By Brad Snyder-The Undercard
Photos: Bob Ryder
WBC Super Middleweight Champion, Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KO’s) and 2X Olympic Gold Medalist, Claressa Shields (3-0, 1 KO) held the final press conference at the MGM Grand Detroit, Wednesday afternoon. Along with the WBC belt on the line, the vacant IBF belt will be at stake, as well.
Claressa Shields said at the podium, “This is a dream come true for me. When I was 11 years old, they did not even have women in the Olympics, yet. That was my dream. I wanted to be the first woman to win a Gold medal in boxing.”
Do you find it disrespectful, as the WBC Champion, the way Claressa Shields talked on stage at the press conference?
“No, I don’t really worry about what she says. If she is respecting me or not, I am here for the fight. And I am going to win the fight. That is all I care about at the moment.”
When Claressa Shields is talking about winning belts in three divisions, almost looking past you, is this something you can use to your advantage?
“There is a German saying, ‘When you look past something and don’t realize what is going on, you’re going to fall into a deep valley.’ If you don’t look down where you walk, you’re going to fail.”
Predictions on Friday night… Is this going the distance? Or will someone win by knockout?
“I am prepared for the 10 rounds. But I’m hoping for the knockout.”
Mark Taffet: Co-Manager of Claressa Shields
We have had big names in women’s boxing before. What’s different this time around with Claressa Shields? And why will women’s boxing be sustainable?
“The biggest difference between the old generation and the new generation is Claressa Shields. She has this God given talent that comes along once in a century. And the number one characteristic of success is quality. Because of Claressa Shields’ rise through the ranks, we are seeing more amateurs becoming professionals. That will provide the broad, deep stable of female fighters, which will be able to support the depth the sport lacked in previous generations.”
Does it make you nervous with Team Shields looking that far ahead in the future?
“If you don’t look into the future, you can never maximize the present. We have a well thought out plan for Claressa that allows her to grow, but takes advantage of her abilities. But, also, her incredible desire to succeed quickly. We are very comfortable at the pace we are moving.”
Gender aside, rank her with all the talent you have seen over your career in the sport.
“Let me say this. Claressa Shields will be the first woman ranked in the top ten pound-for- pound list in boxing. Our goal, as a team, is to be the number one pound-for-pound fighter, regardless of gender in the sport. And I believe that day will come.”
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Adler vs. Shields is Friday, August 4, at MGM Grand Detroit. Doors open at 7 pm ET. The first fight is at 8pm ET. The main event and co-main event will air on ShoBox: The New Generation at 10:30 ET. The card is promoted by Salita Promotions. Tickets for the event are available at www.ticketmaster.com.