Claressa Shields TKOs Her Way to World Titles
By David A. Avila
Claressa Shields blasted Germany’s Nikki Adler through five rounds to win the WBC and IBF super middleweight titles by technical knockout with one swoop on Friday.
“I’m happy and blessed. I got the TKO. I knocked out the world champion who was 16-0,” Shields told Showtime’s Steve Farhood. “I had trained for a hard fight and was prepared to go all 10. It was not going to be a war.”
Shields (4-0, 2 Kos) showed the hometown crowd including illustrious gathered champions that her proclamations of dominance over Adler (16-1) were not just idle words at the MGM Grand Detroit in Detroit, Michigan.
While fellow champions Cris “Cyborg” Justine and Christina Hammer watched from ringside, the former two-time Olympic gold medalist known as “T-Rex” devoured Adler like a T-bone steak.
She must have been starving.
Adler was resilient throughout the five rounds but unable to muster any kind of suitable attack against the speedy assaults unleashed by Shields. It was like watching a tennis ball machine fire blow after blow against a relative statue.
Speed has always been Shields’ primary weapon and it was never more evident than against Adler whose peek-a-boo defense did not allow her to counter the mountain of blows coming her way. She tried but was slow to the draw.
A day before the title fight, fellow champion Christina Hammer, who fights out of Germany and holds the WBC middleweight title, was asked her prediction of the outcome.
“Adler is too slow,” said Hammer during a press conference. “Shields will win easy.”
Never were more prophetic words said.
Shields blistered Adler with her wide but speedy combinations that all but one opponent has been able to solve. So far the only one able to compete blow to blow has been Franchon Crews a fellow former U.S. amateur star. But on this night, those combos unleashed by the 22-year-old Shields were unable to be fended off by Germany’s Adler.
During the fifth round a counter left hook by Shields caught Adler flush and though she never was floored, the referee saw she was hurt and moved in to halt the fight 10 seconds later at 1:34 of the fifth.
“I felt tired and weak in the ring,” Adler said. “Claressa was definitely the better fighter tonight. I will be back. Of course, I’m very disappointed about losing a fight, but its part of boxing. I was never hurt during the fight, but I had no strength and felt fatigued. I don’t know why. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to.”
Shields was the victor and now holds the WBC and IBF super middleweight world titles. It was a goal she set less than a year ago and was boldly accomplished before not only those in the arena, but a nationwide televised audience.
“I was never nervous and I knew from the start I was not going to go home without those belts,” she said. “I did it!”
Shields can now add those world titles to her gold medals. The rest of the female boxing world from super welterweight to super middleweight is on call.