Claressa Shields dominates Tori Nelson, targets Christina Hammer
In the first notable boxing event of the year, Claressa Shields defeated previously unbeaten Tori Nelson by unanimous decision to retain her WBC and IBF super middleweight women’s world titles in the main event of “Shobox: The New Generation“ from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Shields won by unanimous scores 100-90.
The 22-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan continues to cement herself as the face of U.S. women’s boxing in the United States by easily defeating her second consecutive undefeated opponent.
Making her first defense of the world titles she won in a tremendous performance last August against Nikki Adler, Shields (5-0, 2 knockouts) was too fast and too strong for the 41-year-old Nelson who managed absorb Shields’ power better than Adler. Shields exhibited patience worked behind a strong jab to hit Nelson at will. Shields threw 207 jabs to only 52 from Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs), proving that she can box and move around the ring in addition to physically overwhelming her opponents.
Although she didn’t get the stoppage she predicted she would get, Shields gained experience fighting a woman who was not afraid of her and refused to back down. Nelson even managed to get Shields on the ropes in the sixth and seventh rounds but was not busy enough to hurt Shields and the Olympian was all too comfortable fighting off the ropes not having showing any respect for Nelson’s power.
Shields tried listening to her corner and increased her punch output to put Nelson away but the former world champion who has a son Shields’ age was not a willing participant to Shields’ plan. Nelson was content just covering up and surviving the rounds and Shields to her credit remained patient and enjoyed another one-sided victory.
Shields said before the fight she will go down to the middleweight limit of 160 pounds for her next bout in preparation for a showdown with WBC and WBO middleweight champion Christina Hammer later this year. Hammer was due to appear on the undercard but due to a delay in her work visa the German fighter will have to wait to the spring for her United States debut which will likely be on a Shields’ card.
Shields won two consecutive Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016 being the only American male or female to achieve the feat in boxing.
In the Showtime co-feature Jesse Angel Hernandez (11-1, 7 KOs) survived an early knockdown to win a hard-fought split decision victory over Ernesto Garza (9-3, 5 KOs). The official scores were 95-94 and 97-93 for Hernandez and 95-93 for Garza.
Making his second appearance on the “Shobox” series, Hernandez had all he can handle with the very game Garza who dropped Hernandez with a short-left hook in the second round, stunning the Texas native. Hernandez stormed back in the third round smothering Garza and leveraging his height to land clean shots on Garza and slowing his momentum.
Both fighters let their hands go in the final two rounds of the bout, each landing clean shots. Despite throwing 1,009 punches and badly bruising Hernandez’ right cheek, Garza was unable to sway the other two judges in his favor.
The 27-year-old Hernandez is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Glenn Dezurn last November in New York and prior to that on his first appearance on Showtime last August Hernandez upset previously unbeaten Vladimir Tikhonov stopping him in five rounds. Hernandez turned pro in 2009 and after only two bouts he stopped boxing to work construction full time to support his family before resuming his boxing career in 2014.
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast hard-hitting junior welterweight Shohjahon Ergashev (12-0, 12 KOs) defeated previously unbeaten Sonny Fredrickson (18-1, 12 KOs) by third-round TKO. The official time of the stoppage was 1:58.
The 26-year-old Ergashev punished Fredrickson with unrelenting straight left hands in the third round, leaving the Toledo, Ohio native leaning on the ropes, vulnerable and unable to defend himself, forcing referee Benjy Esteves to jump in and stop the bout. Ergashev landed 23 out 30 power punches in the round and was teeing off on Fredrickson after badly hurting Fredrickson with a left hook.
Ergashev rushed out of corner at the start of round one looking to land a home run left hook on the much taller Fredrickson who could not find an answer for the southpaw’s aggression. Ergashev buzzed Fredrickson in the first few moments of the bout sending Fredrickson into the ropes. Fredrickson barely survived the round. Ergashev started toying with Frederickson in the second round (taking a page from Vasyl Lomachenko’s book by playing the part of a matador) trying to lure him to close enough where Ergashev could drill Fredrickson once more. Ergashev did not attempt to throw a jab in the bout.
This was only the second bout in the United States for the Uzbekistan native who now trains out the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Among his 202 amateur victories, Ergashev holds a win over Shakhram Giyasov, who won the silver medal for Uzbekistan in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.