Shields ready for Rankin, then Hammer

Shields to Hammer: “All these other girls may be scared of you Hammer, but I’m not! I’ll kick your a–!”

By Byron Spurlock

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and IBF/WBA Middleweight Champion Claressa Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) of Flint, Michigan, was scheduled to fight WBC/WBO Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer on November 17th, but that highly anticipated showdown has been postponed due to an unspecified illness experienced by Hammer.

Shields is still fighting this Saturday but now against WBC Super Middleweight Champion Hannah Rankin (5-2, 1 KO) from Glasgow, Scotland. FightNews was able to catch up with Shields to talk about the Hammer fight that didn’t happen and the clash with Rankin that is happening, plus what is next (after Saturday) and where she ranks among the all-time best women fighters.

How does it feel that you were scheduled to fight in one of the biggest women’s contest in this decade but the showdown has to wait until next year?

It was supposed to be a great fight on this date and unfortunately it will not happen and fans have to wait to see it. It is almost like the fight that did not happen between Ann Wolfe and Laila Ali. The only difference is hopefully this fight will take place next year. I felt like this was a big fight, with Hammer being from Germany and me being from United States this was going to be a good fight to show fans who was the best women’s fighter in the world.

I wanted to show Hammer’s fans that I am the best and I could beat the long-time standing champion. So yes, I was disappointed, but not discouraged. We are not going to stop moving forward. It was a letdown for everybody because everybody wanted to see this fight.

There has been so much going on between us in the last year with her showing up for my fights and her fighting on the undercard of my fights and then her jumping in the ring and us getting into it. It is a big fight that women’s boxing needs to bring more attention to the sport.

Talk about the disturbance that happened between you and Hammer in the ring after your last fight. Some would say that you lost your control in the confrontation.

First, she pushed me and she called me a bitch. I do not let that happen. Therefore, I let her know that I am going to kick your ass. I do not like you and I do not like your team, I do not appreciate your team trying to put their hands in my face. Nevertheless, she jumped in there with her whole team. I did not lose my composure. I just her know that you are not going to push me around.

She is used to girl’s punking out against her; I’m in no form scared of you. I’m not scared of anyone on your team. I’m ready to fight you, I’ll fight you right now, I’ll fight you tomorrow. If it was to someone else maybe she would have gotten away with that, but I’m a champion and a champion should back down from anyone.

Hammer jumped in the ring with her whole team and then she pushes me and calls me a bitch. So, I let it be known that I don’t like you; I don’t like your team.

All these other girls may be scared of you, but I’m not! I’ll kick your ass!

Would you say that this postponement is a good situation, meaning that there is more time to promote the showdown with Hammer?

I think people were going to already tune in for the fight. I think the average fight fan was going to watch this fight for because we have been promoting this for over a year now. The altercation we had will just bring more fans to the fight now. Listen, there is more time for both of us to get ready and at the same time there is also more time for something to go wrong. Someone gets cut in sparring or an injury. We don’t need any excuses. So, for one thing, I’m glad that we didn’t fight this coming weekend for I didn’t want there to be any excuses and she spoke up and let everyone know that she had a medical condition and I hope she gets better so we can fight next year. While she gets better health-wise, I’m going to get better in the ring as well because I’m not going to stop fighting just because Hammer got sick.

Is it distracting that you are fighting Rankin – a sparring partner with Hammer – instead of Hammer?

No, I just focus on that opponent that is in front of me at that moment. When you start thinking about someone else, that is where you make mistakes. For maybe thirty minutes I’m in a relationship with my opponent and she is going to get my full attention. I like the fact that Hannah Rankin is one of Hammer’s sparring partners. I’m just going to beat her down and ask her to relay to your sparring partner what I’m all about.

What has changed since your pro debut?

I feel that people have always known that boxing is my gift. I think I’m very respected now and people know that I can handle myself. I think that people can understand why I say I’m the greatest women’s fighter of all time. I have proven it in the ring. I just have to keep proving it little by little. Pro’s is different from armatures. I’ve gotten better each fight and I will continue to get better.

Do you still think that you are a better fighter than some of the greats of the sport such as Ann Wolfe, Valarie Mahfood, Lucia Riker, Laila Ali, and Christy Martin?

Do I think I’m the greatest women’s fighter of all time? I will say this: I’m the fastest women to win the world championship. Ali won a world championship in twelve fights; Wolfe did it in ten and I think Riker did it in eight. I did it in four! I have watched those women fight before and I feel that I fight better than them, so I’m not just talking about what I think, I’m talking about numbers. I think Ali was a great boxer and Wolfe had great power and Riker was a strong fighter and Martin was very aggressive. I think I have a bit of all of them in me.

It’s not that I’m downing them. It’s me saying I think they were great fighters but they were not complete fighters. I feel that I’m a complete fighter. When I watch tapes of those fighters, I feel that I have the better skill. That is not a knock on them.

Even with single digits fights, I have fought women who had double-digit wins. Hanna Gabriels was 18-1 when I beat her; Tori Nelson was 17-0 when I beat her; Nikki Adler was 16-0 when I beat her. These ladies had great records when I beat them. Some people said (before the fight) that I had no business in the ring with those women. When I beat them, that just shows you how great I am.

I’m a different breed of fighter and I bring something different to the table. Besides my two Olympic gold medals, the sport has not seen a woman fighter like me before. In the pros, I am showing that I’m on my way to becoming the greatest women’s fighter of all time. To me I am already the greatest women’s fighter of all time. To people, which is the media and the fans, I have to go out there and prove that and that is what I’m doing each and every fight!

Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?

I love them and thanks for keeping me encouraged! I thank you for your motivation and keep supporting me! I’m real and honest. I’m never going to be soft-spoken and not speak my mind. I will always stay true to myself.

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Shields will defend her IBF and WBA Middleweight Championships, plus contest for the vacant WBC title, against Rankin in a ten-round bout on Saturday, November 17th, at the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.

In the main event, heavyweight contender “Big Baby” Jarrell Miller risks his ranking against Romania’s Bogdan Dinu.

Both headliners, along with former champion Brandon Rios against Ramon Alvarez in a jr middleweight clash plus former two-time world title challenger Gabriel Rosado encountering Luis Arias in a middleweight confrontation, will be streamed live on DAZN.

The event is promoted by Dmitriy Salita of Salita Promotions, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and John Andersen of Knockout Night Boxing.

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