Gates Open For Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer
By David A. Avila
So what does Christina Hammer’s victory mean for female prizefighting?
It sets up the potential showdown against America’s best Claressa Shields in one of the biggest fights in the history of female professional boxing.
Germany’s best versus America’s best presents a contrast in styles that will prove difficult for one or both of the fighters when they meet.
Hammer, 28, has a European style which favors moving around the ring, firing jabs and maintaining a distance. She’s very tall for her weight class and has above average athleticism. Like many European boxers who use that style, if an opponent gets too close, she will vigorously hold.
But can she hold Shields?
Shields, 23, has lightning foot and hand speed that is rarely seen above 140 pounds. Those hands are quick and if someone tries to hold her it’s easy to foresee Shields unloading a five-punch combination faster than you can say lickety-split. And if she sets down on one of those punches it could be “good night.”
One major bonus for this pending showdown is: both fighters truly want to fight each other. That’s rare in female boxing today.
Over the years a number of potential “showdown fights” that should have been made failed to materialize. Here are a few that fell apart for one reason or another:
Mega fight misses
Lucia Rijker vs. Christy Martin was supposed to take place in 2005 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. It was brought together on the heels of success from the Academy Award winning film “Million Dollar Baby,” which Rijker played a key character. When an injury forced Rijker out of the Martin fight, it was never re-introduced by Top Rank. I still have the poster for that mega fight that disappeared.
Laila Ali vs Ann Wolfe has been one of the most talked about fights that never came close to happening. For one reason or another both parties could never sit down and discuss it. Both were undefeated well known and this could have been the fight that launched female prizefighting into the upper stratosphere. Many claim Ali wanted no part of the fight, but I can attest that was not true. She actually asked me to help her get Wolfe to agree to a showdown. It’s a mystery why the fight could not be made.
Layla McCarter vs. Hollie Holm was another match that should have taken place but never did. One problem was the money offered and another was the location. Holm always fought in New Mexico and seldom ventured out. It was not as big a fight as the others mentioned before, but for the female fight world it would have been an interesting clash. Holm fought almost everyone else but McCarter. Holm had extreme athleticism and McCarter the expert boxing skills. It would have been a good one.
Since 2016 when female pro boxing was boosted by the arrival of Olympians such as Katie Taylor, Shields and others, the sport has bogged down the past year as fighters wait for the million dollar paydays. Instead of the best fighting the best, a few top female prizefighters are waiting for the big TV checks. Even a few of those who are fighting on TV or streaming apps keep fighting against opponents that are 10 to 1 underdogs. Female prizefighting needs competitive matchups not slam dunks.
So far only Shields and a few others like Heather Hardy, Shelly Vincent and Franchon Crews have willingly accepted 50/50 TV fights knowing they could easily lose. Fans saw females battle tooth and nail in Shields and Crews debuts in 2016. Before that, Hardy and Vincent captivated a TV audience with their firefight in the summer of 2016.
Hammer versus Shields looks to be a high caliber showdown between undefeated middleweights this coming spring.
“I’m looking forward to going to the US to fight Claressa Shields,” said Hammer after her victory on Saturday in Berlin. “I’m doing everything I can in training camp to beat her.”
A month ago, in Las Vegas, Shields was calm and content that Hammer was healthy again and ready to go. She began camp on Feb. 1.
“I’m just waiting to be undisputed champion,” said Shields. “People think she can beat me because she’s taller. If that was the case I would have lost more in the amateurs.”
It’s a mega fight with all the major ingredients to be a fight for the ages. Showtime is expected to televise the mega fight.
More Female Fight News
On Saturday Feb. 16, featherweights Eliana Cuello (3-2) and Rosa Caraballo (0-1) meet in a four round bout at San Lorenzo, Santa Fe.
On Friday Feb. 15, super lightweights Elfi Philips (9-5-3) and Aleksandra Vujovic (4-8-2) meet in a 10 round WBF title fight at Ghent.
On Saturday Feb. 16, bantamweights Jill Serron (5-1) and Claudia Ferenczi (19-67-8) meet in an eight round contest at Sint Truiden. Also, lightweights Joyce Van Ee (0-0) and Denisa Cicoova (1-0) meet in a six round bout.
On Saturday Feb. 16, super featherweights Djemilla Gontaruk (14-5-2) and Karina Kopinska (11-28-4) meet in a six round match at Herstal.
On Saturday Feb. 16, super lightweights Oshin Derieuw (10-0) and Gulsum Tatar (3-0) meet in an eight round clash at Roeselare.
Ann Ruth Castro (1-1) defeated Madison Blakely (0-3) by decision after four rounds on Saturday Feb. 9. The featherweight match was held in Peterborough, Ontario.
Visila Kolitapa (2-1-2) was the winner by decision over Katrina Singh (2-2-1) after four rounds on Saturday Feb. 9. The middleweight fight took place in Nadi.
Christina Hammer (24-0) was the winner by knockout in the second round versus Elene Sikmashvili (8-8) on Saturday Feb. 9. The middleweight clash took place in Berlin. Now Hammer is poised to meet Claressa Shields in a unification clash between middleweight world titlists in the USA sometime this spring. All the belts are at stake.
Milena Koleva (10-11-1) knocked out Valeria Kovacs (2-2) in the first round on Saturday Feb. 9. The lightweight contest took place in Berlin. Also, Cheyenne Hanson (4-0) defeated Olga Zabavina (0-9) by decision after four rounds in a featherweight bout.
Anahit Aroyan (2-0) defeated Kamla Roka (0-2) by decision after four rounds on Sunday Feb. 3. The featherweight match was held at Hyderabad.
Valeria De Francesco (2-0) defeated Francesca Paglia (0-2) by decision after six rounds on Saturday Feb. 9. The flyweight match was held in Milan.
On Saturday Feb. 16, super lightweights Everline Odero (10-9-2) and Happy Daudi (6-6-1) meet in a 10 round WIBA title fight at Nairobi. Also, super bantamweights Jane Kavulani (17-14-4) and Acayo Oliver (0-0) meet in an eight round match.
On Saturday Feb. 16, super bantamweights Yamileth Mercado (12-2) and Alys Sanchez (15-5-1) meet in a 10 round title fight at Cuahtemoc, Chihuahua.
On Saturday Feb. 16, light flyweights Yesenia Gomez (14-5-3) and Erika Hanawa (10-3) meet in a 10 round clash for the WBC world title at Cancun.
On Saturday Feb. 16, light flyweights Guadalupe Ramirez (7-10) and Esmeralda Torres (2-7-1) meet in an eight round contest at Iztapalapa, Mexico City.
On Friday Feb. 15, super flyweights Jehiny Gallardo (1-0) and Darylibeth Gil (1-0) meet in a four round contest at Panama City.
On Monday Feb. 11, lightweights Miriam Gutierrez (8-0) and Kamilla Boka (3-1) meet in an eight round bout at Madrid. Also, flyweights Cristina Garrobo (4-1) and Cristina Busuioc (0-0) meet in a six round bout.
Cathy McAleer (2-0) was the winner by decision over Sonia Klos (0-5) after four rounds on Saturday Feb. 9. The bantamweight fight took place at Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Ava Knight (17-2-5) and Argentina’s Luna Del Mar Torroba (12-9-3) fought to a technical draw after three rounds on Saturday Feb. 9. An accidental clash of heads resulted in a cut over Knight’s left eye. According to California rules the flyweight fight was ruled a draw.
On Friday Feb. 15, super featherweights Mikaela Mayer (9-0) and Yareli Larios (13-1-1) meet in an eight round NABF title fight at Hinkley, Minnesota. This is Mayer’s second defense of the title.
On Friday Feb. 15, super flyweights Elena Saveleva (4-1) and Akasha Adams (0-3) meet in six three-minute round fight at Mulvane, Kansas. Also, flyweights Miranda Adkins (3-0) and Tatiana Williams (0-1) meet in a six round fight.
On Saturday Feb. 16, super bantamweights Alexa Love (1-0) and Leesa Daniels (1-3) meet in a four round bout at Westminster, Colorado.
On Saturday Feb. 16, featherweights Keren Batiz (5-1-1) and Paola Luzardo (0-0) meet in a six round match at Los Teques.