Boxing History: Shields or Hammer Time? Showtime Preview

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent

*Photo Credit: Trapp Photos/Showtime

Atlantic City, NJ (April 11th, 2019)-– In the most significant female professional titular unification bout, and the biggest women’s bout in modern history, 24-0 WBC and WBO World Middleweight champion Christina Hammer will still have her hands full trying to outpoint the lesser experienced WBA and IBF World Middleweight champion Claressa Shields, to win the unified World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization, and International Boxing Federation Female World Middleweight titles at Boardwalk Hall, in the USA Showtime main event this Saturday night, April 13, 2019.

Whenever all four world titles and therefore the lineal title are all on the table to determine the undisputed world champion, whether it’s male or female, that’s entertainment.

Ms. Hammer, 24-0 with 11 knockouts, Dortmund, Germany, is one knockout short of a 50 percent knockout ratio, and has the experience of 16 world title bouts without a loss or draw. Hammer stated in prefight hype she would shut Shields up. That remains to be seen.

Ms. Shields, 8-0 with two knockouts, Flint, Michigan, got decked by the shorter WBA Female World Super Welterweight title holder Hanna Gabriels of Costa Rica in the first round of their June 2018 bout in Detroit, Michigan, covered by this reporter. Shields arose and rallied to win every round, but her chin was exposed, raising questions.

Hammer, at 5’11, with a 71 inch reach, took this unification bout knowing she has height and reach advantage over the 5’10” and 68 inch reach Shields, and Hammer has the vast experience to know how to use it. Hype and publicity aside, this bout is a tossup, and could go to the cards after 10 rounds for either combatant, even with two-minute rounds in a 10 round world titular bout. It will take everything Shields needs to do to win this one.

Hammer is a tall, strong, and meticulously accurate crafty boxer, with various game plans and a mixed arsenal of attack. The bout is predicted to go to a majority or split decision either way. Knockdowns will factor into the close scoring, and if both combatants bang, and it is sure they will, knockouts are a certainty. The prefight melee reveals the two women have no love lost, and tensions will undoubtedly flare up again during this contest.

The seven bout undercard features the comeback of former World Boxing Council World Heavyweight champion Samuel Peter, 37-6 with 30 knockouts, Las Vegas, Nevada, who is favored to win by second-round knockout over 15-6-1 Mexican journeyman Mario Heredia. 9-0 Elena Gradinar of St. Petersburg, Russia, is favored to win the interim IBF Female World Featherweight title by 10 round decision over 15-4-4 Brenda Karen Carbajal of Argentina.

20-0 Swedish heavyweight southpaw prospect Otto Wallin is favored to win by 10 round decision or late round stoppage over 21-4-1 Nick Kisner of Baltimore, Maryland. 11-01 Detroit, Michigan bantamweight prospect Jarico O’Quinn is favored to win by fourth-round stoppage over Minnesota’s 9-4-1 Mexican veteran Vicente Alfaro Hernandez. In the battle of Michigan 17-0 Saginaw heavyweight Jermaine Franklin is favored to win by 10 round unanimous or majority decision over Detroit’s game 25-1 Rydell Booker.

12-2-1 Isiah Seldon of Somers Point, New Jersey, son of former WBA World Heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon, is favored to win by six round decision over 5-9 Bryan Goldsby of Macon, Georgia. 12-2 bantamweight prospect Jesse Angel Hernandez of Fort Worth, Texas, is favored to win by 8 round majority decision over Marshall Kauffman King’s Promotions fighter 8-1-1 Marcus Bates of Washington, D.C. in a close technical war.

Thank you, operator. Thanks, everyone, for calling in. This is fight week for what’s going to go down as the greatest fight in women’s boxing history for the undisputed World Middleweight Championship between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer, Saturday, April 13, from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey and live on SHOWTIME.
I’m going to let the other parties talk about the fighters, in particular Stephen Espinoza, President of Sports and Event Programming for Showtime Networks, Stephen?
Stephen Espinoza
Thanks, Kelly. We’re obviously thrilled. We have two consensus Top 10 pound for pound fighters, probably more like top five or six pound for pound fighters.
And as importantly, they’re facing off in a unification to crown the undisputed Middleweight World Champion. That would be only the seventh time in boxing history that that has happened.
We talk about the names of the other six undisputed champions. It’s an impressive list, Usyk, Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins and Cecilia Brækhus.
So after Saturday we will have one more name on that list and it will be either Shields or Hammer. We have two fighters here with a combined record of 32 and 0 with 13 KOs. So not just two champions but two undefeated champions and two very charismatic, talented and certainly not shy to speak.
If you haven’t caught it yet, there are two episodes of our Emmy award-winning series “All Access” previewing this event. Both are available on social media platforms.
A reminder, this fight will be on SHOWTIME live this Saturday, the 13th, at 9:10 p.m. If you’re curious, the reason why it’s 9:10 we are premiering a documentary called THE RESURGENCE regarding DeMarcus Cousins of the Golden State Warriors at 8:00 p.m. and therefore it carries over until 9:10.
Before we get to our main event, and I’m sure all of you are very anxious to talk to our fighters, I do want to point out two interesting undercard bouts, two televised bouts, in which we are featuring two undefeated prospects in the suddenly resurgent heavyweight division.
Our co-feature will see Jermaine Franklin, an undefeated young heavyweight 17 and 0, 13 KOs, versus Rydell Booker at 25 and 1, 12 KOs. If you haven’t heard of Jermaine Franklin then you’re probably not studying the heavyweight division very closely.
He is considered one of, if not the top, American young heavyweight prospect. And he’s making his national television debut against the once beaten Rydell Booker.
In the opening bout, Otto Wallin, at 20 and 0, 13 KOs, versus Nick Kisner. Wallin is also an undefeated heavyweight. He’s from Sweden making his U.S. debut and is already ranked Number 5 by the WBA.
So we all know that the heavyweight division has gotten considerably more exciting lately. And these are two of the young guys who are looking to make a name for themselves. I think a worthy undercard for a fight of this magnitude.
I’ll now turn it back over to you, Kelly, and get to the fighters.
K. Swanson
Thanks, Stephen. Thank you so much. Also I did want to remind everyone, tickets are still on sale for this event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions.
Also the official hotel for the event is the Ocean Resort Casino. So we’re excited to have them be a part of the promotion as well.
Now I would like to turn it over to Salita Promotions and the President of Salita Promotions in particular, Dmitriy Salita, to talk a little bit more about the fight and make the introductions for the heavyweights. Dmitriy?
Dmitriy Salita
Thank you, Kelly. We’re very proud to promote this historic event on April 13 featuring two champions, Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer, and a great undercard with Jermaine Franklin and Otto Wallin.
I want to thank SHOWTIME and Stephen Espinoza for believing in women’s boxing, for believing in this fight and giving it this incredible platform to be able to build it through this very special event.
It feels very big now, but a month after the fight, a year after the fight, it’s going to be historic. And people are going to talk about it for a very long time. And we’re very, very proud to be a part of this magnificent event.
On the undercard we have two incredible heavyweights, one in Otto Wallin, who is from Sweden. He is 20 and 0, ranked Number 5 in WBA and Number 5 in IBF. He is an example of when dreams and hard work comes true.
He’s from a small town in Sweden and he believed since he was a kid that he was going to be the heavyweight champion of the world. And he’s going to have a chance to prove his worth on April 13 when he fights Nick Kisner in the opening fight.
In the co-main event, Jermaine Franklin, who is considered by many, as well as myself, as the best American heavyweight, he was a National Golden Gloves Champion as an amateur.
He beat many of the top weighted heavyweights in the game today. As a professional he’s beaten numerous undefeated fighters and gatekeepers.
I have seen him in the gym preparing for this fight. He looks in great shape. I believe that he will have the chance to showcase his skills on April 13.
But he’s fighting a very, very tough and skilled Rydell Booker, who I’ve also seen prepare for this fight. And Rydell also had a tremendous amateur career, a great professional career. So this is going to be a great fight. It’s going to reassure the boxing fans what Jermaine is made of.
K. Swanson
Okay. Great. Thank you so much, Dmitriy. I’m going to go ahead and ask Otto if he would like to make an opening comment. And I’m going to start also, Otto, by asking you if you can share a little bit about your background. I don’t think a lot of the U.S. press has had a chance to really talk to you.
But also how important is it for you to have a great performance in your U.S. debut? And how do you accomplish that? Is there any extra pressure that you feel making this U.S. debut?
So, Otto, introduce yourself and talk a little bit about that.
Otto Wallin
Thank you. First of all I want to thank Dmitriy and SHOWTIME for putting me on this show and it’s very exciting to be on this show. It’s a huge, huge fight with Christina Hammer and Claressa Shields. And I’m happy to be a part of it.
As far as myself, I’m from Sweden. I’m from Sundsvall. It’s a small town with 100,000 people. I was the second pro ever to come out of that town. I’ve captured the WBA, Continental Belt and the EBU, European Union Belt.
I’ve been a pro since 2013. And I train with Joey Gamache. I’ve been with him since late 2013. And we were training in Denmark for four years. Then Joey moved back here in 2017 so I followed him over here.
I had my last fight April 21 last year. So it’s going to be a year on this fight. And I’m just looking forward to it. It’s finally here and the training has been going very well. I feel ready and I can’t wait to get in the ring.
K. Swanson
Okay. Thank you so much for that. And now I’m going to turn to Jermaine. And, Jermaine, welcome to the conference call. We look forward to seeing you fight. You are a very exciting fighter and definitely a big name in the heavyweight division.
And so, Jermaine, if you’d like to open up with your own comments and also do you see Booker as a step up in competition? And do you have to do anything differently in camp to prepare for this fight and what can fans expect to see from you on April 13?
Jermaine Franklin
Well, it’s an honor. First off it’s an honor to be able to fight on SHOWTIME and to be able to showcase my skills and talents. I want to thank SHOWTIME and I want to thank Salita Promotions for giving me my opportunity.
I think Rydell is a step up in opponents that I have fought but I don’t think it’s nothing that I really have to change up. We make game plans for every opponent that I fight. So we don’t take anybody lightly.
We treat everybody like they’re the best. So I’m just going to come out there, stick to the plan and do what we got to do. And let the world see our skills. Shock the world.
What do you think of Booker and his ability at this stage of his career?
J. Franklin
Rydell, I think he still has the ability to fight. Experience does play a big part in boxing. So I have seen a lot of guys with talent lose to guys with experience. So we can’t knock him for that.
I know he’s a little older, but like I said, he still has more experience than me. He has fought a Hall of Famer in James Toney so I still have to give credit where credit is due. I’m not going to take anything lightly.
How do you view him, Jermaine, in terms of comparing him to your other opponents so far?
J. Franklin
I think he’s going to be a little smarter. With experience from what I’ve seen, he likes to keep, a man in between, with some space. He uses his jab but he paws a lot.
So a lot of guys I fought they really try to get on the bike or some of them try to fight me. So I expect for him to try to use his jab and be on the bike a little bit.
I know you can’t go in there looking for knockouts obviously but he’s never been knocked out. How important is that for you to do that in this fight?
J. Franklin
Earlier in my career that’s all I looked for were knockouts. But now I just come out there and give a good show. I’m a warrior. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to take it.
Otto, I was just wondering if you could tell us, those of us who are not really all that familiar with you, what you bring to the table in terms of your abilities and your style?
O. Wallin
I’m a southpaw. I’m a good, clean boxer. I’m fast for a heavyweight. I’ve got good defense, good offense. And I’m pretty agile for a heavyweight. I’ve got good footwork and head movement. So I would say I’m a good boxer. I’m a crafty southpaw.
What can you tell us about your opponent?
O. Wallin
Nick Kisner is from Maryland. He’s 21 and 4. He’s smaller than me. So I think he suits me well. Yes, there’s not too much really out there on him. But there’s some and I definitely believe it’s enough. So I know what I got to do and we’ve been training hard. So I feel ready for him.
How far away do you feel you are from fighting maybe a rank contender or someone of that ilk?
O. Wallin
I don’t think I’m very far. I just want to come back now on Saturday and put in a good performance and stay busy this year and hopefully a big shot is going to come very soon.
Jermaine, could you talk about your history with Claressa, your relationship with her and growing up in the same area?
J. Franklin
Me and Claressa met probably about a good five or six years ago, maybe longer. We met a while ago at the James Toney tournament. And I had fought this guy from Detroit.
And after the fight she said she liked the way I was throwing my punches straight down the pipe. My coach and her old coach was very close so we used to go to the gym when we didn’t have no gym in Saginaw.
There was a point in time we didn’t have a gym so we used to go to Berston Field House and we used to train up there. So I got real close and familiar with Claressa.
So it’s just an honor to see her. She’s always been great. She was always did great things. It’s just an honor to be on the same card with her.
Did your sister know her or were friends with her?
J. Franklin
No, my little sister, she knows her a little bit. Like, my family, my immediate family, they know her. They’ve seen her around. And she’s seen them at fights and stuff like that.
Otto, at what point do you feel like you can challenge for those heavyweight titles?
O. Wallin
I’m not very far. First of all, I just want to get back now and be successful and have a few fights this year. And I think by next year I’ll be ready.
Do you feel like there’s not maybe more pressure but more incentive to go out and have your best showing out there?
O. Wallin
Yes. I’m used to fighting on TV back home. I think all of my fights have been on TV. But, of course, it’s different over here. It’s a huge show and there’s going to be a lot of people tuning in.
And it’s very important for me to put on a good performance. I want to show Salita Promotions and SHOWTIME that they made the right choice to put me on.
Jermaine, do you feel like a win like this against a guy like Rydell Booker who has never really been knocked out is the type of win that will really push your name out there as a rising contender?
J. Franklin
Yes. I think this fight will push my name out there as a rising contender. Because Rydell is still who he is. He still has a little name. So the fight being on SHOWTIME, I think it would give me the exposure I need. So I think it’s a great fight to push me out there as a contender.
Otto, what was your reaction to that to being able to fight in the states, on SHOWTIME and in Atlantic City?
O. Wallin
I was very happy, very thrilled. It’s been a dream for me since I was a kid to fight in the U.S. and to do it on SHOWTIME is amazing. So I was very excited.
I’ve never been to the Boardwalk Hall but I hear it’s a very nice venue and people around me are saying that all these great fighters fought there. So I’m very looking forward to going there and putting on a good performance.
K. Swanson
All right. Thanks, guys. See you soon. We’re going to transition over to our main event, Shields versus Hammer. I’m so excited about this fight. I’m going to turn it back over to Dmitriy Salita to make the introductions.
D. Salita
Yes. Christina Hammer is 28 years old. She’s 24 and 0 with 11 knockouts. She has been champion for over eight years and is one of the longest reigning champions in boxing.
She’s the current WBO and WBC champion in recess. And for those of you that have watched All Access, you can see how seriously she’s taken this fight training in Austria and in Germany. She is a star in Germany and in Europe and is one of the best fighters in boxing.
Christina Hamme
Yes. I prepared a long time for this fight. 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.
D. Salita
Claressa Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, currently two division world champion, only 8 and 0. And she has always had great aspirations from very early on in her career as an amateur and as a professional.
On April 13 she’s going to face the toughest test of her career fighting the world champion Christina Hammer for the Unified World Title. The winner of the fight is not only going to have all four belts but is also going to have a page in the history books. She’s trained in Colorado and is back in Florida now and is ready for April 13.
Hello, everybody. I’m here to answer you guy’s questions. It’s the last five days until training camp. I know we have a lot to say. I’m just waiting to beat Christina Hammer and also make her shut up.
Hi. This is a question for both fighters. I was wondering if you guys have ever been to Atlantic City and if you’re aware of the history of boxing in the town and the many great champions that have fought there?
C. Shields
I’ve been there. 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.
C. Hammer
Yes. Atlantic City is a very talked about city. I never fought there, but it’s the first time and my second fight in the USA. I’m very happy to get this fight and show real boxing. I’m looking forward for this and I can’t wait to step into the ring.
Christina, what was your reaction upon hearing that news and that that fight was going to have to be delayed until now for April?
C. Hammer
Yes. It was very disappointing for me that the doctor told me and didn’t allow me to fight in November. But, yes, everything happens for a reason.
I am stronger now. I feel better. And everything is going in the right direction. And now the time is coming that we’re ready for the fight and ready for the undisputed championship.
Has this fight kind of taken a more personal feel than perhaps any of your previous fights?
C. Hammer
I think it’s the biggest fight of my career because I am looking forward for a long time to unifying all of these belts. I think every boxer dreams of that
I prepare for everything. And this fight I focus 100%, 110%. And, yes, to fight and I accept. We are both champions, both undefeated.
Claressa has that experience of getting to stay busy and fighting against different types of fighters, does that kind of give you an edge over Christina, who sort of had to sit on the sidelines for a little while?
C. Shields
Well, I can that just because she was sick doesn’t mean that I’m sick. With my career at the time, I was only, 5 and 0, 6 and 0. So I wanted to get more fights under my belt.
With the time that I had, I wanted to just take advantage of it. Like, I’ve been only a pro two years. And there’s a lot that I have to learn. And the only way that you learn is from actually getting inside the ring and fighting.
I’ve been able to have 20 rounds since fighting against Hanna Gabriels. So just with that, that’s great for me and it helps me with my experience.
From those two fights, I’ve been able to fight against a girl who, idolizes Christina Hammer, Hannah Rankin. And I was able to beat her all 10 rounds.
And then I was able to fight against Femke Hermans, who also a strong, tall fighter. And it got me more prepared for the fight with Hammer. I feel like I’ve learned a lot of good things in those two fights. That’s going to help me win April 13.
Do you feel like you are more ready now because you had those fights against Femke Hermans and Hannah Rankin than maybe compared to if the fight would have taken place last year?
C. Shields
I still would have won the fight if it would have happened on November 17 or if the fight happens now. I’m happy with the things that I’ve learned, but it wouldn’t have been a different outcome.
It may have been a little tougher, I can say, because of the things I didn’t know or that I hadn’t experienced yet. But either way, if we would have fought November 17, if we would have fought when I had my second, third pro fight, I still would have won.
Claressa, I just want to know what it was like to be the subject of an All Access series, something that’s usually afforded for fighters that are fighting on PPV and just what your overall impression was of the All Access episode?
C. Shields
What I love most about the All Access was it really showed the inside of our training camp. And it showed that, even though people look at women’s boxing and sayoh, those girls aren’t athletic. They aren’t good. But with me and the Hammer, you see that we both are athletic. We both do train hard. We both do put boxing first. And we do talk trash.
I think that’s what sells. And when I saw the All Access, it was just more fuel to the fire. Her and her team said some things that I didn’t like and I’m quite sure I said some things that she didn’t like.
And that just brings more fire to the fuel for April 13, which gets to be a big old house fire by the time that we get into the ring and fight.
Is any of this personal with Christina or, like, is it just your way of selling the fight?
C. Shields
It’s a fight. What I can say is I don’t hate anybody. I never have. I can say I don’t like her as much as she doesn’t like me. But at the end of the day after the fight I’ll give as much sportsmanship as I can. But whatever, it’s a fight. No matter what she says or what she does, I’m still going to fight her the same.
She wants to say things to get under my skin and it’s really been making me laugh. I’ve enjoyed this whole trash talk thing of going back and forth, her lying and saying I missed weight, all this crazy stuff that she’s doing I really just sit back and I laugh about it. And I’m still going to train and fight and make weight just the way I’m supposed to.
Who knows what else she’ll do by the time that the fight is here? We got five more days. You never know what she’ll pull out of her bag of tricks.
But it’s not nothing personal for me. It’s a fight. And when I get in the ring with anybody, it’s always no face no name. I just get in there and win.
Claressa, how big a deal is this for you to get to that GWOAT status that you’ve been talking about that you’ve been wanting to be from day one?
C. Shields
Yes, absolutely. Part of the big picture is fighting again. Right now we are one and two of the top boxers at middleweight. So for us to have this fight, for her to be completely healthy and me be completely healthy and she’s 28 and I’m 24, this is a great fight to be made right now.
When you’re saying I’m the greatest of all time I can beat any kind of fighter — a fighter that moves, a fighter who’s standing there, a fighter who can do both. Being the greatest woman of all time comes with being able to win those fights that people say that you can’t win. She’s 24-0 11 knockouts. I’m 8-0 with 2 knockouts, right.
Everybody’s like how can a person who’s been professional only two years beat a person who’s a professional ten, eleven years and they’re the reigning champion nine, eight years and all this stuff like that. And that’s what the greatest woman of all time can do. Just like I beat Hanna Gabriels I’m going to beat Christina Hammer.
What do you say to your critics that said they saw some cracks in your game with the Hanna Gabriels fight?
C. Shields
They don’t want to fight. It doesn’t matter. The thing is that I’ve learned a lot from my fights. And like I said, like that fight with Hanna Gabriels, one thing was like I say she was 18-1. I was only 5-0. She was my 6th win.
I don’t know any fighter who gets in the ring with somebody like that, gets knocked down in the first round and then comes back and wins every round after the knockdown. To me that’s what you call a superb athlete. That’s the epitome of being a great fighter.
They can say I had holes in my game but I’m not a perfect fighter. But just know that I’m getting there. Every fight I get better. Every fight I add something to my arsenal. And I’m going to get better on my own schedule, on my own time. I’m not going to do what everybody think I should do just because I got knocked down. Who doesn’t get knocked down?
How big a deal is it to be that face of women’s boxing and be that cash cow?
C. Shields
Right now with me being the face of women’s boxing, I just always have to be reminded to keep being me. All the women before me they all had this way of what they think is promotion or the way or what a world champion is.
And the truth is a world champion is a world champion. We’re all different. Some of us are quiet. Some of us don’t talk trash. Some of us don’t have confidence. Some of us have a lot of confidence. Some of us are ignorant. I mean, some boxers are ignorant and I can say that. But I’m not one of those boxers.
And I love that Errol Spence, that he stands behind me and doesn’t want me to change. Same thing with Andre Ward. One of the best things that Andre Ward told me was continue being who I am. Despite people saying a woman talking trash is not classy or it’s not cute and women shouldn’t be like that, you should be more soft spoken. I’m just so happy that when I had that conversation with Andre Ward he was like sis, be who you are, like if you talking trash is really who you are, if you’re being confident with who you are, then he said keep doing it. Don’t be fake for nobody.
And that’s what I continue to do. I’m going to be the kind of world champion that I want to be. I’m not trying to be like nobody else.
Christina, do you think people overlook you?
C. Hammer
Got it. No, I think the people in the USA accept me and respect me very much and I see it every day, like they’re so interested in this fight. And I think it’s time that these fights are coming for the whole world and it’s a huge step for women’s boxing.
We’re undefeated. And I feel very good in the USA. And I’m looking forward to fighting April 13th and beyond in the USA.
Do you feel like you can be to women’s boxing what Serena Williams has been to women’s tennis?
C. Shields
Absolutely. Growing up there weren’t a lot of women boxers to look up to — again, that I knew about. And Serena Williams was an athlete who I did look up to, like I’ve seen the pictures of Serena Williams with both gold medals on the side of her face and that was my motivation to go back to my second Olympics so I can win another Olympic medal and take that exact same picture. Like that was my ultimate motivation, besides no other American had won two Olympic gold medals in boxing.
I think that I have a great life story, I came from nothing and I made a lot of myself. And just to be dominant like Serena Williams, just to win all the things that she won, I want to be looked at as dominant as she is in tennis but just in boxing.
How personal is this fight? How important is it for you to go out and prove that you’re the face of women’s boxing, the best female fighter in the world?
C. Shields
Hammer can say whatever she wants. I know that they believe in mind games and tricks and all this stuff over there in Germany. But over here in the US people play mind games, too. And we talk trash, whatever the case may be. But inside the ring, I think she has to realize it’s just me and her. No matter what she says or how she says it or what she does, it’s not going to make me box any different. I’m going to stick to what my game plan is. I’m going to win the fight. And I’m going to be happy with my performance at this fight.
She wants to stay on the outside and look cute and wear a dress but I’m going to rough her up all night. Like I don’t know why she just want to come out there and jab me and move and I’m going to be like this kind of punching bag that’s going to stand there and just look at her like my gosh. Like no, I have a jab too and I can box. And I’m not worried about anything else but getting inside the ring and fighting.
All this trash talking is actually fun to me. No matter if she’s spreading fake rumors to the fans saying that I missed weight or saying that I’m overweight, I’m going to have a hard time making weight, I fought 160 in my last two fights. I didn’t miss weight any of them, so I don’t know where she gets that from.
She’s just saying something that she thinks is going to bother me when it doesn’t. It doesn’t. I’m just enjoying this time right now while we have this platform. And if she wants to talk trash, we can talk trash. As long as she doesn’t get too disrespectful, we’re good. I don’t think it went to the point of like the Anthony Joshua – Jarrell Miller disrespectful. Now, when it gets there, then you’ll see, maybe something different out of me. But till then, I’m all good.
What fuels you more, the trashing talking from the trolls or the trash talking between you two?
C. Hammer
I think it’s normal. That’s boxing. That’s business. And yes, we make this fight on fire and the people love it, this trash talking and reposting, whatever. And I think it’s normal, like it’s the game of boxing and on fight night, who has the better plan and has the better game plan will win. And that will be me.
C. Shields
I feel like on social media some days people like me, some days people don’t. Some days I post stuff just to get the reaction out of fans and make them upset because I don’t care.
I can say that the trash talking between me and her I believe is funny. Some of the trolls get out of hand. They say weird stuff. I’m actually fueled by the fans who believe in me, who are behind me, who want me to win the fight. And the ones that’s against me, I’ve just been on social media just saving receipts. Everybody that say she’s going to knock me out I’m just saving that receipt. Everybody that says she’s going to win the fight and going to outbox me, there’s going to be a clear decision win for her and all this stuff, I’m just more like letting them say whatever they want to say.
So once I do win the fight, trust and believe me, I’ll be right back on social media tagging all those people. Asking them hey, where you at? She lost. Where you at?
I don’t mind that kind of stuff. I really don’t. Like it’s actually funny to me. But I’m just ready to go out there and show that no matter who you put me in the ring with, I will come out victorious. No matter if it’s a world champ with 24-0 with 11 knockouts, or rather it’s a champion with 24-0 with 24 knockouts. It doesn’t matter who you put me in the ring with. I can win and I will win April 13th.
And last question for both of you. Describe yourself in one word both of you.
C. Hammer
C. Shields
A word for myself, destroyer.
What do you see is being the key in this fight for you and do you have a prediction?
C. Shields
I think the key to me is to do what I always do. One key is just don’t be out jabbed. Use my jab, move my head, my combinations. And just letting her know it’s a fight.. If she wants to be the mover in the box, then she can do that. But just know that I’m going to be the one landing the points. I’m going to be the one controlling the ring action. So that’s just kind of what the game plan is from what I can tell you. Everything else will come into play during the fight.
Do you have a prediction?
C. Shields
I really haven’t thought about a prediction. I feel like I can knock her out in the 7th round or I can knock her out toward the end. I feel like the earlier rounds she’ll be moving, running, holding, stuff like that. But I feel like as the fight goes on I’ll just keep beating her down until I’m ready.
C. Hammer
Why you say always like beat you down, beat you down? I don’t know.
C. Shields
What? Just because you have 11 knockouts don’t mean you’re a better fighter than me. I’ve been professional two years.
C. Hammer
You don’t beat someone down. You every time say I beat you down. I beat a lot of people down.
C. Shields
I beat a girl down…
C. Hammer
But not in your professional career.
C. Shields
It doesn’t matter. You are not unbeatable. You ain’t no secret. You are not hard to beat. I’m going to mess you up.
Has Hammer showed you she could deliver that same shot you were knocked down with?
C. Shields
I know that she’s probably been in camp working on that same shot but it’s so weird how the shot came. It was more like I was off balance. So I don’t even care if she works on the same shot or not. If it was the same shot that could get me out of the fight, Hanna Gabriels tried those same shots after she knocked me down and she couldn’t land it again and I was able to win the rest of the rounds.
Everybody has to find something to make them feel confident about something, you. And I feel like if Hammer wants to use that as a way to push herself and feel like she can do the same thing, I am all fine with that. I just know that I’ve seen, she’s been knocked down plenty of times too. I’ve been knocked down one time but she’s been knocked down more than one time.
And it was a DQ fight that I thought she got knocked out but they called it a disqualification. They can’t talk like I’m just unbeatable fighter. So of course they’re going to use that to push it and whatever. But I’m not worried about it.
I watched the fight and watched the knockdown and got caught but it’s not like a heartbreaking thing for me. I know that I can get back up and win so that brings me more fire, knowing that I can do that.
Has facing that adversity in a fight helped you feel that you can overcome whatever situation you might find yourself in?
C. Shields
I’ve been to the Olympics twice. I’ve been to the world championships twice. I won the Pan American games multiple times. I’ve always fought outside the country. I just started fighting back inside the USA when I turned professional. And it doesn’t matter where a fight is held at. I just know I show up to fight with one mindset and one goal and that’s to win the fight. So she’ll have her fans. I’ll have my fans. She wanted it in a neutral site. I guess she was scared to come back to Detroit and fight me in Detroit so we’re fighting in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
It doesn’t matter to me where we fight at. It could have been Vegas. It could have been New York. It doesn’t matter. Same outcome. I wouldn’t have any different mindset. I keep telling people no matter where we fight at or whatever, when we get inside the ring it’s just me and her. It doesn’t matter what her coach yells out or nobody. Nobody can help her in the ring with me. It’s just me and her. That’s it.
How involved will you be in the Barry Jenkins project about your life? And then who would be the ideal actress to play you?
C. Shields
Well, the Universal story we’ve actually had the contract done with them for about a year now. Barry Jenkins is writing the script for it. And when last time me and Barry Jenkins talked when we met in person — which was about a year ago — we were just talking about like what we wanted the ending of the story to be and we were kind of like do you want the story to be the second Olympics or the story be when you won the world title. It was actually before I had my first world title fight.
He just was like let’s take our time and let’s see. And I think now the ending of the story will be when I become undisputed champion. So I think I would like Nafessa Williams to play me. I think she’s pretty bad ass and she should definitely play me in the movie.
Christina have you had the opportunity to get anybody to emulate the style of the game Claressa had?

C. Hammer
No. I fought a girl from the US from the same team as her. And I always fight starting with men. And yes, everybody has a game plan. I have my game plan. And I will use my reach and you will see what’s going on in the ring. Yes. it’s a very historical night for us and I’m ready for this.
Being a champion why didn’t you make a big deal about come over there to face you?
C. Hammer
Yes, a lot of people and a lot of fighters are always fighting in Europe and Germany. But it’s normal to take the risk that you can come to USA and fight here and everything. But yes, I’m very motivated and I want to show who’s the real champion. When you get it in the USA, everybody knows it. The whole world knows you. It’s great to have these opportunities to fight live on SHOWTIME.
For me it’s a very big step. But I’m not afraid. I’m not scared of this. I know what I can do. And I give everything for that. I prepare very hard for this. And yes, it will be a great fight. I hope a lot of people will watch this fight and celebrate it.
Claressa what would be the next goal for you?
C. Shields
There’s always more history to be made. I feel like I’m trying to make history faster than everybody else. I believe I’ll be the fastest fighter to become undisputed with only nine fights. And after that, I would love to have a super fight with Cecilia Braekhus. We’ll be the only undisputed women fighters. And I believe that we’re close enough in weight for one of us to come up and for me to go down and we meet at 154 for a fight.
Other than that, there’s always girls who are coming up. We have girls who are ranked, three, four, and five. I’ll just fight the mandatory till another super fight comes. But the way that women’s boxing is coming now, there’s a lot of girls coming out of retirement to get back into the game who want to fight world champions. So who knows what we’ll see in the middleweight division? But I know I’ll be at the top and I’ll just fight the best. That’s my only goal — continue to fight the best and prove that I’m the greatest woman of all time.
D. Salita
Yes, thank you all for joining us today. Thank you Claressa and thank you Christina. Saturday night is going to be a great, historic night of boxing. And all the media attention, all the social media trolling and things like that are just showing us how big of a fight this is.
I look forward to Saturday night. Those that are going to be there are going to witness history and those that are going to watch the fight on SHOWTIME are going to witness history. I’d like to thank Stephen Espinoza and Gordon Hall for believing in this fight and for giving the time to build it to the super fight that it is. Thank you all and I’ll see you all guys on April 13th



“Hammer signed up for something she shouldn’t have signed up for. She’s going to get hurt on Saturday,” – Shields
“She can say whatever she wants here, because I’m going to show it in the ring on Saturday,” – Hammer
Middleweight Champions Shields and Hammer Battle for Undisputed Women’s Middleweight World Championship This Saturday Live on SHOWTIME® from Boardwalk Hall in 
Atlantic City
Click HERE for Photos from Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME
NEW YORK (April 10, 2019) – Undefeated middleweight champions Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer went face-to-face in New York on Wednesday just three days before arguably the most significant event in women’s boxing history this Saturday live on SHOWTIME from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
IBF, WBC and WBA Champion Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) will unify with WBO Champion Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs) for the undisputed middleweight world championship. The winner will become only the second undisputed champion in women’s boxing history and only the sixth fighter – male or female – to unify all four recognized world titles.
Joining Shields and Hammer at Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan was unbeaten heavyweight contender Otto Wallin, who takes on Nick Kisner as part of the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION tripleheader beginning at 9:10 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are priced at $150, $100, $55 and $35 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster and at
Shields and Hammer spoke with media and had a tense face-off as they near Saturday’s showdown. Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday:
“Hammer signed up for something she shouldn’t have signed up for. She’s going to get hurt on Saturday. I love that she has an accomplished record. People say I don’t have power or this and that but on paper I’ve been an underdog in most of my fights and I’ve beat all those women.
“When I beat Christina Hammer on Saturday, I want everyone’s headline to say ‘Shields nails the Hammer’. It’s not a game to me. It’s going to be bad for her.
“I’m happy that everyone came out for this event and has supported it. This isn’t as big as women’s boxing can get, but it’s the beginning of something great.
“This is the hardest I’ve ever trained for a fight. Not because I don’t think that I can beat her, but because of the spotlight, I don’t want to let my fans down. I don’t want to let the women who came before me down. They never got to have a fight as big as this one. I don’t want anyone to say it’s all hype. I want to put on a show.
“I’m just being myself. I can’t put all the pressure on me to be something I’m not. I love talking trash, that comes natural. There’s a bit of truth in there too. When it gets to times like this, I’m not afraid to say how I feel.
“The reason why I’m here is because I’ve taken on the biggest challenges and fought the best fighters. It feels good. I know that I’m going to beat her and take all of these belts home.
“I think she’s shook. She doesn’t want to say anything after all the social media talking she was doing. This is her time to say it to my face.
“Women’s boxing is becoming bigger and with ‘All-Access’ you can see that I train hard, spar against men and go hard for three minutes for 12 rounds. We’ve been around for a long time and we haven’t gotten our just do yet. We’re getting more and we’re getting to the point where one day it can all be equal.
“I’m glad Hammer is here and we’re really going to fight. She’s tough, but I’ve beat girls way stronger, faster and taller than her over and over again. I can’t wait to do it again on Saturday.”
“I’m so happy to be here and have this great opportunity. I can’t wait to get in the ring on Saturday and get all of these belts. I’m ready.
“I’m very confident and I can’t wait to show everyone why I’m 24-0 and been a champion for as long as I’ve been.
“She can say whatever she wants here, because I’m going to show it in the ring. I don’t like to talk too much. I’m here to show my skills in the ring and get all these belts.
“I’m emotionless in the ring, because it’s my job. None of her talk will affect me. When you’re emotional in the ring, you make mistakes.
“I know that it’s a risk to come from Germany to the U.S. to fight Shields. But I have done everything to bring it to her and break her down round-by-round. I want to show the people who the real champion is. A real champion fights everyone, all over the world.
“I’m very focused. I know that this is a historic fight. There is only one champion who can take these belts and that will be me. I’ve given everything for that goal. I sacrificed day after day in camp to achieve that.
“I want to show that I’m the undisputed champion. I’m the longtime champion and I’m going to let the people see that women’s boxing is exciting just like the men. This is a great match to show that.
“We’re both undefeated and in our primes. People wanted to see this fight and they got this fight. All of the talk is over. Now it’s time to fight.”
“I come from a small town in Sweden and started boxing in a basement. I could never dream of making it here. I read about it, but it wasn’t attainable. Now I’m here and I’m ready to make a statement on Saturday.
“It’s very important to make an impression. This is a very big opportunity for me to be fighting on SHOWTIME in my first fight on the U.S. A lot of people will be watching and I want to put on a good performance. Most important is to get the win and take care of business.
“My opponent is smaller than me and I think that suits me well. He likes to be a little cute in the ring and I think he’ll try to be tricky early on. I want to establish my jab and my body work, because I know he won’t like those body shots. I’m going to break him down.
“I have a good plan and a really good trainer. He’s prepared me well with good sparring. I think I’ll know what to do to stay focus. I’ve always been able to do that and focus on what’s best for me in the ring.
“It’s very nice to be here. I’m very happy to be on this show. It’s great for women’s boxing that the two best fighters are facing each other.”

DMITRIY SALITA, President of Salita Promotions
“This promotion has lived up to the expectations. This is the biggest fight in women’s boxing history. It feels very big today and I’m sure in a month a day or a year after this fight, we will know that it was a historic event.
“SHOWTIME’s support for this fight has raised the awareness of women’s boxing for the fans in the U.S and around the world. I think women everywhere have benefited from the lead up to this fight.
“in the opener on SHOWTIME, world ranked heavyweight Otto Wallin will make his U.S. debut. Otto is an example of hard work and dreams coming true. He grew up in a small town in Sweden and had a dream to become world champion. He’s been training in New York Joey Gamache and we can’t wait for his fight Saturday.
“For a great fight to happen it takes two to tango. Hammer is a longtime world champion and a dominant force in the middleweight division. You have seen how prepared she is for this fight. It takes championship character to fly to another country to put it all on the line and she deserves respect for that.
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 a second division title in her sixth fight. April 13 will be her toughest test. This is a fight that she is taking very seriously and I’m excited to see her in the ring Saturday.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.

“I want to acknowledge Claressa and Christina, because it’s easy to forget that this is a fight. 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.
“I’m sure they’re tired of talking at this point and just want to fight. That challenge is something that makes the process more difficult and something they’re doing for selfless reasons. It’s really for the advancement of the sport as a whole. Both women deserve a lot of credit for that.
“This fight is already a success. I know there’s one big piece that still remains, and I’m very excited to see the fight take place. I know they’re anxious to get in the ring. But what this promotion has done is advance the conversation and advance the dialogue. It’s all of our hopes that this will persist beyond this event and lead to a new era of women’s boxing.”
#          #          #
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, are priced at $150, $100, $55 and $35 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster and at
Shields vs. Hammer will pit undefeated middleweight world champions Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer against each other in a battle to crown the undisputed 160-pound world champion, in what is arguably the most significant women’s boxing event in history. The co-feature will pit Jermaine Franklin taking on Rydell Booker in a thrilling 10-round heavyweight bout and in the telecast opener, heavyweights Otto Wallin and Nick Kisner will battle in 10-round clash. The SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION tripleheader will air live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

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Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at