Shields: I Will Break Hammer in Half

After five weeks at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, WBA/WBC/IBF Female Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields flew down to Florida, where she’s been with trainer John David Jackson for the last week preparing for the fight of her life.

Shields will do battle with WBO champion Christina Hammer in a bout to declare an undisputed 160-pound female champion. The fight will take place from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 13.

“Being here in Florida to finish up camp has been really ideal,” Shields told the press at her April 4 open workout. “I’ve still been working extremely hard, but here I have a little extra space and sunshine. It was time for some new scenery in camp and I think this was the perfect move to take me into fight week.

“I have two Olympic Gold Medals, three belts and more coming. I’ll have all the titles at the end of the night on April 13.”

Shields won gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, the first time women’s boxing occurred at the Olympics, where she became the first American boxer to win gold. She did the feat again at the 2016 Games in Rio, becoming the first American boxer to win gold medals in consecutive Olympic Games.

From there, she turned pro and has been running through the competition. She defeated Nikki Adler to become WBC Female Super Middleweight champion and the inaugural IBF champion and made one defense before moving down to middleweight. She defeated Hanna Gabriel back in June to claim to become the WBA Female 160-pound champion and again became an inaugural IBF champ before adding the WBC crown in November.

Hammer feels she would probably have more popularity and accomplishments but a gender gap is preventing that.

“If I was a man, I would probably be one of the most famous boxers out there,” Shields said. “There is a gender gap. We all know it. I’m working towards changing that. We work hard, we get less money and less recognition, but the world is changing. We are changing it.”

This leads to the April 13 clash between Shields and Hammer, referred to as potentially the biggest female boxing match in the sport’s history. Shields has been calling out Hammer for over a year now, and the fight was scheduled to take place late last year, but Hammer pulled out citing medical reasons. Shields instead retained her titles against Femke Hermans back in December.

The pair have exchanged heated words in the lead-up to this fight, from trashing each other’s boxing skills to stating how the other is going to feel by the end of the fight. Shields, however, says she isn’t worried by Hammer’s verbal smack talk.

Shields added that Hammer has flown out a friend of hers to spar with in preparation for the fight, but says that she hasn’t sparred with the friend in years.

“People can say they’re not paying attention to you and not studying you, but they’re lying. I’m glad she’s looking at me closely though,” Shields said. “It makes me know I’m on her mind. She can spar with Ann Wolfe and she still isn’t going to beat me.

“This fight is long overdue and I’m just glad I’m going to get my chance to show her what a real champion is. Someone is going down on April 13 and I promise it’s not going to be me.

Christina doesn’t know what’s coming for her. I’m going to break that Hammer in half.

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