On Saturday night in Kansas, WBA, IBF middleweight champion Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs) won a ten round unanimous decision over Hannah Rankin (5-3, 1 KOs). The lopsided fight saw all three judges score the bout 100-90.
With the victory, Shields also picked up the WBC middleweight belt.
“I knew she was going to be tough. Saw her against Alicia Napoleon. At this level everyone is tough, this is world championship boxing. No one is going to lay down,” Shields said.
Now Shields looks ahead to a showdown with WBO middleweight champion Christina Hammer (23-0, 10 KOs).
They were scheduled to face each other in the fall, but Hammer withdrew with illness.
To stay busy, Shields decided to make a title fight with Rankin, who put in a better than expected effort.
“Absolutely she was tough and her skill set was tough. I’m further apart than most woman. I respect her for accepting the challenge. Christina Hammer is going to take it worse than that," Shields said.
As she continues to squeeze down in weight, Shields has switched up her training methods to get there.
“I had all my energy and exploded when I needed to. We did work on that in camp, we worked on placing my shots. I had some good body shots and head shots. We have been working on that for 11 weeks in camp. I’m happy with my performance. I need to watch my performance and give myself a grade. I give myself a B+ for now,” Shields said.
Shields is willing to drop down a few pounds more - if it means a super-fight with Cecilia Braekhus, who seems to have zero interest in moving up from the welterweight limit of 147-pounds.
“154, 147 I’ll look like a stick. My nutritionist is great. Wasn’t a day I starved in camp. Last time there were a couple days I did. I’m the greatest woman of all time. When you can get a woman who can beat me, you can take that away,” Shields said.