DETROIT – The four fighters participating in “Battle of the Best”, the ShoBox: The New Generation headlined by WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields, participated in a final press conference on Wednesday in advance of Friday’s doubleheader telecast from MGM Grand Detroit. Photos by Stephanie Trapp.
Shields (3-0, 1 KO) will challenge Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) of Germany in just her fourth pro fight since winning Gold at the 2016 Olympics on Friday, August 4, at MGM Grand in Detroit, Mich. live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
In the ShoBox co-feature, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (15-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I’m preparing for this fight like any other fight. I haven’t watched any tape of her; I never do. I leave that to my coaches and they fill me in and prepare the game plan.
“This is my first time fighting in the United States so I’m very excited. Detroit it a beautiful city and everyone has been very nice to me.
“Thank you to Claressa’s team for having me. SHOWTIME has done so much for us since we arrived and made us feel at home. I was very happy when I got the phone call for this fight, and I didn’t hesitate a second.
“I came over here to win and bring back the title and the belts back to Germany. I love that this is a great opportunity for women’s boxing, and to bring back the greatness of women’s boxing.”
“This is a dream come true for me. When I was 11 years old they didn’t even have women’s boxing in the Olympics. I’m a dream chaser. That’s what I do.
“I’ve been thinking about Nikki Adler since I was 17. I looked up who was No. 1 in the rankings, because I really don’t care who is No. 2, and her name was there, and that’s when I knew we would meet someday in the ring.
“I know she can go 10 rounds; I think she can go 12. But that’s why I’ve prepared myself the best I could in the gym for this fight.
“This is just the first WBC for me. I want to go down to 160 and unify those titles, then go down to 154 and unify those belts. I know it’s just my fourth fight and it’s come fast, but I’m on the fast track to become a world champ.
“She knows she can’t beat me. You ask her how she will beat me and she says she has will. Anyone who has seen me fight knows I have more heart than anyone. You can’t just say you’re going to beat me by will.”
“I watched video of him, his loss. He’s not a bad fighter.
“Training in Detroit I learned a lot by sparring with fighters who have entirely different styles than I’m used to. In Russia, we don’t have fighters like these.
“Coming here to fight, I feel great. I love America and Detroit!
“A victory would open doors for me. Preparing for this pushed me to improve everything about my fighting style and physical fitness.”
“He’s undefeated. That says a lot. He’s undefeated for a reason. He’s a hell of a fighter. He has a good KO percentage. He sets up punches very well and he’s very calm, but let’s see how he does with an aggressive fighter who comes forward, non-stop.
“My camp was rough; the way it’s supposed to be. I was sparring with southpaws around my area, but every fighter does things a little different so there’s no way to be fully prepared for his style.
“A victory on SHOWTIME would mean the world to me. This is what I’ve been doing for almost 20 years. I’m the youngest of 15 in a boxing family. I started fighting when I was born, getting beat up by my older siblings. I’ve been getting ready for this my entire life.”
Gordon Hall, SVP of Production, SHOWTIME Sports & ShoBox: The New Generation Executive Producer
“ShoBox: The New Generation is a series about up-and-coming fighters matched tough; about tomorrow’s champions today. But occasionally we get those special fighters that show greatness earlier than others. Claressa Shields is one of those fighters.
“After just three professional fights she now faces her biggest challenge in Nikki Adler, making her third world title defense. She hasn’t come all the way over here from Germany with those belts to lose.”
Dmitriy Salita, Founder of Salita Promotions
“Claressa's consistent success at a world class level winning two Olympic Gold Medals and numerous other international amateur tournaments is second to none. This is a significant step up but Claressa’s skills, confidence and dedication to training I believe will deliver a sensational performance. Her goals of winning numerous world titles in different weight classes shows that she is on her way to pound for pound greatness which starts on August 4th.