By Brad Snyder-The Undercard
Photos by Bob Ryder
Adler was outclassed. Adler was outboxed. Adler was out in the fifth round. Nikki Adler (16-1, 9 KOs) fell victim to the rising star of two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) on Friday night at the MGM Grand Detroit in Detroit, Michigan.
Adler’s game plan of waiting a few rounds to engage was a strategy which created her downfall. From the opening bell, Shields was able to control the action, changing her tempo and throwing at will. Adler did not have an answer for the speed or aggressive combinations of Shields.
In front of family and friends, along with her friend UFC featherweight champ Cris Cyborg plus future opponent WBC middleweight champion Christina Hammer at ringside, she made it look all too easy.
The 22-year-old Shields, from nearby Flint, annihilated the previously undefeated Adler of Augsburg, Germany, dominating the contest from start to finish until referee Michael Griffin mercifully waved the action off at 1:34 of round five.
With the victory, Shields seized Adler’s WBC Super Middleweight title plus captured the vacant IBF World Championship in her fourth fight as a professional since turning pro ten months ago.
Even Adler conceded the authority of Shields, saying: “Now that I have faced Claressa Shields, I can tell you Christina Hammer cannot beat her,” Adler said. “She will lose.”
Shields landed 136 of 340 punches thrown. Adler landed 6 of 84 thrown. If that is not impressive enough, Shields still had time to wave to the fans between rounds and while in her corner.
“I knew from the start I was not going to go home without those belts,” Shields said. “I did it!”
The Shields vs. Adler contest was the main event for Friday’s ShoBox and was promoted by former world title challenger Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions.
The opening fight for the ShoBox telecast was supposed to be a U.S. television welcoming party for undefeated, super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov of St. Petersburg, Russia, however opponent Jesse Angel Hernandez from Fort Worth, TX, decided to crash the party. From the opening bell, the power shots of Hernandez echoed throughout the room. Tikhonov displayed speed and action in the first round, but it was the left hook to the body in the third that began to wear down the Russian. Hernandez pursued him in the fourth and fifth rounds, trapping Tikhonov against the ropes and in the corners. Tikhonov could not counter the ring generalship or match the power of Hernandez. In the fifth, Tikhonov was not able to fight out of trouble any longer, and referee Ansel Stewart stopped the action at the 2:25 mark. With the impressive TKO, Hernandez improves to 9-1 with 7 knockouts, while Tikhonov now stands at 16-1 with 9 knockouts.
Off TV, bantamweight Ja’Rico O’Quinn (7-0-1, 5 KOs) of Detroit, benefited from a majority draw with Jose Elizondo (2-3-1) of San Antonio, TX, much to the displeasure of his hometown audience. O’Quinn, who looked strong in rounds one and two, connected with hard punches to midsection of Elizondo. In round four, with both sides firing punches, Elizondo landed a hard shot on O’Quinn producing the first knockdown. Round five was a great comeback for O’Quinn, who used his speed and elusiveness to outbox Elizondo. In the sixth and final round, O’Quinn got rocked in the corner. Clearly in trouble, O’Quinn was given a standing 8 count. The contest went to the scorecards with Judges Precopia and Chambers scoring the bout (56-56). Judge Woodburn was the only one who saw the fight as the crowd did, scoring the bout (57-55) for Elizondo.
Domonique Dolton (18-1-1, 9 KOs) of Detroit, won a unanimous decision over Antonio Chaves Fernandez (9-33-4, 3 KOs) of Brockton, MA in a jr middleweight encounter. All of the judges tallied the action at 60-54.
Antonio “Wee Wee” Urista (9-2, 2 KOs) of Lansing, MI, defeated Serdar Hudayberdiyev (3-2, 2 KOs) of Turkey, a second time in a middleweight clash. It was a majority decision for Urista with scores of 58-56 twice and 57-57.
Hometown James Gordon Smith (12-1, 7 KOs) wasted no time kicking off the evening. Smith scored a one punch knockout on Yakubu Kareem (14-7-1, 8 KOs) from Lagos, Nigeria, at the 23 second mark of the opening stanza in a bantamweight contest.
The evening’s action was aptly named the “Battle of the Best” as the fans witnessed two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields capture her first world title, plus several of the best of the Detroit area in action and a surprise win by an unheralded fighter.