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  Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer
New York Media Luncheon


Photos: Stephanie Trapp - SHOWTIME

 

Undefeated middleweight champions Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer went face-to-face in New York on Wednesday just three days before arguably the most significant event in womenís boxing history this Saturday live on SHOWTIME from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

IBF, WBC and WBA Champion Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) will unify with WBO Champion Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs) for the undisputed middleweight world championship. The winner will become only the second undisputed champion in womenís boxing history and only the sixth fighter Ė male or female Ė to unify all four recognized world titles.

Joining Shields and Hammer at Gallagherís Steakhouse in Manhattan was unbeaten heavyweight contender Otto Wallin, who takes on Nick Kisner as part of the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION tripleheader beginning at 9:10 p.m. ET/PT.

Shields and Hammer spoke with media and had a tense face-off as they near Saturdayís showdown. Here is what the participants had to say Wednesday:
 

CLARESSA SHIELDS

ďHammer signed up for something she shouldnít have signed up for. Sheís going to get hurt on Saturday. I love that she has an accomplished record. People say I donít have power or this and that but on paper Iíve been an underdog in most of my fights and Iíve beat all those women.

ďWhen I beat Christina Hammer on Saturday, I want everyoneís headline to say ĎShields nails the Hammerí. Itís not a game to me. Itís going to be bad for her.

ďIím happy that everyone came out for this event and has supported it. This isnít as big as womenís boxing can get, but itís the beginning of something great.

ďThis is the hardest Iíve ever trained for a fight. Not because I donít think that I can beat her, but because of the spotlight, I donít want to let my fans down. I donít want to let the women who came before me down. They never got to have a fight as big as this one. I donít want anyone to say itís all hype. I want to put on a show.

ďIím just being myself. I canít put all the pressure on me to be something Iím not. I love talking trash, that comes natural. Thereís a bit of truth in there too. When it gets to times like this, Iím not afraid to say how I feel.

ďThe reason why Iím here is because Iíve taken on the biggest challenges and fought the best fighters. It feels good. I know that Iím going to beat her and take all of these belts home.

ďI think sheís shook. She doesnít want to say anything after all the social media talking she was doing. This is her time to say it to my face.

ďWomenís boxing is becoming bigger and with ĎAll-Accessí you can see that I train hard, spar against men and go hard for three minutes for 12 rounds. Weíve been around for a long time and we havenít gotten our just do yet. Weíre getting more and weíre getting to the point where one day it can all be equal.

ďIím glad Hammer is here and weíre really going to fight. Sheís tough, but Iíve beat girls way stronger, faster and taller than her over and over again. I canít wait to do it again on Saturday.Ē

CHRISTINA HAMMER

ďIím so happy to be here and have this great opportunity. I canít wait to get in the ring on Saturday and get all of these belts. Iím ready.

ďIím very confident and I canít wait to show everyone why Iím 24-0 and been a champion for as long as Iíve been.

ďShe can say whatever she wants here, because Iím going to show it in the ring. I donít like to talk too much. Iím here to show my skills in the ring and get all these belts.

ďIím emotionless in the ring, because itís my job. None of her talk will affect me. When youíre emotional in the ring, you make mistakes.

ďI know that itís a risk to come from Germany to the U.S. to fight Shields. But I have done everything to bring it to her and break her down round-by-round. I want to show the people who the real champion is. A real champion fights everyone, all over the world.

ďIím very focused. I know that this is a historic fight. There is only one champion who can take these belts and that will be me. Iíve given everything for that goal. I sacrificed day after day in camp to achieve that.

ďI want to show that Iím the undisputed champion. Iím the longtime champion and Iím going to let the people see that womenís boxing is exciting just like the men. This is a great match to show that.

ďWeíre both undefeated and in our primes. People wanted to see this fight and they got this fight. All of the talk is over. Now itís time to fight.Ē

OTTO WALLIN


ďI come from a small town in Sweden and started boxing in a basement. I could never dream of making it here. I read about it, but it wasnít attainable. Now Iím here and Iím ready to make a statement on Saturday.

ďItís very important to make an impression. This is a very big opportunity for me to be fighting on SHOWTIME in my first fight on the U.S. A lot of people will be watching and I want to put on a good performance. Most important is to get the win and take care of business.

ďMy opponent is smaller than me and I think that suits me well. He likes to be a little cute in the ring and I think heíll try to be tricky early on. I want to establish my jab and my body work, because I know he wonít like those body shots. Iím going to break him down.

ďI have a good plan and a really good trainer. Heís prepared me well with good sparring. I think Iíll know what to do to stay focus. Iíve always been able to do that and focus on whatís best for me in the ring.

ďItís very nice to be here. Iím very happy to be on this show. Itís great for womenís boxing that the two best fighters are facing each other.Ē

DMITRIY SALITA, President of Salita Promotions


ďThis promotion has lived up to the expectations. This is the biggest fight in womenís boxing history. It feels very big today and Iím sure in a month a day or a year after this fight, we will know that it was a historic event.

ďSHOWTIMEís support for this fight has raised the awareness of womenís boxing for the fans in the U.S and around the world. I think women everywhere have benefited from the lead up to this fight.

ďin the opener on SHOWTIME, world ranked heavyweight Otto Wallin will make his U.S. debut. Otto is an example of hard work and dreams coming true. He grew up in a small town in Sweden and had a dream to become world champion. Heís been training in New York Joey Gamache and we canít wait for his fight Saturday.

ďFor a great fight to happen it takes two to tango. Hammer is a longtime world champion and a dominant force in the middleweight division. You have seen how prepared she is for this fight. It takes championship character to fly to another country to put it all on the line and she deserves respect for that.

ďClaressa Shields has passed every test ever put in front of her. She has been dominant as a pro, winning a world title in her fourth fight a second division title in her sixth fight. April 13 will be her toughest test. This is a fight that she is taking very seriously and Iím excited to see her in the ring Saturday.Ē

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.


ďI want to acknowledge Claressa and Christina, because itís easy to forget that this is a fight. That may sound strange, but itís because there is so much discussion about the meaning and symbolism of this fight. You still have to remember, that beyond all that, these are two athletes preparing for a fight. They each want to win.

ďEach of them has taken on the challenge of representing womenís boxing and that should not be overlooked. It would be very easy as a competitor to say that youíre not going to get into that extra stuff. That would be the easier thing to do. But what Claressa and Christina have done is accept that mantle and that challenge. Theyíve taken on those discussions. Not just promoting their fight, but engaging in discussions about the future of womenís boxing.

ďIím sure theyíre tired of talking at this point and just want to fight. That challenge is something that makes the process more difficult and something theyíre doing for selfless reasons. Itís really for the advancement of the sport as a whole. Both women deserve a lot of credit for that.

ďThis fight is already a success. I know thereís one big piece that still remains, and Iím very excited to see the fight take place. I know theyíre anxious to get in the ring. But what this promotion has done is advance the conversation and advance the dialogue. Itís all of our hopes that this will persist beyond this event and lead to a new era of womenís boxing.Ē



 

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