Claressa Shields: “I’m the greatest of all-time. I showed who I am. Now, I’m really dangerous because you can even put me down, and I’ll still come back to win!”
By Brad Snyder at ringside
Photos: Bob Ryder
It was the fight women’s boxing needed on a big showcase — SHO Boxing Special Edition. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and current unified women’s super middleweight champion Claressa Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) overcame getting dropped in the 1st Round to win by UD (97-92, 98-91, 97-92) against current unified women’s junior middleweight champion Hanna Gabriels (18-2-1, 11 KOs) on Friday night at the at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
With Shields hitting the canvas early, it appeared Gabriels may have a chance to play spoiler, but Shields landed a strong jab and powerful combinations, as both fighters traded blows throughout the later rounds. Gabriels appeared to gas out a bit at the end, and Shields looked healthy and in better shape.
The victory gave Shields the IBF and WBA middleweight world championships.
“Once I went down, I took a deep breath and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m about to whip this girl’ ” Shields said. “I just remember thinking let’s use the jab and be smart…I can get put on my ass, get up and come back and win. Tonight was my night and I have to show the world I’m the greatest of all-time. I showed who I am. Now, I’m really dangerous because you can even put me down, and I’ll still come back to win.”
Gabriels stated, “I trained to go the distance but my heart betrayed me, because after that first knockdown, I was looking for another one. I wanted to show everyone I had a warrior’s heart.”
Shortly after the decision, Team Shields and Team Hammer began the hype for the mega fight, as an ugly scrum broke out after the fight.