Claressa Shields: Hanna Gabriels Will Be Toughest Opponent

By Keith Idec

Claressa Shields defeated previously unbeaten opponents in each of her last two fights.

Shields still expects her 10-round, 160-pound championship match against Hanna Gabriels to be the toughest of her six professional fights when they meet Friday night in Detroit. The undefeated Shields has moved down from 168 pounds to 160 to battle Gabriels, who has moved up from 154 pounds to 160 for the opportunity to face Shields.

The 23-year-old Shields stopped Nikki Adler (then 16-0) in the fifth round and out-boxed Tori Nelson (17-0-3) in each of her last two fights. Costa Rica’s Gabriels (18-1-1, 11 KOs) was knocked out in the second round by Oxandia Castillo in February 2013, but she avenged that setback by out-pointing the Dominican Republic’s Castillo (16-3-3, 13 KOs) in their 10-rounder October 13.


“This will be my toughest fight,” Shields said. “She’s the most skilled and has the most experience. She’s a three-time world champion. I’ve fought former world champions, but she’s a three-time world champion to date. The girl that beat her, Hanna avenged that loss. I’m looking forward to her coming out and putting 100 percent in, and I hope for us to have a great fight. I’m always confident going into fights. I’m not leaving the ring without having two new belts.”

Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, and Gabriels will fight for the vacant IBF and WBA middleweight titles in the main event of a “ShoBox” tripleheader from Masonic Temple.

“You are going to see a very technical and aggressive fighter,” Gabriels said. “That’s the only way that you can fight Claressa because she’s so aggressive herself and so tough, you can’t go in the ring passive against her. You have to put your life on the line in there and that’s what I’m planning to do.”

Showtime’s telecast also will include another women’s middleweight title fight. Germany’s Christina Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs) is set to defend her WBC and WBO crowns against Nelson, of Ashburn, Virginia, in that bout.

If Shields and Hammer win Friday night, they’re expected to meet next in a middleweight championship unification fight.

A 10-round light heavyweight bout between Russia’s Umar Salamov (20-1, 15 KOs) and Atlanta’s Brian Howard (13-1, 10 KOs) also will be broadcast by Showtime on Friday night. The tripleheader is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.


User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by mrlopez on 06-21-2018

Shields SHOULD fight Cyborg. They both look like trannys

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Callum Smith More Than Willing To Fight Andre Ward in May Luis Ortiz Vows To Make Kauffman Pay For 'Cheater' Comments Photos: Nico Hernandez Ready For Hometown Clash Top Rank VP: Arriaza is Measuring Stick Bout For Kavaliauskas Photos: Gabe Rosado, Luis Arias - Get Tense at Weigh-In Photos: Brandon Rios, Ramon Alvarez - Ready For War in Kansas Photos: Claressa Shields, Hannah Rankin - Trade Heated Words Photos: Jarrell Miller, Bogdan Dinu - Ready For Battle in Kansas Chocolatito Reveals Offer For Yafai, Wants Sor Rungvisai Trilogy Jarrell Miller Weighs In At 315¼ Pounds, 78 More Than Dinu Frankie Gavin Very Overweight For Kerman Lejarraga Clash John Molina Expects an All-Out With Omar Figueroa Cristofer Rosales vs. Charlie Edwards on Whyte-Chisora Card Alicia Napoleon To Defend WBA World Title in February Arum: Saucedo Showed 'Huge Balls' In 4th Round Versus Lenny Z Anthony Fowler To Box On Kell Brook-Michael Zerafa Gabe Rosado Aims To Beat Down Arias, Prevent 'Running' Tactics David Price vs. Tom Little Set, December 22 At O2 Arena Frampton Warns Warrington About Using Any Dirty Tactics Abimael Ortiz, Alfredo Santiago, Jonathan Lopez Back on Dec. 1 Oscar Rivas Aims To Be Impressive on Stevenson-Gvozdyk Card Wilder: Hearn Treated Ortiz Like Clown, All Unfulfilled Promises Danny Garcia Wants Revenge Fights With Thurman, Porter Frampton Willing To Return To U.S. For Leo Santa Cruz Trilogy Joseph Parker: You Will See More Power in The Flores Fight Dubois vs. Gorman Among The Fights Ordered By BBBofC Brandon Rios vs. Josh Kelly Could Happen, Says Eddie Hearn Petar Milas Returns To Action on December 8 in Zagreb Mayweather vs. Nasukawa: Rizin CEO Confirms Fight is Back On Broadcast Team For PBC on FOX Shows Will Look Familiar UK News: Sean Dodd, Shaquille Day, Lewis Crocker, Benson Saucedo Seeks World Title in Hometown After Epic Performance Wilder: 12/1 Winner is The Best - Joshua Can't Beat Me, Fury, Ortiz! Diego De La Hoya Faints While Training To Make Weight, Fight Off Caleb Truax Very Motivated For Peter Quillin Crossroads Bout Michael Dutchover Aims To Clinch a Big Birthday Win Wilder: If Fury Can't Be Beat, Why The F*** Did He Hire Roach? Photos: Jaron Ennis, Raymond Serrano - Ready For ShoBox Clash Photos: Claressa Shields, Hannah Rankin - Size Up at Presser Photos: Gabe Rosado, Luis Arias - Face To Face, Final Presser

Latest Active Forum Threads