Christina Hammer Targeting for Claressa Shields
By Phil Woolever
Along with boxing’s increased exposure from recent, mega- matches, it appears 2018 will offer a true, unification “super fight” in the women’s ranks, featuring longtime middleweight champion Christina Hammer against rising star Claressa Shields.
Both undefeated fighters possess the talent and charisma to produce considerable positive public impact among potential audiences.
WBC / WBO titlist Hammer (21-0, 9 KOs 1 NC) is a class act with solid management and promotion and a popular attraction in Germany. After relocating from Kazakhstan, she has appeared as the co-main event with top male fighters and held up more than her end with the crowds.
WBC / IBF super-middleweight champion and US Olympic gold medal winner Shields fights on Showtime, one of the top of boxing’s broadcast food chain, but German TV viewing numbers for the sport are usually much higher, as in millions, with most premium bouts free on major networks.
The talent pool isn’t honestly thick enough for a Super Series type tournament, but Hammer and Shields could agree to a home and away type series of their own, maybe two out of three. If it reaches 1 – 1, the finale could be at some high-profile neutral site.
While anything like that scenario is unlikely without a major sponsor, it’s encouraging that a significant global event for women’s boxing is close to being signed.
Prizefighters.com got a chance to catch up with Christina Hammer for some questions and an update.
Prizefighters : What did you think of being in Vegas for Mayweather – McGregor and the Breakfast of Champions at the MGM ?
Christina Hammer : It was my first time in Las Vegas, and so nice to get the invitation from Mayweather Promotions and the sponsors. It was a great honor for me, because I was the only woman from Germany or the rest of Europe. It was a big show and many people were obviously interested in boxing versus UFC, but I knew beforehand that Mayweather would beat him easily. You can’t step into the ring like that with so little boxing experience.
PF: Are you currently in full training?
CH: I’m always in training and in good shape. I love sports and boxing is my passion. I just started my preparation for an upcoming fight on November 4th in Munich that will be televised on Sport 1 (Gifty Amanua Ankrah is the probable foe).
PF: You were in Detroit for Claressa Shields’ win (TKO 5) against then titlist Nikki Adler. What were the main impressions you got from Shields as a fighter?
CH: Shields is a great fighter. She has an aggressive style with many punches, but she also has no footwork. She needs a stationary target like Adler. My style is different. I have more skills and better technique and footwork. I can score from long range with my jabs and I have the experience from 21 fights.
PF: Why do you think Shields beat Adler so easily?
CH: Adler was not well prepared to defend her title. She had no footwork and moved too slowly. I think she under-rated Shields, because Adler said she never watched any of Shields fights. That’s not professional. I have followed every one of Shields’ fights since the Olympics.
PF: What’s your preference regarding a fight with Shields and how are negotiations going?
CH: I think maybe next year around May through July is the best time to beat her. My manager, Harald Pia, and her manager Mark Taffet are in close contact with each other. Both teams realize that a Shields versus Hammer fight could be a game changer for women’s boxing.
Thus, we like the idea of a mid-2018 “super fight” in the USA, which allows proper time to build awareness of the event and each fighter’s profile. This will be the biggest challenge for both of us and could be the biggest fight in female boxing history.
PF: What’s the biggest challenge for you in this fight?
CH: I will have to be at my best and use the maximum of my skills. I must use my reach and footwork, and punch as hard as I can whether attacking or countering. I will be fully prepared, and I know I will beat her.
PF: Would you want a rematch clause in a contract with Shields?
CH: Yes, either way we are planning a contract for two fights. I think this is a good idea and I’m ready. The world has to see this.
PF: What are your plans if a contract for the fight stalls, will you wait or take other fights?
CH: That’s no problem, I’m the champ and she has to follow me. If she wants my title, okay let’s fight, but otherwise I can still go up to super-middleweight as well.
PF: How much longer do you plan to box?
CH: I think at age 30 or 31 it will be enough. My plan is to fight at the 2020 Olympic Games and step back as an unbeaten world and Olympic champion.