Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer
New York Media
Photos: Stephanie Trapp - SHOWTIME
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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