Claressa Shields, Christina Hammer to battle for undisputed middleweight title on April 13

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports
Claressa Shields (R), shown in a Dec. 8 victory over Femke Hermans, will meet Christina Hammer in a bout for the undisputed middleweight championship on April 13 in Atlantic City.
Claressa Shields (R), shown in a Dec. 8 victory over Femke Hermans, will meet Christina Hammer in a bout for the undisputed middleweight championship on April 13 in Atlantic City.

It doesn’t get much better than two unbeaten fighters squaring off for all the belts, and on April 13 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in a bout televised by Showtime, Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer will meet for the ultimate prize, the undisputed women’s middleweight title.

The winner will be only the sixth boxer, and just the second woman, to have held the IBF-WBA-WBC-WBO belts simultaneously. The others to have done it were Terence Crawford (super lightweight); Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins (middleweight); Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight) and Cecilia Braekhus (welterweight). Usyk and Braekhus are reigning undisputed champions.

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Shields (8-0, 2 KOs), a gold medalist in 2012 and 2016, holds the IBF-WBA-WBC belts. She was supposed to fight Hammer in November before Hammer had to withdraw because of a medical issue. Hammer, who is 24-0 with 11 knockouts, holds the WBO belt and is the WBC champion in recess.

“I always seek the biggest challenges and set the highest goals,” Shields said. “I will be ready like never before and will defeat Christina Hammer on April 13. Nothing will stop me from becoming undisputed champion and continuing my journey to carry women’s boxing to never-before-seen heights. I want to be the greatest of all-time and change the game forever for all women in sports, and April 13 is an important step on that road to history.”

Hammer won the WBO belt in 2010 when Shields was just 15. Though Shields has the hype of being the only two-time American gold medalist in boxing behind her, Hammer is a veteran and believes her experience will win out.

“I have waited a long time for this moment,” Hammer said. “I am bigger, stronger and more experienced than Claressa Shields. I am undefeated and have been a champion for over eight years. I can’t wait to show the world that I am the best and undisputed middleweight champion of the world.”

Promoter Dmitriy Salita thinks it is the most significant women’s fight in boxing history.

“Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer, both champions, both in their prime, are not only taking on the biggest challenge in their respective careers by meeting each other in the ring, but are breaking barriers for boxing and for women in sports,” Salita said. “April 13 is destined to be an electric and historic night of boxing.”

Germany’s Christina Hammer will defend her WBO middleweight title against American Claressa Shields on April 13 in Atlantic City.
Germany’s Christina Hammer will defend her WBO middleweight title against American Claressa Shields on April 13 in Atlantic City.

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