Written By Bakari Simpson: On Friday, January 12, Claressa Shields (4-0, 2 KO’s) has a bit of business to handle. On Showtime Boxing, Shields will defend her IBF and WBC super-middleweight titles against undefeated Tori Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KO’s). As most fighting champions are, Claressa is confident that she will crush Nelson within the distance. T-Rex believes she can get the job done in seven rounds or less. A big fight that looms is Claressa Shields vs Christina Hammer.
If Shields is successful in this endeavor, she already has another opponent, and weight class, in mind. Since claiming the belts last year, T-Rex has made it obviously known that she desires to be a 3-division champion. Following her session of fisticuffs, this Friday, Claressa intends on dropping down in weight to the 160 middleweight division. Not only is Shields dropping down in weight, she is openly targeting Kazakhstan-born WBO and WBC middleweight champion Christina Hammer (22-0, 10 KO’s). The two have already exchange a bevy of words over the course of the last few months.
The desire to mix it up apparently is very mutual.
Just as Claressa has expressed her desire to face Hammer, Christina has not shied away from the bout. Rather than avoid the fight, Hammer has embraced the notion. Currently residing in Germany, the talented boxer has ached to make her US debut for some time. Now it seems like all the stars are in alignment for a classic collision. Hammer will also be fighting on January 12, on Shields undercard.
“The US debut is very important for me; I want to show that I’m the real deal in female boxing. Ever since I won my first title, it has always been a dream of mine to fight in the USA…I want to fight both [Maricela] Cornejo and Shields in the future. I train hard and I’m ready to fight everyone.” -Christina Hammer
It’s a great sign that Claressa is dropping down to middleweight, and that both women are publicly advocating for the bout. Beyond this, the two female fighters share the same promotional company in Salita Promotions. With all these elements as they are, only injury or a sudden case of cold feet could prevent this rumble. If the fight does come to fruition, it will represent one of the more meaningful match-ups of the year in all of boxing.
Hammer is confident that her skill and past accomplishments will be enough to vanquish Shields. Aside from her physical prowess, Christina is little impressed with Claressa’s out of the ring marketing. Hammer seems to think she is the better marketer. When questioned about Shields Christina answered:
“[Shields is] an aggressive fighter but she needs more time to gain more experience as a champion…she is not a role model for the sport of boxing like I am. For example, I’m doing a lot of photo shoots and business deals with brands and companies. At the same time, I stay focused, disciplined and strong, as a longtime champion…Finding ways, as my example given, will give you more public attention outside the sport of boxing. Creating a buzz outside of boxing will allow you to become more interesting and inspiring to a lot of girls, women, people who normally are not interested in boxing.” -Christina Hammer
When talking about her photo shoots, Christina was referencing her position as brand ambassador for the underwear line Anita. Shields brushed off the sentiments and merely retorted with a timely twitter post that read:
“Not a role model for the sport cause I’m not a underwear model, hmm…interesting. I’m a role model for the kids, teenagers and other adults. Not just showing my body to get more recognition in boxing, Hammer needs to wake up, sell boxing not sex.” -Claressa Shields
Let us hope that everything remains on its current trajectory. If so, Shields versus Hammer should be coming our way around mid-2018.
Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson