European Report: Christina Hammer and other notes
By Phil Woolever
Anticipation is rising for the upcoming saga between Germany’s Christina Hammer and US phenom Claressa Shields, currently penciled in for summer of 2018.
A current Showtime contract timetable for 2018, pending finalization, has both Hammer and Shields fighting in co-headlining contests in January and March, then clashing for all their respective marbles sometime next summer with a probable rematch in the fall.
On November 4th, Hammer did as expected and pummeled over-matched Gifty Amanua Ankrah for a TKO 4 in a stay busy fight. Soon after that, the four-fight Showtime contract was announced.
“The fight against Ankrah was just a warm up, it’s the introduction for the USA,” said Hammer. “I learned more about how I have to use my reach for power, and to pound my opponent down. I prepared not only for Ankrah, I’m working hard to beat Shields (already) and conquer the US market.”
One potential factor that may favor Hammer is that Shields will be dropping down from super-middleweight to challenge for Christina’s WBA and WBO titles. Hammer actually captured the vacant WBO Super-middleweight belt in May 2013 with a UD10 over Zita Zatyko, but remained at middleweight.
“I have felt fast and strong at middleweight for a long time, you’d have to ask Shields how it will be for her to come down to 160. I’ve been champion for seven years, I check the rankings and I know I’m still ready for everybody in my division. I like the challenge of showing the USA who I am.”
Would Hammer prefer to meet Shields immediately, maybe before the relative newcomer gains valuable further experience?
“The buildup fights are also good for me, so the American people can see more about me. I know they will love me in the US, the people there know a lot about boxing and they love big fights. I know I’ll get more fans, wherever they are, people will learn more about both of us before Hammer versus Shields.”
Germany is not on the contract’s map. Detroit is one of the possible fight locales, but that’s not written in stone. Hammer appears comfortable anywhere she’s inside a ring.
“I’ll beat Claressa in her hometown if she wants, but my dream is to fight in Las Vegas, where the biggest stars like Floyd Mayweather, Jr fought. It really doesn’t matter where we meet, I know I can beat her. A couple months before we fight I’ll begin training harder than ever, but in some ways it’s no different than my other fights.”
In Zwevezele, Belgium, Delfine Persoon made a successful 5th defense of her WBC Lightweight belt on November 11th, but it was not an easy night against wiry and durable Myriam Dellal (15-6-3) from France. The women had faced off previously for a European title in 2011, with a near-identical result.
The active police officer Persoon (39-1, 16 Kos) kept her left jab in Dellal’s face for much of the fight and pitched a near-shutout on the cards, but it was a bruising victory against the determined challenger.
Scores were 99-91 twice, and 100-90.
“Everything considered, this was not very much fun,” Persoon told the media afterward. “I’ve had a virus for two weeks and was definitely not 100 percent. There were other stresses with the fight promotion and my job.”
“I’m waiting to find out the guidelines for the Olympics. I’m getting older and I’m not sure what’s next, but I’ll worry about that later. For now I just want to enjoy the victory.”
Word from Belgium had Persoon calling out Irish sensation and WBA titlist Katie Taylor for a unification match. If that bout ever does reach fruition it likely won’t be anywhere near Belgium, where Persoon has had all of her fights except for a 2015 title defense in Switzerland.
For the first time in many a Scandinavian moon, Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus didn’t occupy the top spot in Boxrec’s pound for pound women’s rankings. Mexico City’s Jessica Chavez took over the honors.
An interesting take from multi-experienced German expert Uwe Betker, who has trained many women in the North Rhine / Dusseldorf area: “In many years, I have never seen a woman quit on her own. I think as boxers they are tougher than the men.”