Saturday, September 30, 2023  |


Claressa Shields could meet Rankin next as Hammer time nears

Photo credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
Fighters Network

Word on the street is that Team Claressa Shields is not having the easiest time finding folks willing to glove up with her.

She’s “just” 5-0, but I guess the tape on her is dissuading fighters from stepping to the line against the Michigan boxer who just turned 23. The Olympic golds (2012 and 2016) attest to her pedigree, and I think the thinking among some of the people who’ve said thanks but no thanks is, “I might as well wait awhile, til Shields is further down the line as a pro.” Then maybe they believe that more belts and more acclaim and more money will be up for grabs. Why take the beating now, perhaps they are thinking, off the record …

Shields last gloved up on January 12 and had her way with 17-0-3 Tori Nelson.

Overtures were made, it looks like — based on social media activity — to a band of pugilists for Shields’ next date.

She’s willing to do 160 or 168 or maybe even another class, if it means getting work, so it’s not like Shields is limiting the scope of possible rivals.

We’re hearing that the Shields bunch might just have found a willing taker. A Scot, 4-1 Hannah Rankin, it seems, is down to see if Shields live is as badass as tape suggests. A date, early to mid-May, in Michigan is reserved for Shields … and indications are that Rankin wants to face off. I messaged Rankin, who is, in addition to being a boxer, a professional bassoon player. I will add her reaction to the rumor mill grist when I hear back.

Meanwhile, it still looks like Shields and 22-0 Kazakhstan-born German resident Christina Hammer are on parallel tracks which will soon turn to a collision course. Hammer, it looks like, will be featured on the May slate, likely to run on Showtime, which has been building Shields as a featured attraction. Their mashup would be the biggest-deal women’s bout in many, many moons.

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