Claressa Shields leaned alongside the all of the bluster and braggadocio of the ascendant star fueled by boundless confidence. Christina Hammer sat back by using a bemused smile, a photo of calm and self-assurance befitting a nine-year world champion that has heard all this before.
The most essential women’s boxing match from a generation or longer has returned on, a tasty matchup between a couple of the world’s best fighters at any weight based on fascinating contrasts in styles, temperaments and experience levels.
Claressa Shields: from Flint to Olympic gold C in pictures
Shields, the two-times Olympic gold medalist with the America who’s collected three of your major world title belts at 160lbs in the past 250 days, and Hammer, the German migre from Kazakhstan that has owned the final for up to 10 years, will finally trade hands to figure out an undisputed middleweight champion on 13 April at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. The bride and groom faced off within the Dream Downtown hotel in Manhattan’s posh Chelsea neighborhood to formally announce the 10-round unification scrap, that have initially been scheduled for November in order to be postponed after Hammer was compelled to withdraw as a consequence of an undisclosed health issue containing since been resolved.
“I’m just glad she’s showing up this period,” the American scoffed, among the many provocations lobbed within their opponent’s direction at the time. “I interest to make her quit. I’m not going her to just know I am a good fighter. I’d like to see her to understand I’m great.”
Shields (8-0, two KOs), really the only US boxer to win multiple Olympic golds, is definitely a two-division world champion in the barely 27 months since her paying debut at super middleweight, ought to reconsider an animated invective to correspond to her pressure style within the ropes. She spent lots of Tuesday’s news conference over a high-spirited offensive before an amicable gallery, cavalierly picking away at Hammer’s body of and deriding the favored Dortmund boxer’s side gig being a lingerie model.
“I don’t have to maintain it a secret,” she said. “[Hammer] punches together pull up via a flight, she has long jab, she doesn’t discover how to fight with this report and she or he don’t possess balance with your ex legs. Have some fun concentrating on that for about 6 weeks.”
Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs), a classy operator who’s got made 12 successful defenses in the WBO middleweight title since winning it the government financial aid 2010, is often a deft counter-puncher prepared to await openings and great at leveraging an opponent’s aggression to her advantage, a patience mirrored by Tuesday’s phlegmatic rhetorical tack.
“This is a major risk in to the future from Germany on the US, even so believe the ideal should fight the best and so i did the things i needed to making sure that this may happen,” said the 28-year-old veteran, that’s coming off a second-round knockout of Elene Sikmashvili inside a stay-busy non-title bout earlier this month in Berlin. “I want to prove that strong women can do what they want. This is a huge fight and it will inspire plenty of girls by showing they will also generate income in this particular sport.”
The winner of April’s summit meeting can be merely the second undisputed four-belt champion in women’s boxing history after Norway’s Cecilia Br?khus, the welterweight queen widely viewed as the pound-for-pound world # 1 today. So rare will be the feat in a decentralized sport practically engineered to keep the titles fractured (additionally, the sanctioning fees churning) that only four males have managed it: the actual cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, junior welterweight Terence Crawford and middleweights Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor.
Showtime boxing czar Stephen Espinoza, who said they have thrown the premium cable network’s full promotional heft behind the event, such as a output of the glossy All-Access docuseries it typically reserves for pay-per-view affairs, described becoming a “long overdue” showcase for women’s boxing, which for several years has been relegated into the margins as Ronda Rousey lifted women’s mma from slagged-off sideshow to headline attraction.
“You see in Mexico and Latin America that women’s boxers are headlining televised cards on a regular basis,” Espinoza said. “In fact, most of the highest ratings on Mexican television originated from women’s bouts. This is also true for Europe. Thus, making this one region where the US market unfortunately is behind a lot of the other world.”
He added: “If you’re not serious about this fight then, candidly, you’re a boxing fan. This is as good since this sport gets.”
For the many well-documented external factors underpinning women’s boxing’s ongoing struggle for exposure, deficit of network support chief included in this, there have been an abundance of self-sabotage about the years. On Tuesday, Shields name-checked a pair of surefire blockbusters C Laila Ali v Ann Wolfe and Lucia Rijker v Christy Martin C that died within the vine despite numerous years of chatter and mounting anticipation.
‘I was told this was impossible’: the long fight to get women’s boxing on TV
“This is truly one of those superfights that’s never happened before,” said Shields, whose six-week camp can take place for the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs under trainer John David Jackson, an early two-division champion famous for his use light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev. “We’ve never had one want it in women’s boxing. Smashing to help make this happen and us being from two various areas of the world makes this fight much better.”
A self-described “rose that grew from concrete”, the magnetic Shields, who marked time while awaiting Hammer’s recovery by outpointing Scotland’s Hannah Rankin and Belgium’s Femke Hermans seventh and eighth professional wins, may be cast on home soil when the clear A-side of your promotion. The 23-year-old from Flint, Michigan C won in 77 of her 78 amateur bouts C overcame a transient childhood, poverty and sexual abuse in becoming the first ever US boxer, female or male, to win consecutive gold medals within the Olympics using a star-making run within london, aged 17, and a compelling encore in Rio, where she earned the women’s one half of the Val Barker trophy as being the top overall fighter in the competition, an honor not won by a famous since Roy Jones Jr at Seoul 1988.
Yet the 5ft 11in Hammer, who said Tuesday could begin learning Germany before shifting base in March to some more secluded camp inside Austrian mountains near Innsbruck, believes that he might be more than ideal for pressing her three-inch advantages tall and reach to prevent Shields’ dizzying rise and include a stamp by hand legacy because the finest middleweight of her era. She intentions of enlisting more male sparring partners than for previous camps having an concentration on high-volume crowders who is going to mirror the American’s oppressive in-fighting style.
“She goes forward always, she’s very aggressive,” said Hammer, who a year ago was crowned first German boxer to actually defend a global title in the country since Max Schmeling in 1931, an experience she said she deliberately ordered to help acclimate for a potential Shields bout. “She wishes to push her opponent into the ropes and land the right shots, power shots. You’ve got to be careful and make use of the one thing what she’s doing [against her]. I’m sure this wounderful woman has more emotions than me with this fight. She hates me, I’m sure. Organic meat are yet to a friendship, however it is OK.”
When asked whether Shields’ ill will is requited, Hammer betrays another smile.
“I feel nothing,” she said. “I’m emotionless. Since it is boxing. After i get yourself into the ring, I’m cold as ice i would like to finish this career.”