Claressa Shields won Olympic gold in 2012 in London and returned home with only a minimal bump in fame. I feel confident because she thinks she can bully me by staring me down.
So what's an unrecognized champ to do? She's going to get hurt on Saturday.
"I want to show that I'm the undisputed champion". It would be better for marketing purposes if she'd have to come back and score a dramatic, last-second win, but to Shields, winning is all that matters.
The unifying world middleweight fight between two-time American Olympic champion Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer will change the face of women's boxing, the German said in preparation of the biggest bout of her career.
It's the eve of the victor take all middleweight boxing bout between dual champions Christina Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs) and Claressa Shields (8-0, 2 KOs).
Claressa Shields talks to the children before a workout in Atlantic City, N.J., Thursday, April 11, 2019.
There have been more accomplished female fighters - Laila Ali, Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker top the short list - but no bout has quite matched this one in anticipation or potential historic significance. I think women everywhere have benefited from the lead up to this fight. In the first episode, Shields accused Hammer of making derogatory comments about and to her friends and family. "I have two hands I [will] give everything to stop her". She's dominant, not losing a fight since her amateur career, and she's won championships in multiple weight classes as a pro. She takes a stand, putting blue streaks in her hair to raise awareness to the clean water fight that's gone on for years in her hometown of Flint, Michigan. I prepare for everything, because in boxing anything can happen, and I want to win and I have to work hard. The distinction didn't come because of the 28-year-old Hammer, who has racked up wins for a decade in the 160-pound division without fanfare. It's the spark and the success that Shields creates whenever she fights.
Earlier this week, Shields suggested the fight would be a milestone for women's boxing.
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"There is a gender gap". We all know it. We work hard, [but] we get less money and less recognition. "We are changing it".
The fight was originally scheduled for last fall until Hammer pulled out with an undisclosed illness. Hammer was obviously not happy with having to wait a while longer for her highly-anticipated showdown with Shields, but she's fully healthy and ready to fight for the undisputed title. Growing up, I'd always been bigger than everyone. So it is a little weird to hear kids say that I am their role model. "I think she hates me, but I just want to do my job and be undisputed champion". I showed her at the stare down that Im not scared.
CH: She's very tough and very aggressive, but I can't say I like her. Rousey has almost 3.7 million Twitter followers compared to about 35,400 for Shields.
Female sport is moving in the right direction, attendances in women's football have been smashing records in recent weeks (a stunning 60,739 turning out to watch Atletico v Barcelona ladies' sides) and the aforementioned Katie Taylor has already proven she can become the headline event at stadiums over here - hopefully by the end of this weekend we'll have a new megastar to help carry women's sport forward. On paper once again, I'm supposed to lose. Shell find out just how strong I am in the first round and Im going to let her know shes in with a fighter.
In the world of women's sport, boxing still trails martial arts in terms of popularity, largely as it has lacked a breakthrough figure like Ronda Rousey.
"She keeps talking about her jab and her movement, but she isn't saying how she is going to beat me", Shields said.
Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer present their belts during the press conference between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer at the Dream Hotel Downtown on February 26 in New York City.