Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer unification title fight set for Nov. 17 on Showtime
The most high-profile women’s boxing showdown in recent memory is set.
Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer will each put their middleweight titles on the line when they meet November 17 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, it was announced Tuesday. Showtime will televise the 160-pound unification bout that will crown an undisputed champion with all four belts on the line.
“They will break barriers and set a new bar for women’s boxing,” said Mark Taffet, the former longtime HBO Pay-Per-View czar who now manages Shields. He pointed out that two of the biggest potential women’s fights in boxing history — Laila Ali vs. Ann Wolfe and Lucia Rijker vs. Christy Martin never came to fruition.
Shields-Hammer is happening, and while both women are still in their prime (they shared a Showtime twinbill in June.) The proposed matchup originally came into focus two years ago in Miami, Taffet said, when each camp was at the WBC Convention. He was impressed by the way Hammer conducted herself, and the two champions were cordial — yet supremely confident — on a Tuesday conference call to discuss the bout.
“I am the best middleweight in the world and will make that point very clear when we get in the ring,” said Hammer, a 28-year-old living in Germany. “It’s been my dream to fight in the biggest women’s fight of all time and raise women’s boxing to an all-time high. I will be crowned the undisputed middleweight queen on November 17.”
Hammer (23-0, 10 knockouts) is a lingerie model in her spare time, and coupled with her charisma and boxing ability, she seems poised to break through in a sport that gives little attention to women. Ronda Rousey paved the way for females in UFC, and with a victory, Hammer could do the same.
It won’t be an easy task, though. Though she’s far more experienced in the paid ranks, she’ll be counted as the underdog against Shields (6-0, 2 KOs), the decorated amateur who quickly grabbed two world titles.
“I’ve worked hard my whole life to overcome every obstacle, represent my country and win two Olympic gold medals, and win world championships in two weight divisions as a pro,” said Shields, a 23-year-old from Flint, Michigan.
“I want to be part of the biggest fight in women’s boxing history, I want to be undisputed world middleweight champion, I want women’s boxing to reach new heights, and the only thing standing between me and the achievement of all those goals is Christina Hammer. I will defeat Hammer on November 17, and I will do it in a way that will leave no doubt who is the best in the world.”
If the fight delivers as anticipated, women’s boxing will be elevated. We’re already talking about two women fighting, a rarity in a sport dominated by men. That’s a start. The rest is up to them in the ring.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.