Claressa Shields can add the WBA and IBF World Middleweight Titles to her growing collection after a 10-round decision win over Hanna Gabriels in the main event of a Showtime boxing card on Friday.
Shields suffered a quick scare early in the first round, and she was knocked down by a hard Gabriels uppercut. She knew she was in for a brawl from then on, and she won that brawl. She controlled Gabriels and landed the better shots through the next nine rounds.
“I may have been put on my ass,” Shields said, “… but I got back up, and I won that fight against a champion.”
Shields is now 6-0 as a professional, owns the aforementioned titles as well as the WBC and IBF Super Middleweight Titles, plus two Olympic gold medals, of course. After the fight, Shields was asked about Christina Hammer, the WBO and WBC World Middleweight Champion, who won just before her in the co-feature, and is also undefeated.
“Hammer I’ll whoop your ass, I’ll whoop your little ass!” Shields shouted at Hammer, among other things, mid-way through the question.
Hammer, who was watching the fight from the ringside, just grinned as Shields went in on her, talking a whole bunch of trash and saying they can fight right now.
In the co-feature, Hammer retained her WBO and WBC World Middleweight Titles, and did so in very impressive fashion. She controlled the bout against Tori Nelson and arguably didn’t lose any of the ten rounds of her unanimous decision victory.
Hammer moved to 23-0 with the victory. After the match, she said that she wanted the knockout, but that she had to be careful against Nelson.
“Best result would be a knockout, but this decision, I will accept it,” Hammer said. She was also asked about the Shields vs. Gabriels fight, and said that she is interested and would be ready for the winner.
“I am very interested in this fight … I am ready for this fight’s winner, whoever gets it,” Hammer said.
With the main event being for the vacant IBF and WBA World Middleweight Titles, the obvious question going into the card was whether or not the two fight winners would see eachother next in a unification bout. That seems likely, especially after Shields’ post-fight antics.
In the first bout, Umar Salamov and Brian Howard fought eight rounds that was mostly slow-paced. Howard had a good right hand that Salamov had trouble dealing with, but he didn’t follow them up. In the ninth, Salamov came out and put together a massive combo, connecting with a hard right straight, two quick left jabs, then a powerful one-two that dropped Howard immediately, ending the fight in the penultimate round.
Below is the full round-by-round coverage from the televised card and below that is a list of results from Friday.
Claressa Shields def. Hanna Gabriels via unanimous decision (97-92, 98-91, 97-92)
Round 1: Gabriels aggressive right out the gate, but she eats a counter from Gabriels. They exchange some big flurries, and Shields goes down! Big uppercut from Gabriels knocks Shields down. Shields is quick to get back up, but she’s rattled by Gabriels early. Huge first round!
Round 2: Shields comes in hard now, and she lands some nice hooks. She connects with two big wide hooks, but Gabriels weathers it. Power right from Shields connects, and they both start windmilling punches. They both throw flurries, and Shields backs off when Gabriels lands a big one. Then Shields comes forward again, and lands a hard short overhand that does some damage. Gabriels is mostly doing a good job of avoiding that overhand though. Shields connects with two jabs as the round ends.
Round 3: Gabriels has some sweling on her left cheek, and it’s getting pretty big. Good body shot from Gabriels. Shields lands a right overhand after another Gabriels body shot. Right hook to the body from Shields. Shields is connecting with her jab, but Gabriels is getting away from the heavy stuff for the most part. Close round!
Round 4: Over the top right from Shields lands as she blocks a Gabriels flurry. Double left jab from Shields lands, but the follow-up haymaker does not. Another close round, but Shields has her rhythm after that early knockdown.
Round 5: Hard counter right from Shields early. The swelling is still pretty bad for Gabriels. It seems like Gabriels might be a little tired — wonder if she punched herself out in the first round. Gabriels eats a fast three-punch combo, and then throws two wild hooks of her own, one of which lands hard. Her best shot since the knockdown. Counter left from Shields lands. Then another one, hard shots that stop Gabriels’ attack before she can bring it.
Round 6: They tie up, and are separated. Short left hook from Shields lands. They are getting back into the flurries, big, messy, winging combos. Gabriels gets Shields on the ropes, and lands a good hook to the body, followed by an overhand. Shields responds with a bullrush of her own, connecting with heavy hooks, but the round ends.
Round 7: Shields against the ropes and another long exchange, with Gabriels connecting with some hard body shots, but Shields landing the bigger shots up top. They’re both swinging hard. Shields is landing the cleaner shots, too. Left jab from Shields, and then a hard right to the body. Short right hook to the jaw staggers Gabriels.
Round 8: There’s a collision of heads, and Shields thinks Gabriels did it intentionally, but it’s just a quick warning from the referee. Gabriels is coming forward. She lands a nice body shot, and ties up. They separate and Shields lands two massive hooks that Gabriels eats flush. How she isn’t going down is beyond me, because those were loaded. Round ends.
Round 9: Three straight left jabs from Shields land. Gabriels comes forward, but Shields is fighting smarter late. Big overhand left from Shields. Then a stiff right straight Gabriels walks through two big shots and starts teeing off on Shields against the ropes, but Shields was fine as the round ends.
Round 10: Shields comes out with the offense right away, throwing hooks without Gabriels having to close the distance. Gabriels lands a hard left to the body. Gabriels is pushed against the ropes, and Shields is peppering her this time, but Gabriels eats it all. The two are teeing off again in the final 20 seconds. Shields is landing hard, but Gabriels gets a couple shots in too. Round and fight ends with Shields against the ropes!
Christina Hammer def. Tori Nelson via unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 99-91)
Round 1: Hammer starting out working the jab, which makes sense given her extensive reach advantage. Short left from Nelson connects, but so do several jabs from Hammer. Big right hook from Hammer while Nelson throws an overhand that misses.
Round 2: Nelson is having big trouble getting through the flurry of jabs from Hammer. Nelson tries for a body shot but Hammer circles away. Hammer looks as calm as anybody has ever looked in a boxing match. Hard left-right from Hammer. Nelson connects with a sloppy left at the end of the round.
Round 3: Nelson is trying to get in close and pressure Hammer. Big uppercut from Hammer as Nelson gets inside and lands a good body shot, but she is mostly eating jabs. If she can continue to work the body, it’s doing damage.
Round 4: Hard right hook from Hammer connects on the jaw. Nelson comes in low, but eats a hard hook for her troubles. Hammer connects with two more hooks. She’s just much, much more polished than Nelson.
Round 5: Two right jabs and a hard left hook from Hammer all connect. Nelson eats them and comes forward with the left jab of her own. But in the end, it’s another dominant round for Hammer. She’s landing plenty of jabs and keeping Nelson from connecting.
Round 6: Hammer works a nice body combo with Nelson against the ropes. Hard left straight from Hammer. Nelson can’t put together any kind of combo. It’s more of the same in this round — all Hammer’s.
Round 7: Hard right straight from Hammer, who grabs Nelson when she gets in close. Right hand to the body from Hammer. Hard overhand left from Nelson is her best shot of the fight, and Hammer walks right through it.
Round 8: Good left from Nelson, again up high, but Hammer is unfazed. They exchange hard body shots. They tie up a couple times. Hard right straight from Hammer lands flush and Nelson just shakes it off.
Round 9: Not a ton of action in this round. Nelson comes forward hard, but she can’t string anything significant together, and Hammer cruises through it. Nelson is going to need a knockout in the 10th to win.
Round 10: Nelson rushes in, but eats a hard straight from Hammer, who then ties up to force the separation. Overhand right from Nelson and a couple of short lefts land, but Hammer is doing a good job of moving away. Hard right from Hammer. Nelson is trying to wing the big hooks, but she can’t get them through. Nelson lands a hard body shot, and it’s over. Hammer won big time, or at least she should have.
Umar Salamov def. Brian Howard via KO in Round 9
Round 1: Howard is keeping the left hand out to start, using his considerable reach. Salamov is looking for his opportunity to get in. Both fire off a series of jabs from range, but nothing really lands. Salamov sneaks a left jab through, and when he misses with a right jab, he follows it with a massive overhand right that Howard gets away from . Left jab from Howard lands. The round ends without much action — they’re feeling out the distance.
Round 2: Howard comes out ringing a heavy right hand, but it doesn’t land. He wings another, but it also doesn’t connect. Salamov hits a hard left jab to the body, and a short right hook hard on the side of the head. Salamov eats a big one though, a hard counter right that shakes him up a little bit. Howard chases him down and Salamov is back-pedaling. But he survives it and makes it through. It could be a round apiece.
Round 3: Howard isn’t throwing a whole lot, and he may be losing rounds just baseed on inactivity. This is a slower round than the second, with Salamov connecting on some outside shots, but nothing big lands for either fighter.
Round 4: Good power right from Salamov early in the round. He gets Howard against the ropes, and lands another, but Howard partially blocks it. Howard keeps trying the lead left jab plus right hook combo, and it’s not landing. Not a ton of action, and both fighters look tired already!
Round 5: Two hard jabs from Salamov, who is told again by his orner he needs to work the right hand to the body which he’s done a few times, as Howard has left it wide open. He gets a couple in the round, and keeps Howard moving backwards. An easy round for him.
Round 6: Howard is a bit more active to start. He lands some nice stiff jabs with the left hand. Salamov comes back with a good body shot, but eats two more hard left jabs. Howard is starting to land more with them, and Salamov isn’t doing much to dodge them.
Round 7: Salamov comes back on the attack now, but he’s not connecting with power punches. Big left jab from Howard snaps Salmov’s head back. Salmov misses an uppercut. Howard connects with a hard ducking overhand right.
Round 8: Howard is moving well again, and lands a nice hard left jab. But he eats an overhand right, and then a hard hook to the body. Salamov keeps coming in to tie up, hoping for the big hook upon separating. He’s had a few shots sneak around to the back of the head doing this. Right to the body from Howard. Left straight for Howard lands. Left hook from Salamov is good.
Round 9: Salamov comes out hard in the ninth round, and he has finishing in mind. Salamov connects with a hard right straight, then two quick jabs and a hard overhand right. He backs off for a second, measures it up, and throws another right that drops Howard. Hard. He’s done. It’s a knockout for Salamov, on a hard, hard one-two.
Shields vs. Gabriels Fight Card
Middleweight: Claressa Shields def. Hanna Gabriels via unanimous decision (97-92, 98-91, 97-92)
Middleweight: Christina Hammer def. Tori Nelson via unanimous decision (100-90, 99-91, 99-91)
Light heavyweight: Umar Salamov def. Brian Howard via KO in Round 9