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A deeper look into Christina Hammer

Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer face off after one of Shield's bouts last September. Photo courtesy of Associated Press
14
May

Undefeated WBC/WBO female middleweight titlist Christina Hammer has not yet fought within the United States but that will change on June 22, when she gloves up in Detroit, against Tori Nelson, on Showtime.

To be certain, Hammer is visually striking, and her record indicates she can scrap more than a little bit too. A native of Kazahkstan who resides in Germany, the 22-0 (10 knockouts) striker will see her profile rise more if things come together, and, in the near future, Hammer takes on a heavy-duty challenge in the form of Claressa Shields.

I touched base with Hammer, and asked how and why she took up boxing.

“My whole family is very athletic and loves boxing,” the 27-year-old told me. “My uncle started boxing in the gym. I tagged along a few times and instantly fell in love with the sport.”

She filled me on some specifics in her upbringing too, “I was born in Kazakhstan; we immigrated to Germany when I was one year old. I basically grew up in Germany and always had the support of my family to pursue what I love and I always loved sports! Ironically the sport that I excelled in was boxing; meanwhile my brother played the very popular sport in Germany, soccer or football, as we call it here. I had a great childhood; I didn’t box to get out of poverty and although we emigrated to Germany, I never lived in the ghetto and boxing is not a ‘way out.’ I do love boxing because I fight for my dreams, literally and figuratively. As a woman, success, specifically in the ring, on an elite level, I know is empowering, not only for me but for women from all over the world who watch me perform in the ring, in prime venues televised on major networks all over the world.”

Anyone reading this likely knows the women’s boxing scene in the U.S. is getting a hard push. Showtime has been on board this train for the last year, and HBO came to the party on May 5.

Cecilia Braekhus appeared on the Gennady Golovkin-topped HBO slate, May 5, fighting Kali Reis. Did Hammer watch the Braekhus vs. Reis fight and what were her thoughts on that event?

“Yes, I saw this fight,” Hammer said. “I fought and beat Reis twice. We formed a friendship and I texted her before the fight, wishing her luck and victory, as I know that she is a tough fighter and will give Braekhus problems. I think when Braekhus would fight with Kali in 154, Kali’s punch will be harder but Braekhus knows that and fights in her division.” (Note: Braekhus and Reis fought at welterweight, while Reis last fought at 147 in 2013, interestingly enough against Tori Nelson). “I am very happy to see women’s boxing on another major TV network like HBO in America. I know Cecilia has a lot of accomplishments and great accolades, my respect. I challenged Cecilia over a year ago to fight if she comes up to 154 but she turned down the challenge.”

And what about her upcoming fight, and perhaps and analysis of Nelson?

“I take my training very seriously and am conducting my camp in the mountains to be in the best possible condition for this very important fight. Tori Nelson is a good fighter but she is an opponent and I will let people in the U.S. know why I have been the dominant world middleweight champion for as long as I have been. I can’t wait for fans in the U.S. to see the real ‘Lady Hammer’!” Hammer won the vacant WBO 160-pound crown in 2010, in her eighth pro fight. In November of 2016, she beat Reis and snagged the WBC’s version of the title.

Should Hammer defeat Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs), are we definitely going to see her fight Claressa Shields? And what are her thoughts on Shields, as a fighter and attraction?

“Yes, this is the fight we want and it will be the greatest fight in women’s boxing history. You will get a glimpse of the result on June 22nd.” Shields tops that card at the Masonic Temple, which is being put together by Dmitriy Salita and Salita Promotions. Hanna Gabriels, of Costa Rica (18-1-1, 11 KOs) will be Shields’ stiffest test to date as a pro. The 23-year-old Shields (5-0, 2 KOs), a two-belt titlist at super middleweight, is now gunning for two vacant middleweight titles.

What are Hammer’s strengths and what can she work on?

“I love to train and always make sure I am in peak condition. I have good size, height and reach. My jab and my footwork are the best in the division. I have a plan for this fight with my coach to use all my strengths to my advantage and destroy my opponent on June 22nd!” said Hammer. Yep, did you notice there was no mention of weaknesses?

Her stark beauty stands out, so I asked if people still come up to her and ask why such an aesthetically pleasing person chooses to be in such a rugged sport.

“I believe boxing is the best sport in the world and emphasizes speed, strength, technique, tactics. You have to use your intelligence and physical advantages together every moment. My looks outside the ring is a statement about the duality of boxing. I am a beast in the ring and a beauty in the street!” she stated.

Hammer works hard to secure endorsements and side hustles cooking, so I asked about those.

“The future is important. I can’t box forever. That’s why I’m trying to establish my own brands. On July 2018, my own Lady Hammer Sport Nutrition will be launched into the market. For this, I work with the same company who produced the first sport nutrition line for Arnold Schwarzenegger and developed the first space food for NASA. A lot of top male athletes like (soccer star) Cristiano Ronaldo are brand ambassadors for online casinos/sport betting/poker,” Hammer replied.

“But no one has a casino with his own name,” she continued. “When I got the offer, I was proud but I hesitated a moment. One argument convinced me; I wanted to show that not only a male boxer but also female boxer can make real money from their athletic success. I hope my image will motivate more young girls to take the difficult life of a professional fighter.”

I gave Hammer the floor, for a final summation: “This year will be a game-changer for women boxing. It is our time to shine!”

 

 

 

Follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.

 

 

 

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